Fifth time to Vancouver, and I am still loving this wonderful city on the west coast of Canada. With SIA no longer flying to Vancouver, we took Cathay Pacific from Jakarta to Vancouver via Hong Kong.
What attracts me to this city on the Pacific Northwest are these:
1) Great location: Vancouver’s beautiful downtown setting amidst the mountains and the sea. It has the Coast Mountains Range as the backdrop with Stanley Park as a greenery focal point, embraced by the rivers and creeks opening into the bay enclosed by Vancouver Island.
2) Great food: Probably this city serves the best Chinese, Japanese, Korean and South East Asian cuisine in the whole of North America. Perhaps of the ingredients like Alaskan King Crabs, Geoduck and Prime Beef sourced easily from Canada’s farms and oceans. There’s Izakaya and Korean BBQ, 2 other kinds of food which I also love.
3) Great (looking) people: Well, in the states, you get to see oversized blokes walking across town and they ain’t pretty to look at, are they? That’s something you don’t see in Vancouver, or at least not as common… In their stead, you get to see beautiful, pretty people! Ok, I might be superficial here, but at least it is pleasing on the eye!
4) Great Cars: Heard the growl of a Carrera GT 1st time ‘live’ here, M3s, AMGs, RS’s are all a bunch too common here and walk down Robson any one day, you can easily spot a couple. MLs, X5s, Range Rovers are like the E-Classes in Singapore… you can see them in any street. And I do like Range Rovers, which is why I like this city 😛
5) Great Activities: Jogging along Stanley Park, Walking along downtown, Snowboarding down Whistler. These are all great activities that can be undertaken at various times of the year. Summer’s cool and winter’s mild. There’s also 3 great mountains like Cypress, Seymour and Grouse which are all 30 mins away from downtown. In fact I can see the mountains from my balcony!
6) Great Outdoors: From Vancouver, its easy to gain access to the whole of British Columbia, a province as large as Singapore, Malaysia and maybe Thailand combined. Which means, there’s lots of rivers, lakes and many sights and natural landscapes to see and discover. That also makes a great source of free water, and non-polluting energy source through geothermal, hydropower and natural gas. So then what is there not to like about Vancouver?
Ok to make a point that I am not in the employment of the Vancouver’s Tourism Board or being biased, I shall now then point out the drawbacks of living in Vancouver….
1) Taxes: People in Singapore might think 7% GST is extreme, but wait till you come to Vancouver where on top of GST, there is the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) which when combined is in excess of 10%….
2) Weather: The weather’s good, then bad for some. In winter months, it can be very cloudy and gloomy, until one day you see the sun and clear blue skies and head for the slopes of the park…
3) Beggars: Downtown’s like the congregation area for beggars and while they pose no public danger, they can sometimes still be an unwelcome guest in the city…
Now that the introduction to the city has been wrapped up, it’s back to the main topic of my sister’s convocation at the University of British Columbia (UBC for short). It’s a pretty nice university and ranked amongst the best in the world (2nd or 3rd in Canada) and I am pretty proud as a brother to have my sister graduating from this university! So my brother and me got her something cute and furry: