Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm back in the city. Well, on weekdays.

For now, I'm staying in a condo in Vancouver's West End, the area where I first lived after moving from L.A. in 1994. I love it as much now as I did then. (Though I do recall that, after two years, I felt boxed in and fled for Kitsilano. I'm a fickle lover.)

During my first week, I dabbled in the things I so enjoyed back then. I took the dogs to Spanish Banks where they could run, sniff and tumble off-leash along the shore. I perused my favourite bookstore in Kits. I jogged along the seawall past Science World and over to Granville Island. Much of the development is new, but the story on the water is still what catches my eye. I walked the dogs down to Sunset Beach and sat on a bench, taking in the sunset as kayaks shared the sea with freighters and yachts. I drove to a neighborhood on 10th near UBC and walked with a friend while enjoying an ice cream. So good to be back!

Of course, I am still adjusting. I'm still thrown by people seeming to be everywhere as I walk the dogs in the West End. My schnauzers are not fond of leashes and even less fond of my reining them in as we dodge cyclists (on the sidewalks!), swarms of joggers, a woman on a mission with her yoga mat in tow and an impromptu boot camp session under a bridge. Vancouverites are fitness crazed. My poor aging, deaf schnauzer struggles to stay on his shaky legs as we navigate the pedestrian traffic.

Due to the warm weather, I have to keep the windows open day and night. The noise at the foot of the Burrard Street Bridge runs 24/7. Somehow sound amplifies as it is trapped between the high-rises. I don't miss a thing: sirens coming and going from nearby St. Paul's, busses, car alarms, skateboarders, motorcycles revving, even drumming that recalls the Hare Krishnas I used to encounter on weekends while biking by the beach in Santa Monica. I run a fan through the night, my feeble attempt to drown out some of the noise. Alas, most of the din shouts over the gadget.

When I returned to my place in Nowhereland Friday afternoon, I went straight to bed. The mattress, so much firmer, felt wonderful, the silence sounded even more inviting. Both my dogs seemed relieved, even thrilled, to be in a familiar environment. The elder flopped onto his cozy chair while the younger raced in and out of the house, searching for snakes in the back yard and rearranging pillows on the chairs and sofa that he seems to think exist solely for his comfort.

I need the city. The insanity brings sanity. It also causes (temporary?) insomnia. Methinks I need to invest in a pair of ear plugs.

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