Saturday, July 2, 2011

Things To Do In Vancouver

Vancouver could be pretty nice if it wasn't this cold. The way things are though, I'm afraid I brought the wrong kind of clothing. Right now, I'm hanging on to the only pair of wool socks I brought along, and without them I would be lost. Just this morning, while I was shivering away in my thick socks and with Sue's sofa spread wrapped around me, her husband came up from watching the news in his "man cave" in the basement, announced he would go out to the driving range and hit some balls. Then he stepped outside on the patio ( VERY cold air coming in through the open door), returned and announced he would change into his shorts. Seriously.

I'm telling you, there is some truth to the myth that Canadians live in igloos.  I have yet to see a really warm day here.

So today is Canada Day. It's the day when all Canadians wear something with their flag (that's the red and white one with the maple leaf) or at least something red. Sue took me to have a pedicure the other day, and here's the result. Oh, and btw.? When the pedicure lady asked me on which foot I wanted which flag, I said I wanted the US on the left to show my political sympathy with the Democrats.  There you go. This is as political as I'll ever get on this blog. It's ok to be a Democrat, even in the US.

Somewhere deep in the side of my cheek, like, right next to my only left-over wisdom tooth, there's this story sitting about how they turned us away when we tried to cross the border the first time. I'll not tell it, nuh-huh. I know I will want to visit my peeps down there again, maybe as soon as next year. And it was NOT the country's fault, or even the law's, but... ok shutting up now. So here are the toenails, painted to honor Canada Day and Independence Day and everything.

The pedicure lady made us stand as close together as we could, until Sue said, "This is it, the boobs are getting squished." And no, we did not have a drink. We can be like that, just like that.

That same night, Sue's husband made dinner for us. Drool.  Salmon in Canada. Need I see more? There was some salad, VERY nice salad, but really, who cares about salad when there's THIS?

Two nights ago I had my first-ever book reading.

Yes, I was nervous. And yes, I wanted to get out of it before it happened. Sue kept talking about it all day long, even when we went across the border for Thai lunch. She would be such a good manager,  she eased me through the entire day, and when we got home from that trans-border trip she made me a double espresso, sent me to sit on the porch and practice my reading. "Read out loud to the neighborhood. If you can do that, you'll be fine tonight." And she was right. While I read my novel to the street, she got the buffet for the guests going.

There were only five ladies at the reading, but I'll tell you something: five is perfect. Five means sitting together on the couches, getting really comfortable, and chatting about the book and its writing like chatting over a knitting pattern or a new recipe. It's intimate, you can't avoid their questions, and your listeners go home with the feeling of really having "met" an author. They took away my pre-launch booklet to give to their friends and their book clubs, and I have a feeling their good impression will take me a long way.

Of course, it helps a lot to have a friend like Sue by your side on a night like this. It helps a LOT.

See? Me, signing my booklets. Does that look good or what? It sure FEELS good, I can tell you.

So today is Canada Day. It's a national holiday, I've been told. Something like the 4th of July for the Americans. And yet people go to work and stores are open. That seems quite uncivilized and cruel to me. In Germany, on a holiday, the only thing open are hospitals, gas stations and theaters. Oh well, and restaurants. Stores? Not. Offices? Totally not. Just like on Sundays. Everything is closed. You better don't forget your toothpaste when you go shopping on Saturday. Or, Heaven forbid, the toilet paper. Need I explain? No, I thought not. And I have to say I like it that even, despite the occasional toothpaste emergency ( now don't get ahead of me on the toilet paper. That was  totally made up.).

Well, anyway. The sun is shining now. We still won't be going down to the beach to celebrate for several reasons, one of which is a deep secret and to be blogged about at a later time.

Oh, and as an afterthought: This here was my first US meal. Thai. Go figure.




  1. If I had known you wanted to stay in an Igloo I would have made arrangements!!!

  2. Oh, I could live there quite happily! The heat and humidity that means summer in Washington, DC is a trial and tribulation for me.

    What a great kitchen Sue has. And so glad that you are having a wonderful time and that you are being wined and dined as you deserve :)

  3. Oh, Marisa, I don't know about the "deserve". I just know they are giving me the best time ever here. Sue is just wonderful, and her husband the coolest guy I ever met. :)

  4. Sue has set a very high bar for the rest of us. :) And I'm with Marisa - I would probably like Vancouver WAY better than DC. We're cranking up the HOT and HUMID for you! You will soooo want the Vancouver chill back!

  5. PS: It's evening now, and the weather cleared up beautifully. It's sunny, and... well, not quite that cold anymore.

  6. Hey, all the igloos are in Alaska, you know, the part of the US where some people can see Russia from their front door. (not saying who said that.)
    Not to worry over your wardrobe Mariam. When you get to DC and NYC you'll be thinking everything you brought was too warm! July & August = HEAT & HUMIDITY!

  7. Sounds like you are enjoying yourself! That's good! ^^

    I'd love to have been at your reading, but the travelling... you know. And: "If you don't have any toilet paper left, use your imagination!"

    (I love that quote. It's stupie, I know.)

  8. And count your blessings that Houston in August is not on the list. :-)

  9. Seriously, Mariam. Cross the border for lunch and you go for Thai? In the Pacific northwest? *shaking my head*