Vancouver diary

airplane wing and clouds

A long weekend getaway to see friends

The airlines have been desperate to get passengers onto planes this summer, and Alaska made an offer I couldn't refuse: $200 round trip for Palm Springs to Vancouver, an ideal place for a short break from the dry heat of the desert and an opportunity to see several friends.

"For security reasons..." Travel is always a pleasure, but getting there by air is never part of the fun anymore. Those three little words — for your security — have become an excuse for the most egregious stupidities. Example: the Palm Springs airport has a putting green in the terminal where passengers can polish their putting game while waiting for a flight. No more; the putting green has been closed for our security. What do they think, someone's going to hijack a plane with a putter? It's not even sharp! Example: On every previous trip to Canada over the years, Canadian immigration has consisted of "Welcome to Canada." This time, the immigration officer, working with aggressive lethargy interrogated each traveler at length: All the questions on the immigration form had to be reviewed orally. Are you traveling for business or pleasure? How long are you planning to stay in Canada? Are you carrying any plant items? Are you bringing any alcohol or tobacco? Where are you going to stay? Friends? How long have you known them? How did you meet them? Have you visited a farm recently? And on and on and on.

Vancouver was abuzz with activity. Saturday was night two of the annual fireworks competition, officially known as the Celebration of Light. Each night's display is staged by a different country, and the fireworks are choreographed to music simulcast on the radio. Well over half a million people converge on the beach to watch. I'm told that the Czech Republic display on Wednesday had been fabulous. The Canadian display on Saturday was good, but not spectacular. Too bad I wasn't going to be there for the China display!

Sunday was the Gay Pride parade which again drew everyone into the streets. As customary, the parade was led by Dykes on Bikes, followed by politicians, floats, lots of half naked people, and so on.

Friends Bret, Paula, Patrick, Peter. Friends, old and new: Bret, Paula, Patrick, Peter
Silver man. Heigh-ho, Silver! Well, it was the silver anniversary of the parade!
resolutely not watching "I'm not watching this! I'm not looking!"

After the parade, my friend Bret and I went for a walk along the sea wall, where we found the most marvelous dingy.

Dingy Art or transportation?
Antique thing. An antique whatchamacallit
Slogan: State of being State of Being

The dingy was provocatively curious: vanity mirror attached to a hockey-stick mast, one sandal, a soccer ball, an antique whatchamacallit, matching T-shirts on the seatbacks. It could have been someone's dingy, of course. On the other hand, maybe it was "art."

Art or transportation, the dingy was simply irresistible:

Paul in dingy Paul at ease. It's simply a State of Being.
Bret in dingy Bret, ever the Narcissus