Last part of how the train journey went:



And that is the end of my story, and I may not be story-ing for a while, for I command myself now to get reacquainted with that sweet drug called writing fiction that I have neglected for a long time

and baby

I'm getting high

tonight.
So that Friday morning, I searched again through for my cellphone, and convinced myself that it is definitely gone. I used a calling card to call my mother on a payphone, and left a message about that. Then I made sure that the SD memory cards for the cameras were still there, because, lacking the cellphone, they would be the largest prize I would be bringing back from Vancouver.

One of them was missing.

I was so stressed out at this that that last straw was too much for me; there was no one else in the hostel room, so I burst into tears. "Tears will not help a sorrow, o daughters of Israel," but after a minute's crying, I did find the SD card, which had fallen out from the camera case into the bottom of my bag. I made sure both cards were safely stowed. Then I checked out of the hostel, put my big luggage into storage, and went to the Future Hope and returned my camera, uneventfully. I complained about the design as my reason to return it; it wasn't as bad as I made it seem (until I discovered on reviewing those SD cards that a bunch of what I thought were photos were actually videos without my knowledge, and had to rapidly learn Videolan's snapshot capabilities in order to get what I actually wanted.)

I killed some time in David Lam park again, and on the last day, I did indulge in Vancouver's famous sushi for lunch. I have forgotten the name of the place I got it at, but to my inexpert-in-sushi palate, it was very good and very generous. I forgot to pick up the Western cutlery for it, though, so for the first time in my life I ate an entire meal, rice included, with chopsticks. Usually in Asian restaurants and such, I would practice with the chopsticks for a while, on larger things, then abandon them when it comes to rice. I make no pretensions of being what I am not; I was not born to chopsticks, and do know how to use a few other culturally specific household items myself (I don't know if any non-Russian I know, European or Chinese, has ever heard of a podstakannik or knows one on sight and how to use it. Cheaters if you Google.)

And then I came back, took my bag, took the bus to Main Street, and went into the station, read Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See for a while (on the way there, it was mentioned by someone...somewhere...as a very pivotal book in their lives) and then got on the train.

I was already settling and steeling myself for three days with very little option of sleeping, as I really can't sleep in a chair very well; without a shower; and living on snacks and sandwiches. All I could use these three days for, I thought, is introspection as much as possible, so that they will be useful for something, and then for trying my best to stay sane.

For the first leg of the journey, until Edmonton, thankfully I had a two-seat combination to myself. There was a redheaded guy travelling east for the first time in the seat across the aisle, and we played a magnetic chess game (which I was very close to losing, but may have fought to a draw if I didn't choose to abandon it after dinner; it was my first chess game in six years or so.)

I think that, over these three days, that redheaded guy at first entertained the hope of flirting with me. But, dude, I am sorry. You have no way of knowing, because I am not telling you, that with minimal sleep, showering, and personal space, I know myself enough to know that I am not just skating the edge of madness; I am trying to do triple Axels and Surya-Bonaly-type backflips on that edge as well. A half-hearted flirtation --- and it IS half-hearted if my intuition isn't crying out that this has potential at all, so I would go about this with only the advice of stupid self-help books to not miss a chance, and thus half my heart, the thinking part --- to quote the line I learned from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, I am not interested.

I am in steerage class, as a funny lady I got acquainted with, a mother of two, called it.

I cannot have interesting books any more
And without a string is my guitar.
And I can't go higher, I may go only lower,
And I can't have the sun and moon, and can't have the star.

And I can't go free now, for I have no right,
Only from door to wall may I.
And I can't go left, and I can't go right;
I may have only dreams and a piece of sky.

Dreams about how I'll come out when my lock's replaced,
How my own guitar they'll bring to me;
How they will meet me, how I'll be embraced ---
And what kind of songs they'll sing to me
.

Perhaps it is a little strong to use Vysotsky's words about jail to refer to train economy class, but that was how I felt. I cherished dreams, for they meant I actually did sleep some, and not just writhed and turned and tried to find a impossible comfortable position. I wrote them down; some of them are very interesting.

In Edmonton, there were seventy-five people getting on, so half of my two-seater was taken away by a young man about my age, whose girlfriend sat in the seat across the aisle next to the redheaded guy. And so this was until Toronto, and for the next two nights, I slept with him.

I have always wanted to use these words precisely as they should be used, meaning nothing more, and quite a good deal less, as I slept little.

They were nice people.

The tale devolves into soul searching and poetry, and gets long )This is getting very very long. I'll tell the rest of the actual story of my voyage home in a new post.
syncategorematic: (when I am tired)
( Aug. 1st, 2008 09:01 am)
Sheise.

Last full day in Vancouver, I lose my cellphone. I remember taking it out of my pocket to find that the battery is nearly dead, and making a mental note of recharging it when I get back to the hostel, but then my memory is a blank as to what I did with it, and when I did get back, I searched systematically through all of my bags twice, and it is not there. And I am now short on cash, so I shall return the camera before I leave on the train. I had also forgotten that student loans will come calling on my bank account yesterday.

I hate losing things. Stupid acquired values; I have this horrible conviction that losing things and forgetting things makes me fail at life and no one will ever love me because I am a flake. I have evidence that this is not so --- but you don't KNOW when you look at someone whether or not they have forgiven you! I hate, hate, hate not being able to remember what happened afterwards. I hate losing valuable objects, even though the phone is I think three years old, near-obsolete, and not that valuable. I am sitting there kicking myself, and telling myself not to.

I'll survive, somehow. But sheise.
This is my last full day in Vancouver.

So yesterday morning I explored the glories of Vancouver's public transit system by taking the B-Line buses to UBC to the Museum of Anthropology. Kneel and worship me.
Read more... )
The Sutton Place Hotel is pretty ritzy. Grand lobby, uniformed concierges greeting you at the door. And here I am, needing to go there to pick up a message, and I am a semi-employed student down to my last pair of pants here, with a useless degree and a few coins in cash to my name.

So what do I do? Stride in there like I own the place, of course!

Ever since I realized, with the help of Ms_danson and the ladies who liked mozzarella, that looking like you're certain what you're doing subconsciously asserts dominance, I intend to use it to the hilt (I have gained the impression I have unconsciously used it before.)

After that, I sat around David Lam Park for some time, because I wanted to return to photograph the World's Biggest Rhubarb (I doubt it's rhubarb. But it looks like rhubarb.)

Spread some more cards on the elegant tidepool monument. The five of pentacles came up in several readings: impoverishment in career, esp. financial issues, leading to reassessment of true values in that area; it was later that I saw this as a perfect theme to my day.

As I said, yesterday was processing time.

I went to Stanley Park, at least around the great seawall trail for bikers, walkers and rollerbladers. It runs one way, but because I am me, I ended up walking around it the wrong way. Walking, walking. Contemplating. Every couple of kilometres I would take one of my notebooks out and write things down. These things will probably never be seen by anyone as long as I live, unless I end up liking a particularly cool sentence.

You can see the stuff I wrote here, though )
Than forecourts of kings, and her outermost pits than the streets where men gather
Inland, among dust, under trees -- inland where the slayer may slay him --
Inland, out of reach of her arms, and the bosom whereon he must lay him
His Sea from the first that betrayed -- at the last that shall never betray him:
His Sea that his being fulfils?
So and no otherwise -- so and no otherwise -- hillmen desire their Hills.


Go ride the Canadian through Canada in first class before you die. Just do it. I look forward with dread to the ride back, where the fabulous food and the freedom to move around and the beds to sleep in will all no longer be available to me because I do not have five hundred more dollars.

Vancouver...is a lot like Haifa. That is the city it most reminds me of, from the plants to the rounded rock boulders on the beach to the palm trees, even if the palm trees are merely decorative and Bat Galim had neither giant driftwood logs nor blackberries. (Yes, St. John's wort does grow in the Pacific Maritime ecozone, and in large quantities, because Vancouver loves me and wants me to be happy.) The architecture is similar, those buildings of brick and concrete and glass and the way the sunlight slants between them --- all, somehow, stirred memories of the east end of the Mediterranean, now probably forever changed by missiles, the missiles that Vancouver shall hopefully never see, in the six-year-old child sitting in me from long ago.

Read more... )
.