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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

God I feel rough. I'm not sure how I even managed to drag myself Downtown to get to the SWAP centre. Last night I went the an awesome Jazz joint on Broadway called the Jazz Cellar. The drinks cost a small fortune, but the place had ambiance and live Jazz. I met a bunch of Candians there who asked if I wanted to go with them to Roxy's. Thing's where going pretty well untill Tim decided to thrown down a drinking callenge, buys $150 worth of Vodka and 7-up and we consume. Next thing I know, I picked up the wrong jacket my accident, I'm put in an arm lock, punched twice in the back (maaaan, that smarts...) and thrown out of Roxys.

Not quite sure how I made it back after that, I clearly remember walking back over the Burrad Bridge because I got tired of waiting for the others to come out of Roxys. Amber lived over in Kit's and was gonna give me a lift back. I woke up about 11am, stomache is a leathal cocktail of Taquila, Vodka and 7-up. My back absolutly kills. The lady at SWAP who suggested I went down broadway to find somewhere to drink was impressed I even made it in.

Anyway, changing the subject from my drunken exploits to something less incriminating. The beach on Kitsilano has finaly revealed joggers to not be totaly insane (although power walkers still look like totaly idiots). Since I've arrived I've got into the habit of getting off the bus early and walking to my destination so I get to see a bit more of the city. The beach at Kits was, spectualer views out across the bay to North Vancouver and as the sun went down the night slopes opened and lit up.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Stopping by the SWAP centre after 5 hours of solid job hunting. I started at 11am, getting the Bus from the appartment in Kit's. Wandered around doing walk ins for a couple of hours, grabbed a couple of cup's of coffee at Take 5 (10% Discount..weee =D) even though there's a Starbucks on every corner. Two cups of Coffee later I've filled out all the forms I've been handed and retrace my steps to give them all back. I almost lost my favourite store, which made me sad. Luckily I found it on the way back to SWAP to do a net application for the electronics place.

Job hunting is so much nicer here. For a start I got to talk to the manager in most stores, and they acctauly thanked me, le garsp, for coming in. It seems like everywhere is overrun with clothing stores though :(. Not much help for the fasion unconcious. I dropped into a couple of clothes stores on a whim, Roots because somone had told me it was totaly canadian.

My favourite place by far was Obsessions, even though it had a silly application form, the store just really caught my eye as I went past (no, it wasn't because it had risque stuff in the window >_>). They are opening a new store in Gastown next month, which could make a good job op if I can't get another full time job between now and then. The chocolate place, Purdy's, where taking on staff for the Easter season.

Quite a few places offered to put my CV by untill they had a spot. I'm not holding my breath, but leave no stone unturned. I skipped on applying for any of the Starbucks in town, firstly because they have a silly long application form, but mostly because I'm waiting on a phone number of somone who I know is hiring right now.

I also saw a big banner warning me bait cars where everywhere. Which brought fresh amusment, as Mrs.Campbell had told me about them in the morning. Basicaly they are cars rigged to lock in prospective car thieves. Something about the look of horror on a prospective thiefs face when they realise they are totaly screwed amuses me no end. She also told me that Vancouver is supposed to have the worst rate of property crime in North America, which explains why they where warning me to keep my bike locked up if I got one.

I'm thinking about heading out to sample some nightlife tonight. I think it would be nice to take a little break after doing walk in's for half of Downtown. I'm just not sure about burning up my money untill I get some assurance on a job.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Shannon's parents took me out to the hot springs at Harrison today. Apparently the lake out there is really busy in the summer (I'm going to have to come back sometime I think). It's been snowing here, then raining. It's pretty much like britan, except colder.
Adam, the site feed (in Atom XML format) is avalible: here, I'll put up a sidebar link to it later on.

Went to the mall yesterday. It's very weird wandering around seeing movies on DVD that aren't even out in our Cinema's yet. Clothes stores still seem to rule supreme, which sucks because I hate clothes shopping. I looked at some digital camera's in the electronics store and decided they cost way too much for somone with no income. So no pictures yet.

I'm going back down into Vancouver tommorow so I can start job hunting in ernest, so no 24 night for me. My CV is done, although I haven't gotten around to getting anyone to look at it yet. I still want to try and find some time to go down to the coffee place I saw that claimed to have "the best coffee in downtown"

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Had an awesome night last night, Shannons friend came to pick me up and we went down (after a minor [/sarcasm] detour to Mission) and take me to what everyone was reffering too as the Tunnels. I never knew stumbling around in the pitch black could be so much fun. The alcohol probably helped too...

I've been invited along to Leanne's 24 nights. Apparently Jack Bauer is her number one TV Boyfriend, right above Harry Potter. On account of her being 26, I then teased her about liking little boys. There was also much amusement derived from how I made swearwords sound.

I've been adopted by my own Mini Abbortsfordian group. Glee!

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's official, Canada makes the viewpoint symbol on a map redudent, or at least BC does. You can literaly walk a minute or two along a road here and see an awesome view in at least one direction. My camera was charging whilst I was out, I'll take a wander tommrow so I can take some photo's to post here.

Shannon's family have all been really nice to me, being able to sleep in my own room and get properly clean is MUCH appreciated. I'm going out to a party tonight with one of Shannon's friends, as she is going off to watch Lost with another one of her friends. I think she doesn't want me there asking stupid questions on account of the "if you ask stupid questions, I'll slap you in the face, punch you in the balls and then kick you out of the room" comment.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wooo, two posts in the same day. Go me!

I've managed to set up a bank account,Royal Bank of Canada wins the prize, because they managed to get me an account today, as opposed to HSBC, who couldn't. I've also got myself a cell phone. It's charging right now (I hope it doesn't take too long, I've go to haul myself down to the train station soon...). I spent a little while having a wander around too, there are some amazing veiws over the harbour to the Rockies.
Ok, a little less rushed today. I made it to the SWAP center for my oriantation an hour early and I'm using the computers there to make this post (I'm going to have to run off and work on my CV soon). Which incidently suck a lot less than ones at the hostel.

Speaking of the hostel, although I got a nights sleep, it was pretty broken up. I think I woke up about 6 or 7 times. That said, I'm feeling pretty fine, and the gratis breakfast is nice. I met a couple of other BUNAC'ers at the Hostel too, who helped me find the SWAP center. I'll probably see them later at the oriantation. I also sat in on a documentry some people at the center where watching about "the aristocrats" joke, although I can't explain here as children might be reading.

The hostel had TON'S of info on local jobs, events, transport and places to rent. I'm slightly less worried about the impending job/home hunt. They also have various hostel run events during the weekdays (like a pub crawl =D) I still haven't decide if I'm going to try and get a cellphone, although the prospect of having one does seem very attractive. I'm worried it's going to make a big dent in my budget though.

I decided to walk to the SWAP center, it's quite a few blocks from the Hostel, took me about 20 minutes to find (including 5 minutes getting lost time). I'm starting to get my head around navigating blocks, the main problem lies in knowing which direction to go, when you have two intersecting streets the only way to be certain of the right direction without some kind of point of referance is compass points. The weather is quite cold, but has a nice fresh moutain air quality you don't get in miserable old england.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I need to apologise in advance for my brevity, I'm posting from a hostel computer and it's costing me 2$ for 30 minutes.

My flight went well, apparently FlyZoom DO know what Boeing 767's are. No inflight movies on account of a broken sound system, although quite a bit of the trip was cloudless enough to take in some of the views of pretty snowy wasteland over canada and greenland. The guy sitting next to me was off to snowboard in Wistler for a week.

The flight arrived 10 minutes early, although this was CONCLUSIVELY thwarted by customs who had me chasing bits of paper around for about an hour before I made it through to canada. My friends who would have probably been very bored at this point (luckily for me, they got lost and had only been there for ten minutes, not so lucky for them) took me out, mother of one of afformentioned friends parents then paid for me to have lunch.

Which is why my schedual has been re-arranged... She talked me into going to see them over in Abbortsford at the weekend. So after I leave my orienatation I'm going to get a whole new experiance riding the trains. Wooo.

I'm still finding the sheer scale of Vancouver highly disorientating, apparently arranging things in blocks is sensible, I find it freaking confusing. Perhaps when I have a map of my own it will get clearer. I haven't run into any other BUNAC'ers yet, although I suspect the people who checked in just after me are, I'm going to find somewhere to sit in the (very nice) hostel and play patients with my deck of BUNAC cards and see if I can snare one.

Also, anyone with money on a betting pool over what I was going to loose/leave behind. Wonder no longer! Apparently I've lost my HI Card. Although this hasn't been a problem getting cheap hostel rates yet, I expect it will be in the future...

Monday, February 20, 2006

One Day and 12 hours remaining. I've been checking stuff for my flight, because I don't want to be held by customs because I have a disposable razor in my bag. Apparently, disposable razors are A-ok, but Molotov Cocktails and Semtex aren't. Funny thing that. Also, I find it sadly lacking that whilst Catapults are clearly outlawed, theres no rule against Trebuches. I guess they just catch you out on luggage weight limits for other siege weapons...

Mp3 Player is being steadily filled with goodness; Led Zepplin, Jack Johnson, The Stokes, The Pillows (go on, tell me my music collection is eclectic) and The Arctic Monkeys. Hopefully there's enough British goodness to keep me going for a while, 20GB has turned into some kind of challenge.

Speaking of Challenges, I got my bag mostly packed. After an hour or so of kicking, screaming, unpacking and repacking (about four times) I managed to get it closed with nearly everything inside it. I blame my Canadian friends asking for things that take up lots of space. I opted for a backpack rather than suitcase, so I've payed a bit in total space. It is, however, nice and easy to carry around and sits comfortably on my back. I do feel like if someone pushed me on my back I would be like a stranded tortoise though.

The bag was also the biggest bargain of my trip, a 75 liter model that I picked up for £60 in the January sales (instead of £130), I promptly went out and spent the spare money on a new jacket. Which was also awesome, warm, comfy and makes me feel like a total badass when I'm wearing it. It ALSO has 7 pockets and a hood for when I feel like pretending to be aggressive (and by aggressive, I mean making people fall about on the floor laughing as I try to glower from under the hood).

I also picked up some CA$ today. I'm really not sure what to make of them. All the notes are the same size and are colour coded by amounts. They actually look pretty smiler to our notes aside from that. Obviously they have famous Canadian stuff on though. I just have trouble showing faith in a currency that uses the terms “loonie” and “twonie” to describe units.

On a more personal note, my boss (well my ex-boss now) went on to prove what a total brick she was by dictating a reference over the phone because her printer was broken, and then letting me come in and bother her for a signature for it. I never knew someone could find so many nice things to say about me :) .

I also went over to see Louisa, my bestest buddy studying to become an ace photographer, and say goodbye. She insisted on trying to get me totally drunk and only partly succeeded. Very out of character for me, I blame this stupid cold type thing I've had. Luckily I've been fighting it off much better than the rest of my family, they've all had problems with headaches. It at least meant I wouldn't have noticed the hangover on account of already feeling crap.

I'm going to try and get one more post in from British soil before I leave. I have to be up early for my flight on Wednesday, so tomorrow night will be my last post from the UK unless I'm up early and have time to kill.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Four days remaining. I got my new MP3 Player last night (20 gigs =D) and started using it today. With the exception of its reliance on software it's been absolutly great. The touchpad is nicely intuitive once you get the hang of it and the sound quality is better than what I hoped for. Combined with the obscene battery life, it'll serve me well for my trip.

I also got my travelers cheques today. I've never used them before so it was all kind of novel, untill I found out I was going to have to sign every single cheque (and there where about 30 of the buggers) to get them. It's definitly going to be worth it for the extra safty and security though. Hopefully once I have an account set up in Canada I'll just cash them back into that and save having to repeatedly get them cashed. They also look kinda cool.

It was my last day at work today (go on, tell me I'm silly for cutting myself this little time to sort my stuff out, I'll be too busy manicly packing to listen...) I failed spectaculerly to pull off any end of work Japes. I was seriously considering putting up a giant comedy CCTV camera made from a carboard box and toilet paper tube. Part of me is telling me that the wrath of the head of security could follow me overseas should she feel the need too. Instead I went through with my plan to make belated Valentines protest chocolate cake, that was enjoyed by everyone.

I'll be honest and say there aren't a huge number of things I'll miss here in england. However my work mates are counted as one of the things I WILL miss, well them, and the sandwhich shop round the corner from work >_>. Anyway, on to telling everyone how great my workmates are, and leaving personal messages...

Mad props to Angela the Uncommon punk, I hope your meeting with your boys mother went well. I doubt I'll ever meet a cuter punk rocker; I'll be back to see your band play some time, don't forget me when you're famous. Same thing goes out to Steve, if you ever get off that chain that keeps you on the till point. Thanks to Jodie (who I totaly don't have crush on), who is threating to print this off and redistribute it to the rest of the staff; I wish you the best when you go off traveling too. Keep saying what your thinking, life is honestly more intresting that way.

A special award for most extream tie/shirt combonation goes to Edwardo, a guy with the some of the strangest (and yet cool) dress sense. I promise not to tell anyone that you got that cute little skull braclet from Claires Accesories. Anna, keep going for that idea of yours, you don't know it yet, but when you muster enough blind determination you can achive pretty much anything you want. Oh, and find yourself a nice boy to snog, some guy out there is missing out because your still single.

Caz, it always impressed me how you managed to take my overall oddness entirely in your own stride. Briony, I'll say one thing "Men, can't live with em, can't kill em." Nat, I promise to not sneak overseas so I can read your copy of heat magazine when you are out of the room. Alyc, I think your going to be a great assitant manager. I hope your still around if I come back to beg another job so I can save up and flit off to some other corner off the world.

Finaly I would like to thank Diane, the nicest manager anyone could hope to have, and the guardian angel of all things floppy eared. Thank you for bearing with the lateness, the occasional swearword and all the barefaced cheek (you'll look back and laugh, honestly) and then writing me a referance for your troubles. I hope things settle soon so you can have some of that time off you work so hard for.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"I have gone to find myself, if I get back before me please give me a good kicking for wandering off without leaving a note."

I had to leave a note along those lines somewhere before I left. I have to make a joke out of it because saying I'm going to "find myself" sounds so pretentious. Let's say I'm going in lieu of knowing what direction to take my life in next. It sounds much better than just saying "I don't know what to do, so I'm going to Canada"

My name (for those of you that don't know me, and just stumbled somewhere off the web onto this blog) is Duncan Saunders; I'm a partly drunk, mostly grumpy and very eccentric brit; off on a quest to the land of Canada. This is my story.