So its coming up to two weeks here in west, and though I’ve made 2 week trips before this time its different because its like I’m a resident. I’ve gotten used to the commute to work, although walking in the rain along a busy highway I think I shall dread always. Even if I do get a car, that won’t change since, like Toronto, driving downtown to work is a royal pain in the ass. And yes, I haven’t gotten a car yet, which is greatly hindering my motivation to explore outside downtown.
Last weekend I went to the mall did some shopping, not much, just a little. I went to Metrotown which is a HUGE mall with all kinds of store, perhaps akin to Eaton Centre, but its not downtown, and its just enormous.
After the shopping trip I got my first opportunity to ride on a bus. I haven’t ridden a public transit bus in probably 7 years! It was nothing special, but you can tell the honour system works here in Vancouver. I’ll give you a little background on public transit first. Unlike TTC, when you purchase a bus ticket it has a time limit of 90 minutes. This means you must be aboard your last mode of transport (bus, train, ferry) before the ticket expires. So I had bought a ticket at the mall and headed back to the hotel to drop off my purchases and to get off my feet for a while. Once rested I headed back to the train station and just headed straight to the platform. There is nobody to check whether you bought bus fare or not! EVER! Ok…sometimes they have spot checks at the stations, but its just like riding the GO Train! There are markings on the floor that you have entered a “Fare Paid Zone”. Then I had to take a bus which took me to UBC (University of British Columbia) to have dinner with some friends. This particular bus is special, it has 3 doors and you can board from any door (once you have paid fare which I had because I bought my ticket less than 90 minutes prior), but I boarded wondering…who checks?! The bus driver doesn’t, that’s for sure. What’s to keep someone from just hopping on the bus without buying a ticket. I guess I could say its a Canadian thing, but if this were Toronto, there would be A LOT of free riders, guaranteed. Another interesting facts about the public transit system is that the trains/subways are driverless. The pull in, the doors open, the doors close, and off they go, the only people on the trains are the passengers.
Speaking of passengers I’ve noticed the strangest phenomenon. People here are generally very nice and polite, except when it comes time to board the train!! As soon as the doors open, people just start piling in!! They don’t let the existing train riders get off if its their stop. I found this to be extremely strange. On the flip side, if I happen to be crossing the street (read Jay Walking) cars will actually stop to let you cross. Coming from Toronto where you have to wait for all the cars to pass before you proceed its a bit unnerving, and kind of makes me feel guilty. I try to wave them on, not wanting to hold them up on their commute but they never budge! Its just some really strange behaviour and takes some getting used to.
On another note I have finally started running again. I had taken a loooong break (since before Ramadan), and had decided a while ago that I would start back when I got to Vancouver. My body is mildly protesting, but I don’t listen. Since the fitness facilities at my hotel SUCK, I managed to procure a gym pass to the Marriott :D So I usually go for my run after work then head home. It makes for long days, but at least when I get home I can just relax, plus eating out 3 times a day 7 days a week, I need to keep up a strict regiment of working out to make sure I lose weight. That’s pretty much it…its the weekend again but I have nothing planned, perhaps something will pop up and I’ll update you next week.
p.s. if you (read Mezba) wanted pictures, wait until I start exploring :)
p.p.s. for those that were interested in purchasing tickets (again read Mezba lol) see what’s avail at vancouver2010.com and then let me know what you want. I personally cannot buy discounted tickets because I didn’t go to the 3 day waste-of-time orientation, but I can get others to buy for me.
p.p.p.s. Congrats to Lat for being comment # 1000 on my blog :)