from Sandy Needham

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vancouver Dispatch

Our son Jake spent five months with three buddies in Vancouver. They rented two apartments on the upper floors of a swanky building with stunning views of the city, the water, and the snow-capped mountains that embrace it all.

I met up with Newton there after his California trade show and my sister reunion in Arizona. Because the apartment was small and Jake’s roommate would be there, we reserved a hotel room on, which means pre-paid and non-refundable. Then Jake’s roommate decided to travel. Well, once I had seen the state-of-the-art design of Jake’s apartment, the depressing hallway of our hotel only reminded me of bad textile designs I had to work on in the ‘80’s, even though our dark room was much more updated and less smoky. I made Newt pack up with me after the first night and move over to Jake’s! Yes, waking up to this view was just fine by me:

day view

So I am a bit obsessed with design – it’s true. I just found, Nordestino country bumpkin that I now am, that living with this coral glass wall in the kitchen (can you find the refrigerator?...and the dishwasher along the wooden cabinets?)…and with this glass sink and glass wall in the bathroom, and with all the beautifully designed and well-functioning fixtures a very satisfying thing.

kitchensink 2

We got to see Jake around the clock this way. Our downtime together included, as always, card games and word games and Jake’s utterly confounding card tricks. He had given me two handmade ‘coupons’ on Christmas morning in Brazil: one, a dinner out in Vancouver to celebrate my September birthday; and two, a dinner out in Vancouver for my Christmas present. He knows what I like! And we did, indeed, have lovely dinners at two of the many great restaurants in the city, along with exceptional wine. Loved them, Jake.

glass buildingsI initially found the many predominantly glass high rise apartment buildings sort of jangling in their varied reflections as we drove in from the airport late afternoon. But as night fell and the interiors were lit, I saw a different vision of the glass city. The dwellers are all there together, visible to each other to a great extent – the murals of stacked interiors drawing us all in from various directions. It seemed intimate; beautiful; human.

glass walls

Then, as you walk or drive around, there are frequently views of the mountains beyond the sightline at intersections, as if the city can never separate you from nature’s grandeur. I thought these two aspects really set the city apart. street view

I also loved our short drive up into these pristine mountains in crisp early February air.

mountain lakemist

Newton caught a flight to Japan; I caught a flight to Los Angeles to visit our daughter for a few days.

JakeyJake returned to his home in Las Vegas for a month and has now taken off with his buddies for Japan, China and Thailand. He has a nice 25-year-old, Texas Hold’em life!



Postscript:  My friend, Linda “Doyley” Calder, who grew up in Alberta, Canada, remarked how Vancouver had always meant the ocean to her, visiting from inland. She noticed I only referenced the surrounding mountains. I had to laugh…I never saw the ocean there! My excuse: our visit was brief, our views not to the east, and we live on the ocean in Brazil, so do not seek out the sea as enthusiastically as we used to.


  1. Of all the cities I've visited in Canada, Vancouver is without doubt my very favorite, and I think the most beautiful city I have ever visited worldwide. I was there every time in February and Max was there with me at least once. We stayed in a high rise hotel with views of the bay, the mountains and the sea plane terminal right below us. Max saw her first Smart Car there and talked me into buying one when they first came to the US. If I had to chose one place to move to for the rest of my life, it would probably be Vancouver. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the chance to visit it again.

  2. I loved Vancouver when I got to visit too! Jakes apartment looked awesome...too bad you didn't get to visit the famous park where I saw the biggest trees I've ever seen! Such a beautiful place.


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