Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vancouver (Day 5)

Today was the second of two days that focused on lectures and various topic presentations.  It was another sunny day in Vancouver with temperatures around 78 degrees F or so.  I was able to walk around town a bit during the breaks and this evening for dinner.  Tomorrow is another day of tours to nurseries (4), home gardens (4) and botanical gardens (2).  I visited both of these botanic gardens (Van Dusen and the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden) over 13 years ago and am looking forward to a return visit.  The talks today were good and some were very inspirational.  A couple of the plant talks unfortunately were more relevant for those in warmer climates but I still found them interesting as I don't tire of seeing plants.  A plant breeder from Germany showed some neat lady slipper orchid (Cypripedium) hybrids that I'd like to get my hands on as they are hardy and quite colorful.  Because I didn't take many photos today, I've included some of my "odd and interesting" shots over the last couple of days.  Above is an interesting wall mounted structure at the Gardens of the Pacific on the Tuesday visit.  That is a bit scary.  Most shots below have a caption and some of my observations regarding Vancouver are at the bottom.

turtle balanced and basking
another rogue gnome at the Government House garden
mussels? clinging to bridge supports that see a significant tide every night - all of the docks have to float up and down at least 15' 
saw lots of these...essentially you're charged by time and mileage (fuel efficient) but averages about $75 per day and they can be dropped off at approved lots
check out the yew (Taxus) hedge with the interesting "peak thru" gap
nightmare fodder
same as above
sign near bridge at one of the nurseries
saw lots of interesting metal garden art like this...
cool Sempervivum lizard at Minter Gardens
30' tall metal sculpture (emitting misty water vapor) in Minter Gardens children's garden
cool log carving at Minter Gardens
Above is a support with fragrant Brugmansia secured to the supports (Minter Gardens).  Really cool.  I've been in Canada a couple times and this is my second trip to Vancouver.  All cities and cultures are different of course but I thought I'd share my observations of Vancouver...  The city is quite vibrant and diverse with a very active populace biking, jogging, etc.  There seems to be a lot of young professionals at least in the urban center of town.  There is quite a bit of green space including Stanley Park which was recently named the most popular urban park in the world (with Central Park a close second place).  People seem friendly and quite accustomed to Americans and tourists in general.  The city is very bike and pedestrian friendly and I was amazed to see the populace stringently obey the crosswalk signs.  I wonder if "jaywalking' receives a big fine?  There are lots of dogs but I never saw dog poop anywhere.  Vancouver seems quite clean but unfortunately there were lots of cigarette butts.  Rush hour traffic here rivals that in any large city. There were many homeless although I was never hounded for "donations".  A surprising number of these "homeless" were very young (18-24 year olds) and seemed to be in the counter-culture phase.  In many ways, Vancouver reminded me of a larger Madison.  Canadian money is fairly easy to figure out.  Their smallest bill is a $5 and they use coins for $2, $1, and additional change (no pennies as they round up or down).  Using a credit card is interesting in a restaurant as they bring you a mobile "swiper" which I never figured out and needed help with every time.  Vancouver seems quite expensive but I can't say that it's any different than other large cities elsewhere.  All in all, I can certainly see why people continue to flock to this city and live here.  I hope to return sometime in the future before I'm six feet under.  Looking forward to tomorrow but also getting home.

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