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I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

Aug
21 2017

5:40 PM

Travel

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Observations in Canada

After 7 days in Vancouver.

People here seem to be less friendly when I have a face mask on. 😷

I felt it right from the time I landed. After collecting my luggage and getting out of the restricted zone, I approached the lady at the information counter inquiring about where I could rent mobile wifi. She stared at me in my mask, grimaced and told me I’m out of luck, all the while not smiling.

We were watching the solar eclipse this morning and I had my face mask on because of the crowds (it also doubled up as a UV shield). That was when a man asked me point blank.

“Can I ask you a personal question? Why are you wearing a mask?”

I couldn’t be bothered to mention my medical condition. Instead, I muttered something about the UV rays being strong and I didn’t have sunblock on. He didn’t look convinced. Instead, he kind of sneered and walked away.

It’s so easy to find fellow Pokémon Go players to raid a gym with you, especially at Canada Place or the Convention Centre.

Yes guys, I still play Pokémon Go. #sorrynotsorry

And people here will actually approach one another to raid a gym together.

The excitement is apparent. When other Pokémon Go players spy me (and my cousin) lurking nearby while staring at our mobile phones, they will approach us and ask “are you guys here for Articuno/Moltres/(insert legendary pokemon name here)? Let’s raid this gym together!”

So raid the gym we did.

Eventually, the gym boss will be defeated and it’s time to catch it. Without fail, someone will always say, “all right, good luck guys!”

It was a really nice feeling.

In contrast, people in Singapore (and Hong Kong) will spy a crowd at the Pokémon gym and just silently join in, all without saying a word to one another.

The Canadian pride is strong.

I spy the Canadian flag everywhere.

Hanging outside houses, dangling from cars and yachts. Everywhere.

During my first couple of days there, a woman on a bicycle with an attached trailer passed me. Wrapped around the trailer was a large Canadian flag. I couldn’t stop gaping.

There were shops everywhere selling almost anything you can plant the Canadian flag (or the maple leaf emblem) on. Tourist traps? I’m really not sure. Because I spy several local people wearing them.

But the amount of pride Canadians have in their country is amazing.

Public Transport is insanely expensive.

A one-stop away journey from Burrard Street Station to Waterfront Station cost me $2.20.

One stop.

Less than five minutes.

My expression when I tapped out at Waterfront Station. –> 😱

Go figure. I’m never complaining about Singapore’s public transport fares every again.

The salmon here is really, really orange.

As if it’s been injected with dye.

I remember having salmon sashimi with my cousin during my first night there and I was gaping open-mouthed at the salmon in front of me, wondering why did the colour look so vivid.

The cousin, amused, told me that the salmon here is redder because it’s fresh from the sea and doesn’t need to be imported.

I was so unused to the colour that my first few bites were tentative. Then I remembered that I was in Vancouver (where I shouldn’t have to worry about tainted food) and proceeded to wolf everything down.

Aug
15 2017

Hello, I’m in Vancouver

When I tell anyone I’m heading to Canada, they all go “whoa, that’s so far away!”

Me? My response is a flippant “nah, it’s just two flights away! I’ll get there in no time.”

Somehow, the fact that Vancouver is a 4 + 12 hour flight away with a 6 hour transit midway did not register in my mind.

I’ll just get by.

I generally like airplane rides anyway.

But it was only when I was at the 25% mark into the 12 hour flight to Vancouver, flying over the Pacific Ocean with a screaming kid seated next to me did I realize the magnitude of just how long this journey will be.

Oh fuck, what the hell did I get myself into?

Is this all worth it?

Am I going to end up killing that kid before we land?

The kid made it out of the flight alive, don’t worry. Although I must say I was dangerously close to wanting to commit murder mid-air.

But yay, I got here. A journey of 22 hours in total and I managed it solo. For some reason, I feel insanely proud of myself.

Aug
12 2017

2 days before I fly

Sidenote: Sudden surge of backdated posts on this blog lately. Been writing random stuff in my iPhone notes during this year and rediscovered how carthartic writing is. Maybe this blog might gain a life of its own again.

This is weird.

It’s 2 days before I jet off to Vancouver. But I haven’t packed. I haven’t finished my itinerary. I haven’t researched.

In fact, my mood for the trip has all but fizzled out.

I blame the happenings of this week. After all the firefighting, the only thing that’s on my mind when I came home on all days this week is sleep. And even then, I couldn’t sleep. Recollections (more like nightmares) of the week’s happenings kept appearing in my dreams.

Insert random thought here: I’ve let the actions of assholes affect me too deeply again. This is so not worth it.

Throughout the week, my brain has been constantly switching between “I can’t wait for this break” and “this was a bad, bad idea”.

It’s about 48 hours before I fly. I’m still exhausted. And I’m worried I cannot recuperate the energy levels I need to take on this trip alone.

In Singapore, it’s okay. Because I usually operate on autopilot anyway.

But when I’m overseas and alone, I cannot afford to be this exhausted. I need to stay on alert. I cannot afford to let my attention drift. This takes additional mental energy.

And to be honest, this trip has also contributed partially to my stress levels. Because there’s always plenty to do each time before I jet off on a holiday.

Such #FirstWorldProblems, I know.

Perhaps the exhilaration will begin once I step on board the plane, like how it always does previously.

I hope.

—–

Oh, and all plans to chase the total solar eclipse in the USA are abandoned. Partially disappointed because the eclipse was supposed to be the highlight. But the cost of a 3D2N trip down south costs upwards of $1K USD per person. (Ouch.)

My bad, really. Eclipse chasers typically plan ahead 1-2 years before the event. And here I am trying to pull a 1-month stunt.

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