In my (albeited limited) world view, Vancouver is the Los Angeles of Canada, the dark, nasty, don’t get off at the wrong exit or risk a violent death, city, the Gotham of Tim Burton or Chris Nolan. I’m not that timid. I’ve survived Chicago’s South Side, New York’s Washington Park at midnight, Ottawa’s Market after dark, riding the Montreal mΓ©tro with skinheads, playing chicken with Hells Angels in Gatineau, getting lost in downtown Baltimore, even wandering around the bad parts of Calgary (Calgary has bad parts?). Hell, I’ve even survived a trip to Los Angeles… and that’s what’s not helping the Vancouver situation!

Surprised? πŸ˜€

Like with Los Angeles, I know there is a lot to see and do in Vancouver, but, like with Los Angeles, getting around is the issue. In LA, I was advised to not walk around, drive unless I knew where I was going, or take public transportation. I think this left taxis? I wound up driving straight to my hotel on Sunset Boulevard and walking between it and the famous Hollywood sites like the Kodak theatre (even though I’d been advised to not even walk those twenty or so blocks). After less than a day there, I was so exhausted from being on my guard all the time that I just left without going beyond Hollywood (nasty place) when I would have enjoyed doing a studio tour or even just visiting the Griffith Observatory. Looking back, I realise that I would have needed a native guide.

Same thing with Vancouver, it seems, and especially Surrey! Surrey gets a very bad rap; you wouldn’t believe the number of people who told me not to go to Surrey and to especially not be out in Surrey after dark! Last night, I did go out, taking two main streets to go to Walmart and back. Tonight, I’d like to go to a movie, but I have no idea which theatre is in an okay part of town. I’ll need to speak with the very friendly camphost here and ask her what her recommendations are.

Also like in Los Angeles, traffic is absolutely terrible here, maybe even worse than Toronto, but, of course, not nearly as bad as Montreal (because no place in the US or Canada has traffic worse than Montreal).

So, I’m here and really excited and happy to be here but shocked to discover that here is just as scary as I expected it to be!

At least, the RV park is a lovely, non-threatening, bubble. πŸ˜€

My first order of the day for tomorrow, then, is to have a chat with the camphost, descarify myself, and come up with one activity for each ofΒ  Saturday and Sunday that will get me comfortable with this city!

Blog Widget by LinkWithinShare on Facebook
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


  • Glad to see you made it Rae! Don’t be frightened of the Lower Mainland but like everywhere (even Mexico), be aware of your surroundings. There are theaters in White Rock which is also great for a walk down the main street on the water. Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham is not a long drive once you find out when the border lineup is the shortest. There are movies there too. Downtown Vancouver can’t be missed but free parking is a scarce. Richmond is just down the highway with a very safe downtown area.

    Check out the Lower Levels Highway from the Lions Gate Bridge to Horseshoe Bay. It is a beautiful drive and Trolls Restaurant in Horseshoe Bay has the best fish and chips.

    Steveston is near Richmond and is really worth a trip. Great fish and chips at Pajo’s on the warf. There is a seafood store there that sells sushi quality fish.

    Buy a map and explore. You will be safe as long as you stay out of the seedy areas at night.

  • Map: the camphost here gave me a bunch and highlighted must see things and routes for how to get there. Still not helping the paralysis. πŸ™‚

    Fish ‘n chips: I keep on getting reviews for this one place in White Rock, so I guess I’ll have to visit the places you mentioned so I make a proper assessment!

    Border line ups have been +90min. I ain’t goin’ south of the 49th! πŸ˜€

    Downtown Van: I’m going to research public transportation

    Richmond: I’ve seen the airport. Is there anything else I shouldn’t miss πŸ˜‰ (tongue is firmly in cheek here!!! LOL)

    Seafood: sounds good; thanks for the tip!

  • Love the new look and feel of your website! It looks like both moves (the website as well as your physical move to Vancouver) went fairly smoothly and successfully. Congratulations!

    Regarding traffic and driving in various cities, we always comment that we notice a big difference as soon as we come back into Canada from any of our trips into the USA. We find that Canadians, in general and especially on the freeways, drive far more aggressively than Americans do. Doesn’t quite fit with the “polite” persona we Canadians generally portray, does it? Could it be that when we get behind the wheel, our true pent-up emotions surface? Interesting thought…

  • Marianne, the more I travel, the less I understand the perception foreigners have of Canadians. You’re especially right about our driving habits. Quebecers in particular have a well deserved reputation for being horribly aggressive drivers. The theory I’ve read as to why this is is that Canadians have to travel greater distances on a more regular basis and just ‘want to get there.’ Hmm…

    As for the moves, moving is good for the soul! πŸ˜€

  • I think the seafood store is on #1 Road about a block short of the ocean in Steveston. It will be on your left heading toward the water. It is owned by a very nice young Japanese couple. I used to buy tuna there for my favorite sushi. They say if a seafood store smells like fish, walk out. This one does not, at least when I used to go.

    Richmond – head for #3 Road and Granville, park and walk around.

  • […] a little corner of it where I was happy to leave a tiny piece of my soul. The GVR is no longer a big, bad scary urban enclave (shootings notwithstanding), but a place that I will remember as being ‘home’ for four […]

  • […] around Vancouver with a minimum of GPS reliance and wrong turns and that a city that once seemed scary and hostile now feels like […]

  • […] all of this, I am getting less and less timid about this place that scared me so much. The next nice weekend (definitely not this one ), I am going to downtown Vancouver! I’ll […]

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!