A Letter about Vancouver, from Greece
I’m vacationing in Greece right now, so my thoughts on Vancouver right now
are informed by the contrast between where I am and home. Let me say this:
the small island I am staying on, is, more or less, paradise. But Vancouver
isn’t all that bad.
I’m on the island of Syros, one of the Cycladic islands in
the Mediterranean, about four hours by ferry from Athens. We’re staying at a
family residence located far out of town. That is to say, it’s 15 minutes of
driving on harrowingly narrow mountain roads to get to the main town from
our gate. When the locals complain about traffic and parking, what they mean
is that sometimes it gets so busy on the waterfront you have to park three
blocks from the city centre.
The big difference between Vancouver and a paradisaical Greek island is one
of options. In Vancouver, you have the advantage of being near world-class
skiing, world-class parks, cultural events ranging from okay to world-class,
a few big-time sports teams (I have to say that if you like hockey, a
paradisaical Greek island is not the place to be), and about a thousand
restaurants that are worth a visit, covering virtually every cuisine of the
Syros, by contrast, has a vital night life in its downtown core (at least in
the summer) a climate that ranges from 10C on a cold winter day to 35C on a
very hot summer day, and about a hundred tavernas that all serve the same
very local, and shockingly fresh cuisine (I routinely taste tomatoes here
that have no equal in anything available in Vancouver). If you like outdoor
activities, they had better be beach-based, but you’ll get to pick from
about 10 major beaches (and many minor ones) that all feature lovely gold
sands and pleasant swimming in the warm sea.
So far, the deciding factor is this: I went to the movies last night, at an
open-air theatre, and my impromptu combo of a beer, a drink box, and a large
popcorn cost 6.5 Euros (a bit less than $10). The beautiful venue and the
Heineken improved the experience of watching Ocean’s 13 immensely!
My advice to those of you still in Vancouver: you pay an immense price
(somewhat in terms of lifestyle, and quite acutely in terms of housing
costs) for living where you do. If you are not taking full advantage of what
Vancouver offers, it behooves you to move.