Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

So where was all the traffic?

Burrard Street on Sunday by Cult Iconic on flickr

It was a lovely weekend, but CKNW didn’t find any traffic jams to report on. This is unusual when we have a long weekend and sunshine. So they called me to ask – why?

Best guess is that gas prices have a lot to do with it. Everyone has to commute, so that trip can’t be cut, but “discretionary travel” can be. There are always closer destinations, or you might decide to get out into the yard and catch up there rather than go to Bellis Fair Mall. The border crossing at the Peace Arch has construction work going on so there were only half the lanes available, and CBC were warning about that on Friday. But the ferries were not overloaded either.

Americans are coming here in fewer numbers, partly due to the lower US dollar, the economic downturn but also increasing restrictions at the border. They tended to drive here. They are being replaced by folk from further afield – China and Europe – who are less likely to drive when they get here.

Will we get used to higher gas prices and go back to driving? Only if incomes rise, something else gets cheaper or we decide to give up something else. Britain has much higher pump prices than we do – and has done for many years – but they still have chaos on the roads every bank holiday weekend. But the adjustment process is not going to be easy, and it doesn’t help that we have so few alternatives. Overcrowded transit and no trains off peak or at weekends on West Coast Express for instance.

Going to the Emerald City with Tony Stark

Iron Man, originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Any comic book fan worth their weight in refried beans is heading down to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Convention [eccc] this weekend. Though Vancouver has yet to get a decent convention that attracts mainstream talent, Seattle’s convention has been getting better every year.

Since it’s not Vancouver related you won’t see me blogging about it here, though if you head over to our Seattle sister site Metroblogging Seattle [mbs] you’ll find that I’ll be doing some posting while I’m down there.

Anyone one else going down for the show?

Vancouver goes south for Matthew Good at the Tractor Tavern

Matthew Good in Seattle

A short post about Matthew Good’s Seattle show below the jump.  You can find a longer one over at my own blog [jks].


Gone Bunburying to Seattle

Matthew Good, Belleville

, originally uploaded by shannon steele

Like so many other cross boarder scavengers this weekend I’ll be away to Seattle. The only difference is that rather than going down to take advantage of the good Canadian dollar and the cheap smokes and drinks on the other side of the world’s longest undefended border I’ll be at the Matthew Good show [mg].

It might bit odd, traveling to Seattle to see a Vancouver artist, but I keep missing his shows in Vancouver due to the fact that they sell out way too fast. Besides I need to do some Bunburying anyway [wp].

Checking the Coquihalla web cams


I’m planning a drive to Kelowna tomorrow and so have been checking the B.C. Highway Cams [bhc] to try to determine whether or not I should be risking my life on the Coquihalla. Overall it looks grey, but unless snow is actually falling they’re quite good at keeping the highway clear.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a real issue with the Coquihalla, though I remember trips as a kid when the family mini-van would get stopped at the toll bridge for hours because they had closed the highway down. Last year I did have one scary drive where I pretty much had to accept the zen notion that I could not know what was going on more than a foot and a half beyond my windshield due to fallling snow.

I said zen, what I meant to say was scary.

Gone for the weekend, fend for yourselves

Valley View

Here at Metroblogging Vancouver we kinda, sometimes, maybe, blog about the rest of British Columbia, at least until they launch a Metroblogging Telegraph Cove we’re pretty much willing to go a bit beyond the boundaries of the GVRD. Having said that I probably won’t be doing any blogging this weekend while I return to the interior and spend the next four days in Kelowna.

That’s right I’m trading in rational public transportation for a grid locked floating bridge, a multi-cultural melting pot for a mecca-of sunburnt Albertans and Americans (there is not much difference) and no chance of being mauled by a cougar to a decent chance to being mauled by a cougar. Having said that I’m up on my cougar evasion techniques, and plan to use a pedal boat to get anywhere I need to go, so I should be good.

Take care of yourselves while I’m away. To quote Fake Steve Jobs [fsj], Namaste.

Come see Vancouver from my balcony

The Westin Bayshore at the end of the world, or just in Vancouver

All of my photos that I’ve uploaded to Flickr have a Creative Commons licence on [wp], and thus can be reused by other people for various projects. It’s of course polite for those people to give me a heads up, so when I got a message from Schmap!! [wp] asking if they could use a few of my photographs in a project I was cool with it.

Schmap!! is a series of city guides built ontop of Yahoo Maps which give visitors to the city a way of exploring the town they’re looking at travelling before even leaving the ground. Their Vancouver site [sv] is quite nice, and if you’re looking to visit the city it’s worth checking out.

The odd thing for me, one of the pictures of mine they used was taken from my balcony as opposed to during a walk-about-town with my camera. So now tourists all over the world get to experiance Vancouver from the comfort of my apartment.

We could learn a thing or two from Las Vegas

Just got back from Las Vegas.

Vancouver is rightly regarded as a model of urban planning. In terms of sustainable development, we’ve got a long way to go, but we’re light-years ahead of our prairie cousins.

Las Vegas is, um, a different sort of urban model. Thirty-nine million tourists made their way last year to the great strip of bright lights in the middle of the Nevada desert. They plunked down billions, and most had little to show for it after they left. There is no natural reason why anyone ought to go there… except that it’s a really fun, friendly place to be.

The tourism marketing people of Las Vegas have earned their place in the pantheon of the advertising gods.

Escape the gloom, go loco in Mexico I saw two buses in a row go past on Seymour Street, emblazoned in giant Mexico tourism ads. Evidently, the Latin Americans have somehow discovered that we have really, really bad weather here around this time of year.

Even though we’re just coming off holidays, there’s a lot of people I know who could use a little time away in the sun.

Fortunately, I’ve got two tickets to Las Vegas I’ll be using very soon to get my fix of sun. Otherwise, I suspect the bus ads would have been very persuasive.

Man, it’s gloomy out there.

CUP is coming to Vancouver

Some of the best memories I have are from when I was a student journalist. That’s right before I started blogging for free I worked in the coal mine that is the university press at the Phoenix [tp] at Okanagan University College in Kelowna. I miss pretty much everything about it, including staying up late and struggling with a Powermac G3 and a pirated copy of Quark to get the paper to the printer on time. Whether it was editing an article [ep] or writing one [teotw] it was almost all a joy.

One of the best parts was the paper’s involvement with the Canadian University Press (CUP) [wp], the world’s oldest national student organization. Its yearly national conference was always a great time combining a goodly amount of learning with mind numbing quantities of booze.

This year the annual CUP conference is being hosted in Vancouver from January 18 – 27 [cup]. People from the public are allowed to go, for a price. Having seen some of the big name speakers, such as Nardwuar the Human Serviette and Dan Savage before and they’re both fun if not high on actual education value.

The workshop “Getting paid to blog” sounds very interesting, especially since Vancouver’s Darren Barefoot [db] is one of the speakers. That and the other workshops will definitely be value for the money, if you’re thinking of going.

Though I’ve spoken at past CUP conferences I promise I wasn’t invited to this one, so feel safe in knowing you won’t have to listen to me. Feeling so safe you should go.

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