August 31, 2008


During my grueling two-and-a-half hour daily commute to and from work, I spend a considerable amount of time on the SkyTrain. Since I leave my home before dawn, I don a blue fleece jacket to keep me warm as I wait for the sun to rise. The exhausting walk to the SkyTrain station leaves me drenched in sweat, and I remove the fleece from my bodice. At night on my trek home through the chilly streets, I again rely on my blue fleece to provide me with warmth as the moonlight illuminates my path. In the morning, I stand for most of the journey as there are no seats available on board the train. One day I was fortunate enough to get a seat, so I sat down, relaxed, and let the jacket slip from my hands...

When I reached my office I noticed my blue fleece jacket was no longer accompanying me. My coworkers suggested I go to the Lost Property office at Stadium SkyTrain Station, as they had successfully retrieved lost treasures from there in the past. I checked with the office and they told me that all lost items that are found by staff or good citizens are collected at the end of the day and then delivered to them the following day. Lost items are systematically logged into a database. The most popular item available on the lost and found shelves is an umbrella.

I gave a detailed description of my lost belonging, but it could not be found by the staff member on duty. I was asked to identify when and where I had last seen my jacket as well as provide a thorough description (material, size, colour, brand, etc.) of it. I tried again the next day, but the answer remained the same. My lost fleece had not been found. I checked eBay to see if it was being auctioned off to a collector of prized memorabilia, but it was not posted there either. Perhaps one day, it will return.


"Memory is not the same thing as intelligence. Some of the smartest people are the most forgetful people." -  Peter Graf, memory expert

August 10, 2008

The View From The Top

At the pinnacle of the 177 meter high Harbour Centre building is the Vancouver Lookout, containing an observation deck that gives a panoramic view of the most livable city on Earth and the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant located directly above. Completing one full revolution per hour, it made for an ideal lunch outing. For patrons of the restaurant, the elevator ride to the top is free. Although entry to the viewing platform is not included with the meal, the prices on the menu already reflect a built-in premium to compensate for the unobstructed views it affords of the city, the mountains, and the waterways that make up the region.

I shared a mozzarella stick appetizer with my friend who was accompanying me on my high altitude journey, and completed my cheesy experience with some lasagna as the main course. Through the angled windows I watched the SeaBus ply its route across the Burrard Inlet from the Vancouver Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay, while several helicopters landed and took off near the rail lines and the Port of Vancouver. As the restaurant slowly rotated the 360 degrees over 60 minutes, I saw the Simon Fraser University atop the peak of Burnaby Mountain, and then Vancouver City Hall and Vancouver General Hospital, before seeing Vancouver Island in the distance, and the downtown core from up close. I noticed someone walking around on the rooftop of my office building and I was intrigued. The tennis court on top of the Holt Renfrew building in which I had encountered Liz Hurley was also unexpected.

Powell Street Festival

August 2nd, 2008 - A celebration of Japanese Canadian culture and arts, the 32nd edition of the annual Powell Street Festival, took place at its usual home in Oppenheimer Park. It marked the 80th year of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. A stage and shopping stalls had been set up inside the park, while food was being sold on the side streets. The first performance I witnessed was by Chibi Taiko ("little kid, big drum"). Taiko are Japanese drums and this ensemble beat them with great enthusiasm. I had come to see my friend Daizo perform with the Okinawa troupe. He provided musical accompaniment to the Yuaikai Ryukyu Taiko. After watching a high tempo performance comprising of music, song, and dance, I enjoyed some wild salmon cooked in a traditional manner over a fire.

August 06, 2008

Tour de Gastown

The Tour de Gastown is the most prestigious cycling race in Canada, with former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong among its past winners. Named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, riverboat captain and saloon operator, the heritage district of Gastown boasts a variety of trendy boutiques, clubs, offices, and eateries along its cobblestone roads. The 2008 edition began soon after Gastown's signature steam clock chimed at six o'clock. The restored version of the world's first steam powered clock sprayed me with droplets of water, briefly obscuring my vision.

As onlookers watched from both sides of the street and I wiped my glasses dry, the women's cyclists took off. The laps were fast and furious on the 1.2 kilometer road course, leaving the 40,000 spectators little time to blink. I walked against the direction of the circuit to see the oncoming racers from various angles. The women's race was won by Gina Grain of Burnaby, and I left before the men's race started.

August 05, 2008

Vancouver Nightlife: Crushed

Recovering from the bitter aftermath of our argument, it was time for my friends and I to locate a suitable club for me to formally debut in. After some tight parallel parking accompanied by colour commentary from one of the occupants of the vehicle, we wandered the Granville Entertainment District in search of a club with decent music, high quality prospects, and a low cover charge. We rejected the Plaza Club and Caprice, before securing entry to Crush. My driver's license was verified and I was frisked by a burly man before I was allowed to enter the premises.

Dark, loud, and sparse, the interior was unwelcoming. Scantily clad women of diverse ethnic backgrounds gyrated in synchronized formations on the dance floor while sinister or ridiculous looking men leered from all sides. The females danced in pairs or triplets, collapsing into a single object when any predatory males neared them. The defensive schemes practiced by them far surpassed any employed by professional sports franchises.

Disappointed, my friends and I went to Denny's. I craved some cheesecake. As the hour was late, the 24 hour diner was a perfect location to wind up the night. After going over the menu it was not the cheesecake that caught my eye, but the brownie. It was rather large and I could not finish it all. When I magnanimously offered to share, my friends believed I would charge them for the privilege, but revenge is not in my nature.


Industry expert Anish infers: "Arnab doesn't need words to charm the women. His grunts are enough to fill even the most reserved of them with insatiable lust!"

August 04, 2008

Vancouver Nightlife: Clubbing with Cheapskates

My long awaited introduction to Vancouver's clubbing scene took place on a steamy summer's night. It was a Friday, so I was already downtown for work. As it takes a minimal amount of effort (if any) for me to look like a heartthrob, I had come prepared in the morning so I would not have to return home after work to change into something presentable. Sporting a dark blazer with a tight gray shirt underneath, slim fit jeans, polished shoes, and a couple of days worth of stubble, I was a morale booster in the office and a traffic stopper on the streets.

On Davie St. there were no automobiles present and a critical mass of cyclists passed through hoping to catch a glimpse of the Indo-Canadian Temptation. Since the clubbing scene does not start coalescing until near midnight, I had quite a few hours from the time I stopped working to the time I would begin clubbing. My friends who were supposed to accompany me had not made any dinner plans. Repeated suggestions were ignored and inquiries were left unanswered, so I had proceeded to have dinner with another friend at Kadoya, maker of specialty sushi, on Davie St. Just as I was finishing up my meal, I received a phone call from the girlfriend of one of the guys who would take me clubbing. She said she would pick me up and take me to Incendio, the restaurant where the rest of the guys had already started having dinner.

After I was delivered to Incendio and offered a seat at the table, my companions enticed me to share some of their leftover pizza and wine. When the waitress appeared with the bill though, they insisted on splitting it evenly amongst everyone. I objected strenuously, as I had barely touched the food. Not only that, my friends had began eating without me, I had not been present when the food was ordered, and it was not common practice to charge money for samples. They began cursing loudly, offending the parents of young children seated at nearby tables. Several times the waitresses came by to check if they could help in any way (such as by providing a calculator). When I was offered a sample of the leftovers, I had believed it was a gracious gesture, but it was not to be. I stood my ground bravely and calmly, one man against many. Possessing much more than a modicum of decorum, I remained civil and offered to pay half of what they would pay for the meal. This offer was flatly rejected and we were at an impasse. The argument had lasted many minutes. This was my final offer. A neutral observer till now, my friend's girlfriend sprung into action and offered to pay the remaining half so that my combined portion of the total cost would match theirs. With no shame and little dignity, they accepted the offer. It had gotten quite late, so we rushed off to find a club.


One of my companions suggested going to our desired club in the daytime before they began to start charging an entrance fee, getting a stamp on our hands as proof, and then returning again later at night.

Anish, an expert in the field, responded: "I suggest you regale the ladies with your strategy to get in free. Women love frugal men."

August 02, 2008

Cirque du Soleil - Corteo

Cirque du Soleil, the grandest circus act on Earth, was in town. I went to check out a show under the big top with some friends. After enjoying dinner for too long at Moxies, we rushed to the circus grounds. We were ushered into our seats inside the Grand Chapiteau just as the grandmaster was instructing everyone not to take any pictures and to turn off their phones. The large yellow and blue tent had been set up on the site of the former Vancouver Indy racing circuit in Vancouver near Science World. The flags of each country from which a Cirque performer originated in adorned the exterior, while the dimly lit interior featured a movable central stage with bleachers full of spectators on all sides. I was seated behind one of the poles that the performers used to climb to the top before indulging in daring high wire acts of whimsical fancy, but was quite close to the stage.

This particular show was called Corteo - a "celebratory procession" of a clown's funeral. The deceased clown, accompanied by angels, watches the proceedings from high above. The first and longer half of the show before the intermission was spectacular, with near perfect synchronization among the performers. A phenomenal degree of skill, dexterity, and strength was demonstrated while performers bounced from beds on rotating platforms, or spun themselves around in Cyr wheels. The second half was more toned down, featuring traditional circus items such as the trapeze. There was some interaction with the audience when a smaller-sized person (midget) attached to a hot air balloon came along and then was guided in different directions by enthusiastic pushes from members of the crowd. The two and a half hour long spectacle put on by the Circus of the Sun did not disappoint.