What an exciting day!
It all started when we were awakened by M's ancient but still
functional Psion organizer at 6:25 AM. I had set the main alarm for
6:00 PM. Whoops.
Anyway, we struggled to consciousness, gulped down Instant Breakfast,
and drove off for M's nine o'clock visa appointment. We parked in the
nicest parkade in Vancouver (beneath BCIT—it has the most
wonderfully friendly signage in Officina
Sans), and set off on foot to find the Consulate, which turned out
to be in an ugly gold-glass office building complete with a Starbucks
at the base.
I couldn't go in, of course, so M got in line, and I wandered away to
find something to amuse myself with for an indeterminate period of
time. I ended up in a small park overlooking the Burrard Inlet, with
a good view of the floating gas station, seaplanes landing and taking
off, moored freighters and tugs, and docked luxury cruise ships.
Along with a slice of Stanley Park and a glimpse of the sulfur piles.
I ended up taking a bunch of photographs, including a panorama that
features all of the above. I also took some individual photographs of
various mountain peaks, a 'plane landing, and so forth. Then I
wandered around some more, taking pictures of other random items that
looked interesting enough to be worth the trouble.
Despite what seemed like hours passing, only about forty-five minutes
had gone by before I ended up near the Consulate again. I walked by a
Herman Miller store, and
peeked in the windows. Finally I ended up back in the park between the
consulate and the Herman Miller store, where I sat and waited. (I was
hoping to get a shot of the empty concrete wasteland along with the
“No Skateboarding” sign, but wasn't able to get an angle.)
Suddenly, M appeared! She was done already, and had a sticker
telling her to come back at three o'clock that afternoon to pick up
her passport and visa. She told me about her experience (which
sounded about par with our experience at the San Francisco Passport
Agency Office (except with a lot more riding on it)), and we wandered
down to the Vancouver Pen Shop, where I picked up my neat Rotring core
pen, but discovered that my credit card had expired, when I'd never
received a new one. Luckily I had M there, and she bailed me out.
We headed down to Kimprints in Gastown, where we bought more Rabbits of the Rainbow cards (my mom wanted some).
From there we went to London
Drugs, where we inquired after the case for our Canon PowerShot S300 (they still don't have it), bought some water for much-needed
rehydration, and played with a PowerMac G4 attached to a projector.
Following a tip from the guy at the photo counter, we walked through
the mall to check another photo store (which also didn't have the
case); on the way we stopped in an IBM store to poke at various IBM
desktops and ThinkPads.
Then we walked to Granville Island, which
seems close to downtown, but is actually quite a ways away. It took
nearly half an hour just to walk across the bridge!
We had lunch at the Public Market (turkey sandwich for me;
sausage-on-a-bun for M), then checked out some of the shops. I saw a
Bill Reid book in the window of Blackberry Books that screamed
“Douglas & McIntyre”, especially with the note about it being
edited and with an introduction by Robert Bringhurst: Solitary
Raven: Selected Writings of Bill Reid. It turned out to be the
only copy, and after having someone get it from the window so we could
look at it, we ended up buying it. (Leaving aside its general
coolness—various pieces Bill Reid wrote over the years, along with
photographs of him and his work—at CN$40, it was considerably
cheaper than the US$35 cover price.)
After popping into Paper-Ya
(nothing exciting) and Mesa
(who no longer had the earrings I'd seen just before Christmas), we
headed back to downtown.
We picked up M's passport, complete with shiny new visa. I don't know
what most places use for visas, but Canada's “immigration documents”
seem to be letter-size sheets of elaborately decorated paper with
information printed on them with a dot-matrix printer (based on the
ones I've seen). The US, in contrast, puts a passport-sized,
laser-printed sticker, complete with a scanned photograph of the
holder, in the passport. Wild stuff.
Once we had the passport, we were done, and headed back to the car and
drove home to recover from the heat.
M got in touch with the movers to let them know we would be moving
sooner than later. I called Citibank to find out about my credit card—it had supposedly been “returned”. After some discussion, the
woman I spoke to arranged to have a new card sent to me by UPS so I
should have it by Friday.
Meanwhile, M has been looking into the cost of airline tickets so we
can fly down to Claremont and find someplace to live. In her search,
she came across the Airline Ticket
Consolidators and Bucket Shops FAQ, which may be of some interest
the next time you're planning a trip. Among other things, this FAQ
will tell you why Priceline is a bad risk, what the IATA is and why
it's evil (and how the airlines get around the agreement),
The IBM store I mentioned above had an 8
MB IBM-branded “Memory Key” like the ones I mentioned a couple of days ago. It turns out
that these devices are actually made by M-Systems, and are also available
in 16 and 32 MB versions (only available from Dell,
however). I might get one of these once I have a machine with some