I took two of my kids and wife up to Canada for the last day of the Pacific Northwest Exhibition, a fair that they have in Vancouver BC once a year at the end of summer. It used to be not so heavily commercialized with a lot of fun stuff, lumberjack contests, etc.
I have to tell you I love going up to Canada but hate coming back. Even if the border is busy, the Canadian border guard officers are always courteous and professional. They’ll collect the information they need but they do it in a courteous manner.
The US border guards by contrast are the most arrogant impolite unprofessional bastards you could hope to encounter. Well that’s not entirely fair, maybe 1-in-10 are actually polite. The prick I got stuck with tonight sure was not. It really burns me that the officers of a foreign country, where I don’t have any legitimate right to enter but am allowed to, are much nicer than those of my own country. I was born in the US and I have just as much right to be here as those guards, but they’ve got an attitude like, “we’re God and you’re dirt”.
Our border guards should be able to collect the information they need in a polite courteous respectful manner like the Canadian guards. There is no legitimate excuse for government employees (OUR employees) to treat us like they do.
This whole increased border security, where they’re going to require a passport next year, is just a bunch of crap too. There is no way this will be effective at keeping terrorists out, almost all of them that participated in the 9/11 attack had legal visas. And if you want to get something in you can run a boat down the coast, hike or take logging roads across the border, ship stuff, fly a drone over the border, etc. It’s not like you can’t buy explosives and other supplies to cause massive death and destruction right here in the US.
All this increased security is doing is costing US taxpayers more dollars and inconveniencing them more. It is not providing any real security benefits that can’t be very easily thwarted.
The PNE has become quite commercialized over the years and now closely resembles a super-sized Puyallup except far less anal. Here in the states, all of the animals have signs, do not touch, bites, etc, because the owners are afraid of being sued.
Up there, if you’re stupid enough to allow a horse to nibble on your fingers, too bad. They’re not going to stop you.
Click on this image to get a larger version. I had hoped it would give some idea of the scale of the event but for some reason Blogger is really reducing the resolution.
There was this crazy comedian / juggler that juggled fire, and abused volunteers from the audience heavily. This one lady volunteer, she was slow beyond belief, at least a five second delay between stimulus and response. He was trying to setup a deal where three volunteers juggled with him simultaneously but she was just too slow. He’d tell her to catch something with her right hand, she’d catch it with her left, at which point he says, “No, You’re other right.” It was all in good fun though.
But an unexpected highlight was an outdoor concert at the amphitheatre. I heard a band playing a second I didn’t recognize, or like, but then the voice sounded familiar. Is it? Yes, I can see that it IS Rod Stewart. And that first song turned out to be the only one I didn’t like.
I have to tell you this was an experience because I was expecting a rather sedate performance. For a guy of 61, he is quite the athlete. And the interaction with the audience is phenomenal. His songs on studio recordings sound rather low key and sedate, not so when he’s got an audience to work with.
And he really loves to cart the microphone stand around, swing it around, do anything with it except use it to hold the microphone. Actually the microphone IS in the stand, it’s a wireless variety and he carts the microphone with stand all over the stage and below the stage into the audience.
One of the girls he brought up was this elderly woman. He got her dancing, showered her with attention, and you could see on her face she was loving every second of it. I thought it was so cool of him to do that for her. And it was obvious he enjoyed it as well.
In fact the whole act, which lasted approximately 1-1/2 hours and was entirely free save for the admission fee to the fair ($15 Canadian per person). He was incredibly interactive for the entire act and really seemed to get into it. Not at all what I would have expected based upon his studio recordings, and not at all what I would have expected for a man sixtyone years old. He is still incredibly athletic and limber and very entertaining. I have a lot more photos and I’ll post more in the future after I have time to process them and figure out why Blogger is mangling them.
This is a shot of North Vancouver taken from an outside elevated patio at the Red Robin there on Oak and Broadway. One cool aspect of this photo is that I managed to get this hand held, I didn’t have a tripod steady. It took a couple of attempts to get the exposure reasonable and a couple more to do so without any camera shake, this was a 1 second exposure.
Anyway, got a bunch more and will post more in the near future. But need to do some processing and sorting first.