For some time I’ve been hatching a plan to spend a couple of days at the Jericho Beach Hostel in Vancouver. It has fascinated me in that it is not where one would think a typical hostel should be, which is in the centre of all the action. Nope this one is out at Jericho Beach on the way to UBC, the location is quintessentially West Coast – a stone throw from the Jericho Sailing Club, miles of pristine beach, 10 minute walk to the Pacific Spirit Regional Park (which is miles of unspoiled forest). But the nearest thing to a bar for miles is the restaurant at the sailing club, which closes at 9:30. So if I was curious, I thought others might be too, ergo, the plan to experience what it would be like to be a tourist staying here and sharing it with you.
Of course I wanted it to be “authentic”, so this morning I traipsed out to the airport on the skytrain. I almost threw myself at an airline clerk, any would do and beg to be put on a plane… any would do. But I recovered and went off to Starbucks to shore up my resolve to get back on the skytrain to face the hell that is public transit. I ended up sitting for almost an hour chatting to this lovely British couple who were returning home from visiting with their son and grandchild in Nanaimo. So charming… I almost didn’t mind that my transfer back was expired and I had to cough up $7.75 to get back to town!
The hostel website told me all I needed to do was take the skytrain to Granville St, get on the #4 bus which would take me right to West 4 and Marine Drive and then a short walk down the hill. Simple? Not when dealing with public transit. I got on the #4 and once we got past the demonstation blocking traffic, the driver announces he’s not going to go down 4th (????) that I should get off and get on the #7… he tells me to get off on MacDonald and catch the #2 or #22 and that will take me right to the beach…. of course it would have been the wrong beach but heh! Standing at the stop I started getting concerned so I called transit infomation who told me to get back on #4 on West 4. This all happened when we were all speaking the same language. I shudder to think what happens to visitors who don’t speak English, some are probably lost for months before finally finding their way back to the airport, totally missing out on their vacations. 3 hours later I roll up to the hostel.
Interesting fact: the hostels (at least in Vancouver) have a rule against renting to locals, just to make sure the line isn’t blurred between hostels and shelters. That did give me pause. But since I was writing a post about them (they assumed it would be positive) they would make an exception. Oh goody, cause really, did I want to get back on another bus right then? No freaking way, I’d be calling my good buddy Dawn, who thinks I ‘m nuts for doing this anyway.
So I am staying in Cypres dorm, bed 12. First time for a dorm. They are cut up into 3 sections with 2 sets of bunks each. No curtains. No reading lights. But I do have a large lockable closet and clean sheets. And a killer view. We’ll see if this is the last dorm I will stay in.
Went for a wonderful salmon burger and glass of wine at the Jericho Sailing Club, yummy. 2 hour walk down the beach, one of the most beautiful in the world in my opinion. It’s like being in a different world from where I live in English Bay where there are so many people you can barely move. Here there are lots of people but more families and groups playing volley ball and having barbecues, there’s so much space that it doesn’t fee congested. And it’s wild and tame at the same time. You look at the beach and there’s driftwood that gets tossed up every tide but then you look away from the beach and there are mowed fields of grass with shrubs and trees. You look up and are at the edge of the Endowment lands. Pretty darn cool. I’ve been before and I often work down there but somehow staying down here makes it different.
It’s kind of weird here though, there’s no real place to hang out and connect with people. Hahaha I just read that last bit, like I would do that anyway. There is certainly a variety of people here. The typical young back packers driven and molded by hormones. I am currently sitting on the couch by the front desk listening to them coming up to the staff asking them where they should go downtown to get drunk and meet women/men. I do wonder why they didn’t just stay downtown, but heh, whatever. There is a group of young teens and their chaperones, I think some sports group or something. Couple of families. Older folk. Quite a range I must say. This perch is quickly becoming my fav place to observe the goings-ons. Though if I have to listen much more to the young aussie bragging about his drinking experiences with tequila, I may have to relocate.
So stay tuned and see what shenanigans I get up to tomorrow. I’m living on the edge now folks!