I'll tell you a little about Vancouver, a city in British Columbia, Canada, where I was lucky enough to live for more than two years.
Initially my contract suggested moving to the US in Seattle, but it turned out that the work visas in the United States for the year was only a limited amount of playing between applicants of randomly. This time fortune turned his back to me and I flew past Seattle.
Instead, it was proposed to work while in Vancouver, but if you want to go to the American work visa for the next year. I must say that both the Vancouver and to Canada as a whole, I was very skeptical attitude.
About Canada, I knew she was in the north, which means that there must be cold, especially in winter. Canadians love to play hockey and do it well, and matches between hockey these bearded men felled timber axes, talking to each other directly, in English and French languages alternately. With this baggage of stereotypes and I came here.
About Vancouver, I did not know anything except that here not long ago held the Olympics.
The first impression was also some not very encouraging - at the crossroads next to the building where I was temporarily settled, sitting not very clean and a bum begging for coins. After Korea, where three years of life with the contingent had to face a couple of times and then somewhere in the train stations, the contrast was not in favor of Canada - beggars meet here regularly.
But after a couple of months, the city won my heart. Moving to Seattle, especially after a visit to his weekend, fell off any desire.
In choosing between the United States and Canada, my choice stopped on Canada. The decision I still do not regret it, although a couple of times creeping doubt, but only when the Canadian dollar began to sink quite significantly relative to its southern namesake. But rather, it is in me said rational approach, emotionally I'm still on the side of Canada.
Vancouver beautiful city. I proceeded along its streets and wide and, although I have something to tell you about it, for the most part it will be a photo-essay.
He settled in downtown I, which is surrounded on three sides by water. Almost as in the well-known in narrow circles of the song about Vladivostok.
All these boats, scurrying this way and do not stop to please the eye, which in two years something has already had, in theory, to get used to such a spectacle.
I can not say this city is extremely interesting from the tourist point of view.
However, a few days here, definitely can be done, do not get bored.
Often accident can stumble upon something interesting.
Or something frankly ugly.
Here, unlike my stereotyping, no one spoke in French, except for tourists from France or Quebec.
Chinese here on the order of popular French.
Somewhere even it has been written that Vancouver is the most "Asian" city in North America. For authenticity I can not answer, but it seems to be true. So for lovers of exotic cuisine is paradise.
Generally it is well, very international place. Walking along the street, you can hear dozens of different languages. This city resembles New York in miniature.
Tolerance for everything here was built in the cult status. On the street you can sometimes meet such colorful characters, which in other places would be constantly staring passers by folding the neck, and there is a maximum is an easy smile. People are accustomed to, it seems, to any possible means of expression.
This is not surprising, there is always something going on. That some cosplay ...
... The zombie parade ...
... The "polar bear swim" the first of January.
People like a sense of celebration. To begin to prepare for Halloween a couple of months. Almost immediately after Halloween decorate windows for Christmas, and then Valentine's Day, and so on - all year round.
The most unexpected in Vancouver for me was the climate. In summer it is hot. Even you can swim in the sea, though not for long - the water in the Gulf still quite cold.
The strange thing is that it is warm in the winter.
The temperature rarely drops to zero. For two years I have seen in downtown snow only twice, one for each winter, but even he immediately melted, barely touching the ground.
However, the fall and winter, there is one very big disadvantage - there is a constant rain. And this is probably the main disadvantage of this city. When the outside ugly drizzle 25 days out of 30 - it's very depressing, I want to climb the wall.
Everyone is struggling this winter depressive sometimes in different ways. Someone looking for some fun under the roof, such as museums, cinemas, libraries, exhibitions, restaurants, shopping malls. And someone is going out of the city. For example, to ski. The good thing, having left only 150-200 km can be reached in a very different winter climate where snow will be enough.
They say that living in Vancouver, in the morning you can go skiing and sunbathe on the beach in the evening. And it is indeed possible in the spring when the mountains still full of snow, and the city is already the summer heat.
From an environmental point of view, there is also a full order. A huge part of the city occupies the Stanley Park.
In fact, it is just a piece of rain forest through which the web of paved trails.
Very pleasant and popular place for walking. Mostly here forget that quite a number of fairly large buzzing metropolis.
In the park you can find a huge number of different wildlife species: geese, ducks, squirrels, beavers, skunks, even, oddly enough - a turtle. But most of all I am am touched raccoons, can never pass by without taking a few pictures.
On the coast you can often see the seals, and a couple of times in the bay of the whales even swim. I think a little the city can boast such a variety of wildlife in the city.
In British Columbia, all obsessed with ecology. Around bicycles, electric vehicles, and vegetarian restaurants.
Stanley Park is not the only place where you can touch nature. For example, in North Vancouver, you can walk on the suspension bridge over the canyon. Tickets cost about $ 40, which, of course, a robbery. But it is a tourist attraction, where a huge number of people coming.
In addition, each local, fond of forest walks, knows that there is a suspension bridge is no worse, almost no people and totally free. You just need to take a bus to Lynn Valley.
Another popular place on the outskirts of the city - Grouse Mountain. Here you have two options. Either you pay $ 45 for a gondola lift.
Either you pay with their feet and stomp on an almost kilometer height of the foot by a very popular trail Grouse Grind. If you are not used to hiking or unsure of yourself, it is better not to begin. Go to constantly up with a decent slope. When I went up for the first time, I was completely unprepared for this attraction and cursed everything in the world. Now, after being carried away by hiking local mountains, it seems ridiculous. Now we take away from time to time there as an exercise.
On the trail hangs a sign warning that the forest can meet a bear. Frankly, there's a day pass so many people that I very much doubt the relevance of this warning. Although anything can happen - in the vicinity of the bears is really a lot.
Here and Grouse, on a fenced plot, two grizzly bears live. Their once saved more kids, and now it is a very popular place to make safe the photo bears.
On the mountain there is entertainment for all seasons. In summer you can see different views or dine on the restaurant's terrace. From here starts a few tracks, or as they are called trails in a wilderness. In the end, on top of a beautiful view of Vancouver.
In winter you can go ice-skating or skiing. Despite the fact that the city in the winter rain comes, at this altitude, it is replaced by snow.
Not everything, of course, Vancouver is so beautiful and rosy as we would like. There are also disadvantages. This is a very expensive city. In particular, the market price of the property for a long time has exceeded a reasonable limit. The government is trying to somehow deal with it, for example by introducing an additional tax on the purchase of real estate to non-residents, but so far no measures are not working properly, and the prices are only grow.
Compulsory insurance for the car, too, is some big money. I pay two and a half thousand a year, and it's almost the most basic minimum, which is only possible.
More there are many homeless people who often sleep on the downtown streets. Especially, most of them focusing on the infamous street in Vancouver East Hastings, where wealthier people tend not to go. Here all some sort of a separate peace with the very muddy and sometimes abnormal characters. Basically, if you pass on it's okay with you does not happen, but you'll see a lot of not very nice scenes from the life of drug addicts, and half-mad.
By the way, to marijuana in Vancouver are very calm. Officially, it has not yet been legalized, but all this goes, and really none of its smoke will not be fined. From time to time supporters of legalization even arrange a sale right in the center of the city and next to the police on duty, and there are ambulances. But about this I somehow write separately.
In general, despite the small flaws, Vancouver surprisingly pleasant city to live. People here mostly trying to lead a healthy and active lifestyle that sets the tone for the other less active people, often forcing out of the house.
In general, come - you will like it. Just not in the winter, and then blot.