Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4/20 Vancouver - the smoke wafts in

It's 8.35 p.m. and right now, in the Rogers Arena, that band of four of the best musicians in the world are coming on stage to back up the magnificent Macca music machine. Three hours of pure delight awaits those lucky 19,000 people. And I am glad to be here, in Bruce's aerie, not there, even though I am surrounded by thousands of people too. Outside, on the beach.

It's the pot festival in Vancouver, 4/20, as it's called, a celebration and protest that's illegal, right now, though the government of Canada has just announced pot will be legal by next year. But in any case, the police ignore the illegality. The event has been going on for years, but this year the venue was changed to Sunset Beach, just down from Bruce's. When I walked to the little ferry this morning, already there were hundreds of people - and scores of little stalls selling various kinds of dope in little bags and in cookies, brownies, candies, everything - plus assorted paraphernalia and tie-dye t-shirts. Every kid seemed to have dreads and tattoos and piercings and large holes in their ears and ripped jeans. It looked just like Woodstock, only with legal pot advertised and openly sold in stalls, like a craft fair, and with loud rap music. I thought, Capitalism is alive and well! This started as an event to protest the pot laws and has ended up as a shopping mall.
The view from the ferry - all those umbrellas are little pot shops. Buy your Kush here! The ferry driver told me the police had concerns the drivers would be impaired by all the smoke. He laughed.

This evening I walked back through it - it was officially over at 7 so many were drifting away, leaving giant piles of garbage behind. But still, it was amazing to see hoards of very stoned kids, lying on the grass, gazing blankly around, eating - many cases of the munchies. Took me back. Did not want to be taken back, not to those particular times. But they all looked happy. It was a stunning day - 24 degrees, like July.

But as my friend David Diamond points out on FB, we should not be saying, What a beautiful day. We should be saying, it should not be 24 degrees in mid-April. It was truly weird, the downtown beaches jammed, the sun burning. In April.

I had lunch with dear friend Tara and her friend Perri, outside in Tara's garden surrounded by bluebells and birds at her feeders. Then Chris came to get me in his new car. Yes, in the middle of his nervous breakdown which is fast fading, he decided he does not want to deal with crowds and city sidewalks and the way to avoid that is in a car. So he simply went out and bought one - a red Fiat convertible. And there it was, like a gorgeous little cherry, waiting for me.
Wind in our hair, we drove out to Spanish Banks and had a fantastic walk along the water.
Can you see the city in the distance? What a setting.

Tonight Chris and I met for dinner on Davie St. one last time, his favourite Indonesian restaurant. I teased him that for months before I came, he was madly cooking recipes from Ottolenghi, also my favourite chef, and promising me home-made goodies - and that as soon as I arrived, he stopped cooking. Almost - I did have some delicious treats including a lemon meringue tart I will never forget. Chris is so much better, far more relaxed, able to talk almost normally most of the time. On the mend. A cherry red Fiat convertible will certainly help.

And I'm on the road early tomorrow - to Banff. See you there.

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