Vancouver, BC, is breathtakingly beautiful. There is harmony among its historic and modern buildings, open parks, and scenic waterfronts. Wherever I looked, I had that ‘ah’ experience, wanting to stop mid-avenue to photograph some vista or street canyon. Its public transit system is inexpensive and convenient.
On the bus to the Vancouver Aquarium, my friend and I received a soliloquy from a Chief Dan George lookalike possessed of murderous obsession for lawyers, the metier from which we are both in recovery. We listened with increasing alarm to his muttered imprecations. In fact, he made a good point or two while reciting his catechism of loathing for the legal tribe. However, I was relieved when we parted, he still ranting and we off to visit the captive cetaceans, sea otter, and jellies. The aquarium’s display of jellyfish is particularly well done and I found myself staring at them in a kind of doper’s trance, still stunned by our narrow escape.
The Vancouver Art Museum’s Emily Carr collection is impressive and moving. Carr, a native of Victoria, captured the silent wonder of the dark forests of British Columbia and the mystery of the then already devastated native peoples. Her independent life is a beacon to any aspiring artist. I wish I’d known her sooner.
We concluded our visit by taking in a live show by Los Angeles talk show host George Noory at the Hard Rock Casino. With its booze, sleaze, and incessant noise, the casino was an alarming place. It felt like a people-aquarium displaying the addicted flotsam of our materialistic society. Wading across the gambling floor seemed voyeuristic. Noory crooned and interviewed a ufologist, a spiritualist, and an ice-age evangelist while sipping Jack Daniels whiskey. His guests took questions from the audience, the latter providing the real show.
On the train back, I felt sympathy for the hapless flying saucer invaders who’ve crossed oceans of time only to conquer a deep frozen world inhabited by alcoholics. Poltergeists, malign spirits, lawyers, and zombie gamblers will greet the inter-terrestrial visitors, welcoming them to the frozen wastes of Miami Beach, Las Vegas, and Honolulu. Our prophet on the bus was right, the world is going to hell. I blame the lawyers.