Sunday, 25 June 2017

A weekend getaway (North Vancouver to Abbotsford by bike)

2 weeks later.  Time to publish this thing even though it might not be complete ;-)

I'm heading out of town today.

The first part, from King George to the eastern parts of Surrey is very pleasant riding.  An asphalt parkway below the power lines. Empty and devoid of cars.  This path crosses oodles of cross streets with little traffic.
This picture is actually from the May 2015 ride
 Unfortunately the particular curb they built at the edge of the roads is designed so poorly that after going over them with moderate speed I have to check every time whether my saddle bags are still attached to the bike.

The part from Golden Ears Way to a bit before Fort Langley brings a dirty and loud ride along a suburban industrial area. No proper cycling path, so I ride on the road.  The the great enjoyment of all those Diesel Pick-up trucks and 18-wheelers scenting the air with their emissions.

East of Fort Langley, the route follows quiet River Road into agricultural land. Congrats to Google Maps to then divert me over a gravel road over a dyke and through the fields.  
The dyke road in May 2015
All good until I hit THE HILL.  I have enough battery power to get me up there, but at the top I notice that something is WRONG.  I feel like I'm going to faint.  I drink the last of the water in my small bottle and come to the conclusion that if I'm going to keep going at the present speed with no additional water I will most likely suffer a heat stroke.  Great. Old Age is not all it's made out to be !

After diverting to the Bradner General Store run by a lovely and chatty Asian woman to refresh my liquid supplies and stopping in the shade whenever I see any to get out of the burning sun, I'm glad the remaining kilometers are limited ;-)

I've stayed in this hotel before, in May 2015.  WHY would anyone travel voluntarily to Abbotsford? In May 2015 the reason was a Pow Wow in Mission

No Pow Wow this time. This time I'm meeting Zulema, my travel companion in Cambodia in January and Spain last June.

Coincidentally, EXACTLY one year ago, this Basque Cop tried to give us a ticket for not wearing bicycle helmets, LOL.

So this is why I came to the BC bible belt. 

But I digress.  But it's so tempting if a blog allows instant access to dated memories ;-)

I don't even have Friday dinner but pass out from exhaustion.
Saturday.  There are NO pictures.   I'm meeting Zu.  She changed her Johnny Cash look for something MuCH Brighter.  GOOD, LOL.  Lunch is great but Zu has to tend to her family again.  Me?  I'm riding my bike...  To where?  EVERYWHERE, LOL


I wake up at 2:30, at 7:30 (I briefly think about making coffee), and at 9:20. OMG, Check out is near !


Record breaking temperatures persist.  My arms and face have darkened to an unbelievable spray-tan-like shade in the last 2 days.  Riding is strenuous in this heat.  So strenuous that I need to take a break after only one hour. 


 I've been looking for a restaurant for at least 5 km now, so when I spot the first one in a mini-mall surrounding an ugly Safeway building, there is no hesitation.  And Lo-and-behold;  Benkey Sushi in Aldergrove is rated 5/5 on Tripadvisor.  Personally I'd give it a 4.5/5.  Great presentation, Great service. Very good (a touch less than Great ;-) food, and excellent value.  

Only 35 km left until King George Station.

I deviate from the suggested Google Maps route because it leads right through the centre of Langley. NO NO, there is a red traffic light every 100 meters.  NOT the thing you want when you're free-wheeling on a bike.


Juice is running low again.  Not in the battery (I have a spare) but in me.  I have a CRAVING for something cold and a chocolate cake.  Oh Look, there is a Ricky's Country Restaurant ;-)
I'm not actually sure where I am.  I thought this would be Langley, but Tripadvisor lists the adresss of this restaurant as Surrey already.
I order a Mt Baker Fudge described as a chocolate cake with ice-cream in the centre but I'm disappointed.  It's one of those cheap chocolate sponge cakes.
 My craving had been for dense and intense chocolate deliciousness, NOT for sponge cake. Ah Well, it will have to do the job until the next stop.

Only 15 km left until King George Station !

A quick aside:

Yes, that is a Blue Shark at a populated bathing beach in Mallorca, Spain.

The person who took this picture says that he NEVER saw a beach clear this quickly, LOL.  People were terrified, the shark was captured and killed.

Only 6 people die annually worldwide by shark attack.

49 die by lightning strike per year in the US alone.
Scorpions kill 3250 humans per year.
Snake bites score at 94,000 dead humans per year.
Malaria after a mosquito bite kills 635,000 people PER YEAR.

So WHY did they kill that shark?   You should have guessed it:  Public Relations ! Only because everyone is afraid of a shark.  Sad reason to die, isn't it?

Back to the trip.

Eating the chocolate cake leaves me gasping for air.  WTF?  Old age, food quality, or air quality?

When I get back to my hotel and notice that neither I nor my camera can see individual trees on the mountains that are only about 2 kms away, I feel confirmed that the atrocious air quality has something to do with my weak state.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

An apocalyptic month of Gulag in pictures

A B&B high up the mountain. With a view of CONCRETE.  People pay A LOT for a view of concrete, LOL.

The reason you can see downtown is that it poured last night, which washed the dirt out of the air

Grandma's lawn hadn't been mowed yet this year ;-(

Did someone point out to Canada, which uses its slaughtered youth of two world wars to brainwash its citizens into dreams of glory with the image of poppies, that the choice of flower itself suggests a surreal illusion associated with an opium pipe?

Another Sunny Day (TM) in Vancouver

A temporary home in the B&B

Kookum's son (George's uncle) Brown dies and I'm house-sitting a psychologically deranged (I mean it !) kitten for a week.

Now that it's no longer raining, Vancouver can exhibit another one of its great blessings:  Visible Air.

Also known as car exhaust mixed with other pollutants

There are moments of unexpected beauty:  A fallen poppy petal covered in rain drops, but moments of beauty in Vancouver last about as long as this view

When the air you are looking through obscures the outlines of buildings only about 1 km away, you know there is something wrong.
But isn't it a great thing that cigarette smoking is banned in public parks in this filthy city?

I'm eating at a Viet restaurant on Kingsway and I get a pre-taste of things to come soon.  The daughter of the owner is chatty and the owner and cook actually cares whether I like his Bun Cha ;-)  

Thinking about the reaction of that older Vietnamese man leads my thoughts into a surprising direction:

You know those instances when a waitress in a regular restaurant asks you 3 times how the food is? They're just hoping for a bigger tip. They don't really care.  You're just participating in a well-rehearsed play.  Illusion. Waste of your life.  Go to a restaurant where the cook is the owner and the daughter is the waitress and the illusion vanishes in a second and life becomes real again.   Not a big deal but just a tiny example of how Western society engages in a meaningless dance ritual that only imitates real life.  People perform this dance ritual because everyone else does.  But deep down quite a few people have this particular feeling that tells them in no uncertain terms that their daily ritual is nonsense.  That 'particular feeling' is called depression.

But reality is still out there.  And I'm going to rejoin it in less than two weeks ;-)

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Picture a shit-house without fucking drains. Picture a leader without fucking brains.

Yes, that was the F word in the title.  Boohoo.  Turn off the TV !

And I didn't write the title line.  Roger Waters did.

Yes, THAT Roger Waters.

Take 10 minutes (9 actually) and LISTEN WELL to Waters reading his poem (just click on the title below):

Is this the life we really want?