Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

The one o’ clock cannon, as taken by a tourist at Edinburgh Castle

I’m in Princes Street Gardens right now, trying to relax. Trying. A family on the bench across from me is definitely not in happy land, cursing the daylights out of each other. The mother has a perma-scowl and curses her children for anything they do. “Don’t sit like that!” “Don’t walk around!” “Don’t make a noise!” “Why aren’t you talking to me?!” and on and on. The only time I saw her crack a smile was when the one o’clock gun blasted from the Castle, making the kids jump and hide. Such a sadist.

I must admit the blast scared me as well. In the two months I’ve been here, this was the first time I’d been near the Edinburgh Castle around one o’ clock. I’d forgotten about this tradition, thought it was a fatal car bomb, and nearly soiled my trousers.

Speaking of which, my coworker Luci and her friend Barry worked at the Edinburgh Tourist Office and said their favourite tourist question was: “Where does the cannonball land when the 1 o’ clock cannon strikes?” Right on your head, madam. Right on your head.

I watched the “Songwriter’s Circle Program” on BBC2 last night, a wonderful program showcasing four different artists and their best acoustic tunes. I swooned when I heard Nick Cave. The CBC back home should take some tips from the BBC – I swear, their music industry is only where it is because the national broadcasters take time to promote it.


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San Francisco | Another hilly street

I’m not sure what I think of this place just yet. It could have a lot to do with the lack of sleep, but I think I’m still in Portland mode and find it difficult to deal with a place where I actually have to pay attention to bus routes and crazy people.

San Fran is a real city, no doubt. The tourists are here in masses, even in off-season, and so are the crack-heads. In fact, I don’t know if I’m just being a prude, but I’ve encountered way more unsavoury areas in my short day here than in all my trips to New York. I decided to check out another hostel in the city this evening without doing research on the area, and I ended up scurrying around Cracks-ville, almost soiling my trousers trying to find a way out.

Don’t get me wrong: San Fran’s a good place. It’s got some beautiful views and I can see its appeal, but coming from Vancouver, it’s hard to make an unbiased comparison with the home that I love. In fact, everyone keeps comparing their city to Vancouver — San Fran’s like a bigger, more urban, Vancouver. Portland is like Little Vancouver. But whereas Portland kinda grabs the Vancouver in its ’80s hey-day, San Fran grabs the whole tourist factor of the new Vancouver, ups it a notch, and then grabs the crazy factor and ups that a notch as well.

I shouldn’t speak so soon. I’ve pretty much only hit Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the cable cars, and Crack-town, and my areas of choice still need to be explored… and I can’t wait. I have an open mind for the most part and need to see more.

Besides, the Chinese food I’ve had so far has been great. Go check out Chef Jia’s on Kearny and Columbus, just down the street from Larry Flynt’s. Thumbs up (to Chef Jia, not Larry Flynt, but to each his own).

Dare me to find the positive in a good day, and I will. Cheers to sesame chicken!

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