15 September 2015 (still later the same day)
About the hotel thing. I searched Expedia and found a hotel in my price range, which is ‘destitute to poor’. Maybe I should mention that even with the 20% currency discount, Canada is expensive. More on that as I gather information. I landed on the Hotel Patricia at 403 E. Hastings St. The building was completed in 1913, and I believe the elevator was completed in the 1970’s. The hotel is on the edge of the historic Chinatown, although to my eye the entire city is Chinatown, and if you call a business or public facility in the area, you’ll get English and Chinese answers. The hotel is also on the edge of the current Homeless District.
The room was C$68 per night, and was what realtors call ‘charming’. I got Room 420, which is oh-so-appropriate for British Columbia:
That’s the entire room. At least they didn’t have fire-hazard level of plugs in a socket like a room I stayed in last year. There’s also a bathroom, sort of:
The view out the window is not to be missed:
And in case you lack a sense of urgency during a fire, nothing gets you going like the double exclamation mark.
The Hotel Patricia is old. However, the owners keep it in good repair, are helpful, and have an interesting display of old tech in the lobby, including a telephone switchboard. In keeping with that theme, you’re issued a key for your room, and they still have the mail slot system of distributing mail. I cannot remember that last time I got an actual key for a hotel room. It must be 20 years or more. I don’t know if the room key is part of a theme, or the owners are too cheap to spring for a card key system. I suspect the latter. The hotel is charming in its way, but the neighborhood leaves something to be desired.
Pro tip: if you ever find yourself here, and the elevator is on a floor above, hit the DOWN button; otherwise you’ll be there all day.
Sci-Fi author William Gibson is rumored to make his home in Vancouver, and during my stay I got an inkling of where he gets his material for dystopian novels. Vancouver is 40% Asian, which is fine. Asian culture values achievement, and it keeps the White folks on their toes. But I discovered that after dark, E. Hastings St. is home to a bizarre bazaar of homeless selling their wares on the street. I wouldn’t care to say how much is stolen, but when you see a guy unloading cuts of meat, you get an idea. For about four blocks it’s a regular souk. I walked through this on my way to the Gaslight district, and I’ve never seen anything like it. The local cop shop is one street away, but they seem to turn a blind eye. Honestly, these folks aren’t hurting anyone (except depriving government of revenue), and they’re less aggressive than homeless in, say, Portland. East Hastings seems to where Vancouver’s homeless gather after hours.
I walked through the Gaslight District, and it appears the same as similar areas in Portland, Seattle, Honolulu, Raleigh, St. Petersburg, or anywhere young people with money congregate. I stopped in a bar called the Blarney Stone, which seemed to specialize in Guinness Stout. Not in the mood for that, I ordered something else, and the bartender seemed disappointed. Turned out they didn’t even have Harp’s on tap. What the hell?
Day Two of vacation was long, but in good way.