A lot can happen in 24 hours

I finished the last blog right as the Vancouver library was closing at 21:00. And even in a much-improved dorm, I still didn't fancy spending more time at the hostel that I had to. So decided to make this a night to see Crank: High Voltage. Where the entrance into this movie at the Scotiabank theatre was some $4 more than I was paying for a nights accomodation at my hostel. Which should tell you something.

All I'll say about this, is that if you saw and liked the first Crank, then you'll like this. Imagine the first Crank drunk a Red Bull, and this is what you have here. Though make sure you see the first Crank before this, because a lot of the better humour is in reference to events in the first film.

And you heard it here first: There was a trailer for a film called 'The Hangover' that's coming out this Summer. Looked fucking awesome! In the same mould as Old School. You heard it here first! That film will be big.

After which it was back to the hostel for my first semi-decent nights sleep in a week. No druggies walking in and out all night. And turning the lights on. It was something of a luxury. Had it been like this for the whole 7 nights, then it might not have quite been the worst hostel I've ever stayed in.

And then in the morning, after purchasing my ticket to Victoria at Pacific Central Station, I head to the library to use some Internet. Although of course, just like the previous night, it was down. Fucking Canada.

So after about an hour of clicking refresh, I got bored. I needed somewhere else I could get free Internet. And just like the day earlier, my solution lay in the HI hostel on Granville Street. I still had the Internet Key saved on my laptop from when I was in Vancouver in November. So all I had to do, was make it by the front desk and into the hostel, and I was golden. And God was smiling upon me on this day, because just as I walk in the door, the elevator opens, so I dart in there, barely seen. And that takes me to the first floor, bypassing the security door. Genius!

And man... sat in my comfy armchair in the common area, I was sat here for about 2 hours. Because after doing the stuff that I needed to do, with this strong connection that I was very possibly obtaining illegally, I found a pirate stream of the Chelsea - Everton game. So I watched the second half of that in this hostel as well.

I love this place. If only I could afford to actually stay here, rather than just wondering in off the street everyday to use the facilities.

And some of the stuff I needed Internet for, was to reseach into Vancouver and Victoria. Draw comparisons of the two. And having been unemployed for a week and got nowhere, I needed decisive action. So I said to myself, that if things do turn to shit in Victoria, and I come back to Van, then job or not, I'm settling down here. That way I can at least get an appartment and a gym etc. And start rebuilding the remnance of a normal life again. A job would turn up eventually you would hope. I just needed some decisive action. So if I was back in Van after an unsuccessful week in Victoria, then that would be where I was staying.

Which gave me nothing more of importance to do for the rest of the day. So I caught the bus down to UBC so I could sit naked on the beach.

Wreck Beach clothing optional sign Now I was impressed. It's nearly 4 years since my last and only visit to UBC. And the naked beach is pretty well hidden. Yet I could still remember where it was. Figure that. I won't remember your name 3 seconds after you tell it to me. But I can remember a naked beach for nearly 4 years.

Unfortunately though, it wasn't quite how I remembered it. Last time I came here on one of the hottest days of the year. And it was just the naked student capital of the world. This time there was only one other naked guy on the whole beach. And it was pretty chilly in the wind. And it's just not the same being naked when you aren't in good shape. You just kind of lay there... And then people walk by... So you're like "Yeah... ... this is my cock..." Where as when you're all toned up, you're like "Yeah... this is my cock... And you're much fatter than me." I mean there's a big difference there. But having been void of exercise since my knee injury. And having been living on shit; particularly in this last week in Vancouver, then it just wasn't the same. Still fun. But probably not worth the half-hour bus journey to get there.

On the plus side, with no hot naked student chics there, I could take my camera out and get some photos of the beach without people thinking that I was a perv. And last time, probably distracted by all the hot naked student chics, I failed to appreciate, that it's actually quite a nice beach in its own right. Regardless of the nakedness.

Wreck Beach, Vancouver After an hour of laying there with things blowing about in the wind though, it almost got too cold to be naked. And it's not often I'll say that. So I got unnakeded and headed back up the many steps that lead to the beach and decided to have a quick look around campus. And man... this would be an awesome place to come to uni! Don't get me wrong. Hull was awesome. And I don't know that the nightlife from Hull will be matched anywhere... ever. But this university was like a small town. It had everything. Open air swimming pool. McDonalds. Naked beach. It has everything you could want from a university. Wouldn't have been a bad place to study is all I'm saying.

After which I headed back to town. And that was pretty much my last day in Vancouver, done. I accidentally fell asleep back at the hostel after this. Probably something to do with sharing a dorm with a bunch of retard druggies for 5 days. And apart from a brief awakening to get some pizza, I slept the whole night through. Waking up with the time to unpack and repack everything that I own, before catching the Skytrain to Pacific Central Station. Not buying a ticket of course. Because, well why would you? I'm foreign carrying a big backpack. I can blag my way out of that. But there were some Skytrain employees standing right there as I got off the train. So perhaps I was lucky not to get clocked on this occasion (one of many), before getting at the station, what I think was my 3rd McDonalds in the space of 24 hours. This is the problem I've had in Vancouver. Can't make my own food, because the hostel's full of druggies. So I've been eating out every meal. And when you want cheap, quick, food, where do you go? Pizza, McDonalds, Burger King, Quiznos... That has been my diet for the past 7 days. So one thing I'm not going to miss about Vancouver.

BC Ferries trip Now I said that in 2005, the trip to Victoria was a trip worth taking just for the trip itself. And it didn't disappoint this time either. I swear to Christ, there is only ever blue skies in Victoria. Because every time I've ever been here, it's been glorious. And I spent the whole 1½ hour ish boat journey part of the trip, up on deck. If you're ever in Vancouver and have nothing to do for the day, then jump on a boat to Victoria. Well worth the $40 ish one-way fare you'll pay!

And pulling into the bus station, this was all familiar to me. I'd taken a glance at a map to the hostel before the bus pulled in. But in all honesty, I think I could just about remember Victoria well enough to get around.

And the hostel... Well I think my expectations for the hostel were maybe a little too high. Last time I was here, it was the perfect hostel. Everything about it from the people to the facilities, was exactly as you'd want it to be. Now don't get me wrong. The staff were pretty friendly this time. The people in my co-ed dorm seem cool enough (even if they are all guys. And one of them's ginger). But it's just lacking that real spunk that it had last time. The staff are friendly, but that's all they are. They're just friendly. They aren't your best friend this time. The guys in the dorm all seem cool. But it's still 6 guys living in a very enlosed space. It could do with a couple of chics in here to level things out.

BC Ferries trip So my God... after staying in my druggy hostel in Vancouver, a dog kennel would be luxury. And this place still ranks up as one of the best hostels I've ever stayed in. My God it's clean. It's fucking spotless. And everyone seems cool enough. It's just that last time, it was amazing. Couldn't have had a dorm with a better balance of people. There were no ugly girls last time. They were all hot. There were no ginger people. It was perfect. And the staff this time around just don't have that almost overwhelming friendliness. Still, on this stay alone it's one of my favourite hostels. But it's just not... perfect.

Once I was all checked in, I decided to head out and have a look around Victoria. I may have just arrived, but this was no holiday. I needed to scope out the city. See what the prospects of living here, finding work here, were like. And at this stage, I was still very much in the mindframe, that I may well be moving back to Vancouver next week.

And I had a walk around. Looking down the high-street. Keeping an eye out for "Help wanted" signs to give myself any clue of the likelihood of work around here. And by the time I'd walked for probably 15 or 20 minutes, down various roads, I came to the waterfront, and sat on a wall here for 10 minutes to think. And I think I knew, even at this stage, that I was going to be staying in Victoria. There isn't work here jumping out at you. We are in a recession afterall. But there is work here if you're willing to put the time in to get it. And as I've said before, and as what happened in Vancouver in '05, the first 2 weeks will always be shit. You'll be handing out resumes by the butt-load. Not getting call-backs. Getting dejected. And just as you're about to give up, the phone rings with an interview or a job offer. That's just the way it goes. It's like a part of the game. You have to go through a shit 2 weeks, before things pick up. And this is how I was seeing Victoria: An awesome place to live. Much, much cleaner than Vancouver. Less hobos and bluer skies. But at the same time, no job was going to search me out. I was going to have to work to earn the privilege of living here. That was how I was seeing it. And that was a commitment I was willing to make. And at this point already, I knew that I was staying in victoria.

Empress Hotel, Victoria I made a trip to the supermarket later on. Fuck knows I've missed being able to cook for myself and eat well over the past week. And not only is there a clean kitchen here. But we also have a fridge-freezer in our dorm. So I don't have to worry about leaving my food in the common area. So not only last night, but this morning as well, I cooked. For myself. I never thought I'd be happy to do that. But damn. After a week of McDonalds for breakfast. Burger King for brunch. Quiznos for lunch. Pizza for dinner. Subway for dinner 2. Or some variation of that combination, to just cook for myself... was nice. To know what was in the food I was eating.

So confident was I in fact, that I would be staying on in Victoria, that I went onto the Rogers website last night to change my cell phone number to a Victoria number. So I wouldn't be handing out resumes with a Vancouver number on, and be stuck paying long-distance rates for every call that I make. Fucking Canada. But alas, despite telling me that my number was changed, as is customary with Rogers, their website lies to you. They hadn't changed shit. So it's lucky that I checked that before I started distributing what the Rogers website was telling me was my new number. Though it actually wasn't.

In my first night in a dorm where it was actually quiet for a week. Where people were actually considerate, I didn't do any 'I'm in Victoria partying.' Even my second dorm in Vancouver you could hear the druggies through the door. So I made the most of having a quiet place to sleep for once. And like I said, this is no holiday. I'd made a list of things I needed to get done today. To get myself on track and get the job hunt going. Now I know that I'm staying in Victoria, I can start making progress. I can start looking for an appartment apart from anything else. Although that will be secondary to the job hunt. I anticipate being in this hostel for at least 2 weeks. So it's lucky I'm happy with it. Even if its not yet reaching the great heights that it did last time.

Victoria Legislative Building Well first thing on my list today, was to call Rogers and have them change my number. The website obviously wasn't working, despite what it said. You'd think I'd have learnt my lesson after trying to get my phone activated on the Rogers website. Another thing that they fucked up. And even phoning them isn't an easy task. They don't tell you until well into the process of changing your number, that you can't make that call, from your cell phone. So I had to use a payphone. And then after going through the checks by the person who answered the phone, you then get transferred to someone else, who asks you the exact same questions. I shit you not that the first person said "You don't seem to have an email account registered with us. Would you like to do that now?" So you do that. So you'd assume that you now have an email account registered. Well apparently not, because the next person will ask you the exact same thing. How can a company this big, be this fucking retarded? I fucking hate Rogers! Fucking Canada.

But after a long, long, process, I finally got it done. Well next on my list, was I needed to look the part. It's a recession afterall, so it's an employers market. They can afford to be picky. So if I rock up in jeans and trainers to hand in my resume; well I'm not sure that will get me too far. You know one of the main problems with Canada though? They don't have Primark. So where the Hell are you supposed to get your clothes at a reasonable price?

I'm at the point, with the stuff that I have, that my bag is full. I have no space in my backpack. So it's a case of if I buy something, then I have to throw something out. And walking around town, it was looking like I'd have to pay a lot, to get a basic black pants, dress shirt, and shoes. In the hundreds. And stuff that I may well throw out when I leave. So I wasn't so happy about this. It's stuff that I needed to make myself employable. But if I spend a weeks pay just to get the job, does it make me that much more employable? So I headed back to the hostel.

This might be wholly unintentional, but one big advantage about staying in a hostel over staying in an appartment, is that you have a support structure here. More often than not, you're sharing a dorm with a person or people who're going through or have been through, the same as you. And in any good hostel, the person on the front desk will have a backwards knowledge of the area. No different here. With the exception of the ginger, the other 4 people in my dorm are either looking for work, or have recently found work. So you have people you can talk to and bounce ideas off. You help each other out. But on this occasion, I needed to pick the brains of the girl on the front desk. Where can I get nice clothes, cheap?

Man, I never would have found it without her. It's in Chinatown afterall. But she pointed me in the direction of Value Village, which, as of today, is possibly my favourite store ever. Just imagine TK Maxx if you're in the UK. Or Winners in Canada. Cheap clothes, not really organised in any way. Just racks of dirt cheap clothing. Now imagine that, with second-hand stuff. Well this is what this place was. As big as any TK Maxx or Winners I've ever been to. But 2nd hand. I picked up dress-pants, a dress shirt, and a n-i-i-i-i-ice pair of black shoes, for just over $30. About £15-£20. Possibly the greatest shop in the world. And with that, I had the look I needed to search for a job.

Well almost. As I've said before, I'm growing my hair out now. Because apart from anything else, I think I might slowly be losing my hair. So if I ever want to have long hair, then it's got to be soon. But my hair doesn't seem to grow like a normal persons anymore. It doesn't grow straight. Or down. It just grows out. My head remains round, as my hair just grows out. But it just gets bigger and bigger. Imagine a black man growing an afro, but with a white mans hair. So all stringy and fluffy, rather than fuzzy. Well that's what I have. And I've already got over 5 months of growth since I last cut it. So I'm not sure how employable this makes me...

And I did have 'Get haircut', on my list for today. But I didn't get around to it. I don't want a haircut. So maybe I'll just buy some kind of product to put in it, to calm it down whilst I look for a job. Because right now, I just wash it, towel dry it, and leave it. That's all the work I ever do on my hair. But in food places especially, I'm not sure how employable that'll make me. I just need some kind of grease to keep it down. Because in the rare event I ever go 3 days without washing it, it calms down to normal. So I just need some kind of gay hair product to make it into normal hair. What a fucking pain!

I was fucking chuffed to have got myself kitted out all dapper for $30, so I was just going to relax for a while. But then on the advice of someone in my dorm, he recommended I go to Spectrum. This is some job place on the other side of the same block that the hostel is on. And I initially said I'll leave it until tomorrow. But then, what the Hell else am I going to do? So I made the short walk.

And it turns out that was a good decision. Because this place is closed on weekends. It's some government funded job searching place. Free Internet. Free advice. Job listings. Free printing. All you need to seach for a job essentially. And not only did I have someone read over my resume for me; and he was surprisingly complementary seeing as I'd completely rewritten the whole thing a few days earlier. And not in the typical template that you'd expect in Canada. I.E. just a list of previous jobs and skills. I'd decided to write a much more personable resume to differentiate me from the inevitable stack of applications that any potential employer would have. And I was expecting someone in a job place like this; whom probably has strict guidelines for what he expects from a resume, to hate it. But he was actually very complementary and gave me some good pointers. Some of which I chose to ignore. Others which I added in. And not wanting to blow my own trumpet, but my resume looks pretty fucking good right now. I didn't want to take the piss by overly using their free-printing at this place, but I also printed off 16 copies of this document. So something for me to get started with.

And it's lucky that I went here today. Because it is very apparent to me, that in the long, long, uphill struggle that will be a job hunt in Victoria, this will be my central point of call. Need advice? Need job listings? Need printing? I can get it all here.

And you know it's amazing what a difference 24 hours can make. When I sat down to write, I hadn't even been in Victoria for 24 hours yet. Or maybe just. But I'd gone from semi-expecting to being back in Vancouver next week, to signing up with an employment centre here. Changing my cell phone no. Printing off resumes with my Victoria phone number and address (the hostel address). Even having clothes bought and paid for, ready to go on the job hunt. What a difference 24 hours can make.

And now... well tomorrow, it's time to start walking up that long, long hill. I'm under no illusions that the next 2 weeks of my life will be shit. I hope no longer than that, although we are in a recession. But the dejection of rejection is looming. I've just got to stick with it. Put myself out there. As I said, I expect to get to the point of melt-down before I get any call backs. It's just the way she goes. Coming to a new city like this. Searching for a job in a competitive market. It's not going to be fun. It's not going to be easy. And when you get done with a hard day. Blisters on your feet from walking around. Handing out so many resumes, you just want to relax. Kick back. Throw on some music. But then you remember you share a dorm with 5 other people doing the exact same thing. So there is no relaxing. There is no sanctuary to get away from it all. To just relax and float away. You've just got to grin and bare it. And live in the hope that one of those resumes strikes a chord. That one of them gets a call back. You spend all day just praying the phone rings. But it never does. It never does. You just hope...

This is what's ahead of me. This is how I expect the job hunt to be. I guess in a smaller city like this, there's less work to go around. So persistance is key. Not only handing in a resume. But bugging a place. And bugging and bugging them until they give you a job. Because in an environment like this, where competition is fierce, then you need to stand out from the crowd. That's why I re-did my resume as I did. But will that even work? Will one bit of paper look differnt from the next? I don't know. All I know, is that you've just got to stick with it.

The one advantage this time, over when I did the same thing in Vancouver 4 years ago, is that I know what's coming. I know what to expect. That's the good news. The bad news is that we're in a recession this time. So it might be a fuck of a lot harder. But that's where I am right now.

Yesterday I woke up in my druggy hostel, not sure what the future held. I can't believe it's only been one day and I'm already underway in my Victoria job hunting. A lot can happen in 24 hours. A lot can happen.

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