The streak is over


Quite a lot has happened since I had the time to write an entry a couple of days ago, so I'll get through what I can before I have to go.

After I last wrote, that first proper night in the hostel was welcomingly relaxed. As soon as I finished writing the last blog, I went and sat in the TV room for a bit to chill out. I still had jet-lag coming out the ass, so I really wasn't down with doing too much more. I'd just made a promise to myself, that to get my body working properly and used to Canada time, I'd stay up until at least 10:00. It nearly didn't happen.

Just sitting in the TV room, this pretty hot chic comes over and sits next to me. Macedonian. Possibly the first Macedonian I've ever actually met... because they're a pretty rare breed. Only about 2 million of them left in fact. But damn, she was one of those girls who would flirt without flirting. The kind that is just so subtle, it drives you crazy. More than a chic doing something really obvious, like "accidentally" putting her boobs in your face, this girl was just doing really subtle things. Like subtle looks. And kind of invading my personal space to just a tiny, tiny bit. But damn, doing things like that drives me crazy. In a good way. Much, much more sexy than really, really obvious stuff. Of course it was so subtle, it may have all actually been in my head. I don't think so though. I've barely seen this girl since. And I know she's in the hostel somewhere still. Damn I want to find her.

That night was pretty chilled after that. I played some poker with a few of the other people hanging about. It was going to be for money. But jet-lag combined with having barely eaten all day, meant my head was still an absolute mess at this point. So in the end we just played for shits and giggles. Which was a shame because in the end I finished in 2nd. There was a pissed off his head Canadian guy. Maybe age 50, with a 'My name is Earl' moustache. He went all-in on the first hand, with a 9-5 or something like that. Kind of set the mood for the rest of the game. If I'd realised how fucked he was before we started, I probably would've been in for cash-money. Though to be fair, I did win a hand going all in on a 2-7.

Man I couldn't wait for 10:00 to arrive though. And I got a full nights sleep which is exactly what I needed... to the point that I've almost felt normal since.

Science World, Vancouver Anyway, I said in the last blog that I was going to need to get myself a phone sorted. Knowing the time that the person from the phone company was going to be back at the SWAP office, I headed back there; via a walk to the Greyhound station to pick up my bus tickets to Seattle and to Invermere. A route that also included a walk through the less than desirable China town. It was all good though. I had a bit of time to walk around Canada place as well, which, on a nice day provides some good photo opportunities. The sunshine Gods weren't smiling down on Vancouver on this day though.

One thing you get at the SWAP office, is free phone calls to local numbers. Most of the people I knew when I was here in 2005 were international people, so have moved on since I was here. There was one guy still about though; Rory. So I gave him a call. It's good to catch up.

Pacific Central Station I also had a chance to go to Winners whilst I was out. Winners is the Canada equivilant of TK Maxx. Good brands at shit brands prices. And I picked up some pretty decent looking ski-pants for just $50. These were actual ski-pants. Not just bits of leg-shaped plastic like the ones that I picked up off eBay before flying out. Reduced from $100. And I think that the only reason they would normally cost $100, is that they look pretty damn ridiculous. Why you would ever choose to design a garment with such an undesirable pattern on it as decoration, I will never know. But for $50, there aren't too many things I'd be unwilling to wear. I was thinking for a decent pair like this would maybe set me back $200. So $50 is awesome!

Vancouver has a huge problem with homeless people. They always have done any time that I've been here. And there is a feeling among all the non-homeless in Vancouver, that any change that you donate to the homeless's, will just get spent on drugs. Well last time I was here, they were at least subtle about this. They would claim that they Canada Place, Vancouver were just going to use the money for food and a place to sleep. Then go and spend it on drugs. Well this time around they aren't even trying to be subltle. One homeless guy comes up to me: "Spare any change for drugs?" Obviously I didn't give him money. I mean I don't give people money if they're going to use it to cure world AIDS, so I definitely don't give people money when they just want drugs. If anyone is getting fucked up off my money, it'll be me. But at least I don't feel bad about it now. There used to be a part of me that would almost feel bad. I thought it was quite funny though. The pity vote obviously wasn't working, so now the homelesses are going onto the honesty vote. I very much doubt that'll work either. But it's a nice change.

When I went back later to collect the phone that I'd ordered, I also withdrew $500. Of all the items that I ordered last-minute, before flying out, the only one that did not arrive, was a money-belt. I needed approx. $1,500 to give my landlords when I arrived in Inveremere. And you cannot withdraw this amount in one transaction. So I need to build up that $1,500 over a few days. Without a money-belt though, it meant that along with my 2 digital cameras, my laptop and my mp3, anyone who decided to break into my locker at any point, would also find a nice wad of cash. I won't lie, it had me a little on edge that the only thing protecting me from losing thousands of $'s worth of equipment and cash, was a shitty-little combination lock. I was pretty much assuming that any potential thief would think that no one would be so stupid as to leave so much so unprotected, so would never go for it. It did leave me worrying a little though.

I walked past my old gym from 3 years ago as well. I could not believe that they've closed it down! Apparently for refurbishment. But it's some pretty severe refurbishment if that's the case. As in giving it new bricks and everything. The beauty about this gym, was that it was a dirty, grimy, rusty old basement gym. But that was it's character. When you have a place like that, you really know that anyone there, is going to be breaking their balls. There'll be no pussy's whining about how much it's hurting like you get in health-clubs like my gym back in London. This was a proper gym. I cannot believe they've closed it down!

Anyway, I'd picked up my phone by now. And I'm really the kind of person, who will buy a phone, but will have to wait 3 months for anyone to actually call. I put my number on Facebook, and I recon it wasn't more than 2 minutes and I'd had my first text! There was a guy, Jeremy, who I said in previous blogs, was the Kiwi who was going to be working at Pano, but also be in Vancouver at the same time as me. I'd met him at the orientation briefly yesterday. I had a text though! I didn't really care what it said, I was just happy I'd got one! And to this point, my phone is getting pretty well worked out. In fact I've probably received more calls now, after 3 or 4 days, than I did all Summer on the phone that I had in England. I'm popular already, and I haven't even got to where I'm going.

It was at this time, I also got a message from someone I went to college with back in London, James. He was saying he'd be down in Vancouver tomorrow as well, from where he's working up in Whister. So that'd be cool. A bit strange to catch up with someone from London in Vancouver, but hey. Still pretty cool.

Back to tonight though, I'd arranged to meet up with Rory to have a few drinks and catch up. To this point I'd been wearing all the same clothes. The same, boxers, same socks, same everything, since before I'd left London. I thought at this point though, it'd probably be best to change it up a bit. So I went for fresh socks and fresh boxers. I felt so clean!

This blog is called 'The streak is over' for one simple reason. At this point I was 125 days since drinking alcohol. And that streak was about to come to an end when I met up with Rory. Now you'd think that not drinking for over 4 months, the first time that you do, you'd want to line your stomach with something pretty substancial. Well I was already worryingly light-headed at this point, and I was really short of time. So I figure a hit of sugar would be the best thing right now. So my pre-drinking food: A can of orange juice and a Mars bar. I didn't stand a chance. Anyway, we started off at his appartment, and this was where it happened. After 125 days of absolute sober... the streak came to an end. It was some home-made brew that finished me off. But the bar has been set for the inevitable next detox. 125 is my new personal best. I'll have to go for 200 next time.

From here we went to Roxy Burger, which I really needed because I needed some actual food in my stomach. It was cool to come back here. I'd only ever been to Roxy Burger once before, and that was, I believe the 2nd night I was in Canada in 2005. So May 18th '05 I guess. And I can even tell you what I had to eat that night. A New York Steak sandwich. Don't ask me how I know that. One thing though, where Canada is so much better than the UK, is that they don't feel the need to hire ugly waitresses. Every single one of them is stunning. They don't have the bullshit equal rights thing over here. The businesses don't have to tick the box to say they've employed at least one fat person, and at least one ugly person like they do in England. Here, it's simply, if you're hot, you're hired. And it's such a better system. I mean who wants to be served by an ugly person? Exactly. And the fact that so much of a waitresses money comes from tips, all these hot waitresses will flirt outrageously with you to try and get more money. And even though you know this is why they're doing it, it still makes you feel good. The hot chic is flirting with me!!! And it just makes business sense for the bar to hire hot chics. It's one area where Canada is just so much better than England. This chic in Roxy Burger wasn't even subtle. She was pretty much grinding herself on the back of a chair whilst she was taking our order. It was awesome. You just don't get service like that back in England! You know that wherever you eat, you're getting served by some stunner that wants your money. It's a great system.

They also have a weird thing here, that no matter how big the table is, waitresses will never write down an order. I've never understood why that is. I think they think it looks more professional. But they literally never write down an order. They just rememeber it. And I can never exactly understand why.

From here we went onto The Royal. It's hard to express how much time I spent in this bar 3 years ago. Pretty much everyday we'd be in here getting wasted. So it's was good to be back. It's one of those bars that you can only enjoy when you're absolutely pasted. So having been 125 days, it was perfect for me. I text Jeremy as well to let him know where we were, and him and Ryan (the other Kiwi here working at Pano) came out for the night. So it was cool to get wasted with a couple of people I was going to be working with.

They seemed really sound guys as well. Jeremy would hit on anything in a skirt. And Ryan was the more chilled out one who you could sit and have a beer with.

I was kind of hoping, that giving my brain a break from constant alcohol abuse, would mean that I would start to remember a bit better the nights of drinking that I had. Not so. I don't remember too much from here. I was on the dance floor one minute. The next thing I remember is that I was back in the hostel toilet, throwing up that delicious Roxy Burger. Literally, everywhere! I remember filling the sink with vomit. And I tried to unblock the sink with my hand in all this vomit. It didn't work though. It the end I was so wasted that I just left it. Nice.

I never sleep too well after a night out. And at about 07:00 I got up to go to the bathroom. The sink was not a pretty site. Neither were the walls or the bath-mat. I guess I'd been treading on it as I was throwing-up, because I'd somehow kind of matted bits of vomit into the mat.

When I got up at about 10:00, there was this time an out of order sign on the door. And this remained the status-quo for over 24-hours. Being back on the alcohol, and I had put the bathroom out of commission for a whole day! Awesome. That's a way to announce your return.

I'd slept through the hostel breakfast by this point unfortunately. And if you're going to eat in Canada without cooking your own food, there really only is one way to do it cheaply. Pizza. 3 years ago, it was 99¢ per slice. Inflation or whatever, means the cheapest I could find was now $1.50. But for a meal that's still pretty good. So what became worryingly common place, it was pizza for breakfast today. In fact it's been pizza for pretty much every meal I've eaten this week. Which is worrying. I'm growing moobs, a flabby gut and an extra chin at a worrying pace. I cannot wait until I have an appartment with an actual kitchen, and I can start eating well again, to try and halt this downward spiral. But seeing as I'm still eating quantities as if I'm working out regularly, combined with an assault of calories from alcohol, it's really worrying how much I've fucked up my body this week. And I don't mind so much, the looking shit part. But one of the best thing about being thin is that you can make fun of fat people. And I don't want to lose that privilage. I just need to get to Invermere, where I can actually start eating like a normal person again.

From pizza breakfast, I decided to go for a walk around Stanley Park. Stanley Park, but Beaver Lake in particular, is a place where I would come a lot when I was here 3 years ago. I was 19 at the time, in a new country, with no place to live, no job, no anything. And when you're in that situation, it's good to have somewhere to go to clear your head. Especially when throughout the Summer you get in the habit of doing stupid crap like getting wasted and calling your boss to tell him what you really think of him. That was a fun one. But then you wake up the next day, and need a place to sit, and think through exactly what you've done. Clear your head. And for me, that place was Beaver Lake. I would always come here when I needed time to think. So it was cool to come back here and just sit. Sit and think.

It was whilst I was in Stanley Park that I got a call from James. He was already in Vancouver, and happened to call me when I was at the Lions Gate Bridge, possibly the furthest point in the park from downtown. So I headed back not too long after getting that call.

One thing I did have the time to do on the way back from here though, was get out another $400 to put in my locker. It really was building into what would be a pretty nice haul for anyone who decided to rob me. Though the money was hidden in a leaflet, so my logic was that if you open up a locker, and you see a laptop, an mp3, a digital camera and a leaflet, what do you do? You damn sure don't decide to read the leaflet about going to Whistler. So that was my protection if I was broken into. My route also took me by the Electra Building. This was where my appartment was in 2005. I didn't have the time to go inside or anything like that. But I had a look at it from the outside. Took a quick picture.

The Electra Building, Vancouver It wasn't long after this that James was back at the hostel. So probably no more than 12 hours after vomiting all over one of the bathrooms and putting it out of comission, I was back in the pub. My bus to Seattle left at 05:50 am, so I'd made it clear that I wouldn't be having a big night tonight. And sitting in this pub, Doolin's, it was cool just to relax with a beer. It was until this mental alcoholic guy decides to start talking to us. I don't really have the time for people like this. They do my fucking head in when they just won't leave you alone. And normally I'd just ignore him until he left. James on the other had was a lot more tolerant, so we just couldn't get rid of this jackass. To the point that in the end we just went to another pub. The Beaver in the Samesun hostel.

You remember what I was saying about the hot waitresses in Canada? Fuck me, there was one of the prettiest girls I think I've ever seen working here tonight. She wasn't obviously hot. I mean at first glance, she really didn't do to much for me. It may have just been that the longer I was sat there, the more beer that I drank. But the more I looked at her, the hotter she got. Just, pretty. You know. Not an obvious hot, but just a really, really pretty girl. Just an amazing face to look at. That may have been the beer talking mind.

Since we'd been in the Beaver, we'd accumulated another guy, Chris. And James had some friend he knew who he was meeting here. Then, she seemed to know others as well, and Jeremy and Ryan also came down for a bit, though they were at another table. All of a sudden though, it became a pretty big crowd. And guess what, I was pretty drunk by this point. And does a drunk person go to sleep early to make sure he's up in time to catch a bus to Seattle in the morning? No, the drunk person goes out clubbing. Goodbye Seattle. We went to this bar honey in Gastown.

And I'll put it bluntly: I don't really remember too much from here on. I remember being on the dance floor for a while. Then I remember trying to leave. But I couldn't actually figure out how to get out the club that I ended up just going back to the dancefloor. And this was where my memory stops.

The next thing that I remember, is being in some cafe. I don't know which cafe, and I don't know why. But I was sat in this cafe. In my left hand I had my fork, and I was eating a hash-brown. And I had my right hand down some girls pants. And I have absolutely no idea how it got to this point. I was sat there with her and her friend. Obviously I'd picked her up at the bar somehow. But here I was, sat in a cafe in the middle of the night. Hash brown in one hand, pussy in the other. And luckily for me, I'd set an alarm on my phone that was supposed to wake me up in time to get to Seattle, if I got too trashed to remember to do it myself. Well instead of waking me up, this alarm told me I had to get the fuck back to the hostel and pick up my stuff and get to the bus station.

Now I have no idea what we did with the friend at this point. Because the next thing I remember, is I'm sat in a taxi with this girl probably greatly offending the taxi driver. And I get dropped off back at the hostel. And that's really all I can tell you about that. There's a girls phone number in my mobile, so I guess she was called Penny. There's not too much more I can tell you about it though.

I think it goes without saying, that after what was something like 12 hours of drinking, I was a little worse for wear right now. 12 hours drinking and no sleep. And I rushed into the hostel, and grabbed my stuff. Luckily I'd pre-prepared my bag the day before, so I didn't have to think about things such as remembering a passport. All I had to do was remember to lock up my stuff properly. But I couldn't remember if I'd done that at all. I spent the rest of the day worried that I'd possibly left my locker unlocked or something stupid like that.

I was planning on walking to the bus station. Luckily common-sense prevailed in the end and I jumped in a cab. Which was lucky, because even then I only just made it. I always like to think that I hide my drunkness quite well. I guess not though. The bus driver picked up on it in seconds. Anyway, I got on the thankfully, quiet bus. The next thing I recollect is being shouted at by the bus driver. We were at customs, and I had managed to sleep through all her announcements. She was shouting at me down the bus "Do you want to get to Seattle or not?" The bus was empty by this point, so everyone else had managed to get off without waking me.

I was last in the queue. And I don't know what I was doing to make it so obvious, but when I was called up to the desk, the customs officer says to me when I'm still 5 yards away and haven't spoken yet, "Was it a good party then?" I guess I hadn't sobered up as much as I thought. I made it through customs though. Just about.

I pretty much slept the rest of the way there, only stopping once more. I got some ridiculously named ice-coffee. A mocha-frappacino, or something stupid. Ice-coffee then. I was hoping it would sort me out. The caffeine didn't work though, as I still slept the rest of the way.

I've been to Seattle, and I've been to Qwest Field before. However I really don't know the area well at all. So common sense says, whilst at the bus station, try to pick up a map. Or at least get directions. But a 2-person queue at the counter was enough, in my still-drunken state, to decide to try and navigate Seattle unaided. I don't know how everyone on the bus knew that I was going to the game, but I was told to enjoy the game by multiple people as I got off. I don't remember this whole journey. So maybe I got up and announced it to everyone or something.

Anyway, drunk, mapless, and walking the streets of Seattle was where I was right now. I didn't even have the sense to make a note of where the bus station was, so how the fuck was I going to make it back. My logic here, was to go to the Space Needle. That big tower that I'm sure was in some famous film. My theory was that this was a tourist hotspot, so I'd be able to pick up a map here. Well that's great, if I could actually find the space needle. In a city of sky-scrapers though, one doesn't especially stand out from another, and it was probably 10 minutes of aimlessly Space Needle, Seattle walking whilst looking up, that I was able to locate the space needle. And sure enough, I was able to get a couple of free maps once I eventually got there, after probably another 15 minutes of walking. The only problem was that the Greyhound station wasn't marked on these maps. So I decided to start walking back to where I thought the Greyhound station might be, so I could mark it on my map, and I'd know where to come back to after the game. It wasn't where I thought it was. Luckily I stumbled across it as I was walking to where I thought it was. In fact I almost walked straight past it without noticing. But all of this, took probably between 1½ and 2 hours to sort out. But having finally sorted out where I needed to come to after the game, I walked down to Qwest Field. All this because I didn't want to stand in a 2-person queue at the bus station.

It was a pretty good game. And Qwest Field is a fun place to go and they famously have some of the loudest fans in the NFL. But unsurprisingly we lost the game. By just 3 points in the end, so actually better that I had expected. I had though bought my bus ticket back from the game on the assumption that the game could go on a lot longer. And it did almost go into overtime. But although sitting in a bus station for 2 hours waiting for my bus didn't sound like fun, I had fuck all else to do in Seattle. So that is what I ended up doing. And having not gone to bed last night, I slept a bit on the way back as well. I got a lot of video footage of the game, so look out in the videos page in the coming days for once I've had a chance to put something together.

Seattle Seahawks, Qwest Field Getting back to Van I decided to bunk the Skytrain back to Granville St. Would they have ticket inspectors at 23:30 on a Sunday? I didn't think so either. And guess what was for dinner once I got off the train. That's right, more fucking pizza. Well pleased I went to the game though. We might have lost and I might not have been in the best physical condition. But it was fun. Good to see the Hawks playing again.

And that then leads me to this morning. I've had to check out of the hostel. So I'm just hanging out in the common area for a while, waiting for it to get at least a little closer to my bus at 18:45 tonight. And no one stole all my money! Now I just have to make sure I don't fall asleep and someone takes it out my bag in the night. But all being well, at 09:05am tomorrow morning, I will be getting off the bus to be greeted by my landlords. All not being well, I lose $1,500 in cash. Then the landlords aren't there, and I'm stuck in Invermere all alone. Or countless other things that could go wrong. Fingers crossed though.

That blog was a bit rushed. In fact if I'd had the time I'd have put in quite a lot more detail. But time isn't something I've blessed with right now. But it'll do I suppose. Hey guess where I'm going now... fucking pizza. Great. Work on my man boobs a bit more!

I'll change that last paragraph. I've just read through this blog, and it is possibly one of the shittest I've ever written. I'm really not in the good frame of mind to write right now. I think seeing as I stayed awake all night before going to Seattle, I'm getting my hangover now instead. Something like that. Ah well. It's written now. Maybe I'll change it up if I get the chance. Which I won't.


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