I'm a Deaf vagabond currently living on Vancouver Island. Bicycles dominate my life, but I also make time for climbing, hiking, camping, and cats. And if I have time left over after all that, I write about it.
Yann, the furry dudes and I have been in Victoria for a week now. We spent our first five nights at an Airbnb for the low, low price of $350. Now, we’re staying with Kristina until we find the palace of our dreams or her family gets tired of us, whichever comes first. We have a strong preference for the first scenario.
Before moving to Victoria, we were aware that it would be a challenge finding a home, but we didn’t expect it to be an almost-fictitious endeavour. Initially, our budget was set at $1400 a month or less, but we’ve now increased this to $1600. Considering how we were splitting $680/mo in Montréal, this is a massive jump.
That cats will need to give up their freewheeling lifestyles and get jobs. Enfoiré would make an excellent plus-sized model, while Bubble has the potential to become a pro shadow boxer.
The honeymoon phase of living in a new city is over when I find myself avoiding the downtown area.
Things get messy in an exciting way downtown, especially if the city has an NHL team that makes the Stanley Cup finals. If there are no sporting events or festivals, there will still be buskers to provide entertainment. Public transportation modes overlap downtown: you can drop off onto a ferry from the communal zip line.
It’s easy to see why tourists congregate downtown. There’s always that one street with all the indie stores and that other one with all the seedy sex shops. Commissioned public art sculptures are found plopped on random corners. Sticking out somewhere in the middle of the skyline is a revolving restaurant with terrible food. If the city isn’t landlocked, there will be several waterside restaurants, and they’ll have names like Beaches or The Fish Exchange. The food will probably also be terrible here. Every city has at least one unusual-looking building.
Montréal has the Olympic stadium which looks like it was initially supposed to be a bridge, but then the engineers abandoned the idea halfway through construction and decided to turn it into a stadium to save face. You can see this building from nearly anywhere in the city.
But the thing that stood out the most about Montréal compared to all other places I’ve lived is how old it is. (In colonialism years.) Victoria, BC is 156 years old. Vancouver is 132. Calgary, 134. Halfmoon Bay is probably younger than my dad.
Montréal is 376!
I know 376 seems absurdly young to the world outside of North America. In these 376 years, Montréal got a few things right:
After posting the first and current version of my About Me, someone suggested adding a list of the places I’ve lived. But what would that tell someone about me? That I move a lot? Why not just say that?
My bio is due for an update soon. In two weeks, I will no longer be “Montréal’s problem”. Yann, the cats, and I will be making our way across Canada in the Jetta Wagon (colour: white with a coating of dried-up street juice) with a U-Haul trailer in tow.
In El Chalten, there are 6 hikes that start from various points of town: Laguna de los Tres, Chorrillo de Salto, Laguna Torre, Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, and Laguna Toro.
All buses going into El Chalten are required to make a stop at the Visitor’s Centre for an orientation from the park ranger. Instead of listening to the park ranger’s lecture–because I cannot hear–I sized-up the other adventurers. Judging by the brand names on their technical gear, they were mostly European, but I was able to pick out a few Canadians from the crowd. (MEC, Canada Goose, La Cordee, are all brands that are a more reliable way of identifying a traveller as Canadian than the maple leaf patch!) I could see several ropes, carabiners, and climbing shoes sticking out of some people’s packs.
Mélissa gave me an overview of the park ranger’s address. The ranger had emphasized how the weather was often unpredictable and advised us to be well prepared for these sudden changes. The map that was distributed to us denoted the sections of the trails that were to be avoided in high winds.