Day V8: Hills in the Heat - Caucasian - CycleBlaze

July 8, 2024

Day V8: Hills in the Heat

Stating the obvious here, the summer weather in Vancouver is similar to Pattaya in the dry season.  It came to mind that a potential retirement plan might involve splitting the year into three different regions.  The benefit of this is you're not spending long enough time in one place to pay taxes  (most need 180 days) and you're moving around with the best weather.  

Logistically, how to do this is quite a challenge.  For example Nov-March is the best time to be in Pattaya, but after that it gets too hot.  And right now is the rainy season which lasts until late October.  Here in Vancouver on the other hand, you're looking at a window of good weather from June-September.

That leaves two shoulders of about two months on either side which is not ideal.  So perhaps what needs to be done is shift the original dates backwards or forwards a couple months to then open a up a third location.  Where that might be, I don't know.

Anyways, today's immediate challenge would be to bike up the hills in the heat.  I was going back to my aunt's place for coffee and while it was still somewhat cool, I set off.

Somewhere along the way
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Last night was very good in that I did my budget and realized I was actually in the black for this part of the trip.  This really came as a shock because of the high cost of living, yet somehow I was spending less than planned.  Perhaps it was things like last night when this Airbnb was located in the middle of nowhere and there was nowhere to eat.  Maybe that would expain the lower costs.   You do things like book these kind of Airbnbs where you're sharing with 2-3 other people.  You can end up chatting with them over interesting topics and get invited to parties. 

But in terms of trying to find food, this was perhaps the third night in a row where it became a significant challenge.  Yes there is always the option to go online and order Uber Eats but I see that as a copout and an invitation for laziness.

With a bike on hand, I wanted to go somewhere and eat but everything was closed.  Except, however, there was one option:  the casino.  So I got out $50 and a piece of ID then set off for it.

Seeing how much money I had lost in the casino recently (but still well within the gambling budget), this new strategy was setting stop losses.  The idea would be to play out as much of the $50 as possible so there was still enough for dinner, but take any wins as a bonus.  Right off the bat I won $30 then got off the machines.  Dinner was a delicious bowl of Singapore Laksa with spicy sauce.  I then found more slot machines upstairs and decided to check them out.  A $12 win then paid for snacks and protein bars at a gas station later nearby.

While on the way up the escalator to the slot machines, I observed one of the best things:  an older couple in their 70s were fit and full of life, you could see the enjoyment in how they talked to each other.  It was also the clothes they wore and they were both in excellent shape.  The woman grabbed her husband and gave him a kiss down the escalator in public.  They had no shame or embarrassment about it.  Maybe they had just won big in the casino, who knows.  But it was stuff like this that defied the social expectations that when you get older you get miserable and out of shape, making a fast track to the hospital.  If they could be like this in retirement and having fun, then so could I.

So today, it wasn't that difficult to ride up the hills.  It was cool and the elevation gain might have been 200 meters tops.  We had a delightful coffee and chat as well as walking along the mountain trails in the back.  All this of course is unique to the Vancouver area and it is impossible to find in Asian cities so I had to take advantage of this part.

Next I sailed down the hills again and was trying to catch a fitness class but turns out was already too late for it.  Not a big deal, I never book them in advance for this reason.  Instead I rolled the bike onto the Seabus which is basically a large passenger ferry with bikes allowed.

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 As I rolled the bike off I just followed some guy out a side door, not knowing where I was going.  A woman followed me and asked, "How do you get downtown from here?"  I said, "I have no idea, I just followed that guy." She said, "I just followed you" then we all laughed.  We wished each other luck then it wasn't that hard to find the way downtown.  There was this long dark tunnel underneath the waterfront or something I haven't seen before, but it went the right direction.

Another friend of mine was going to meet me at the bike rental place where we would presumably walk around the seawall.  But he actually arrived on a bike.  As I rolled on up first to the shop, the guy wanted to take my bike back.  I explained it was a 5 day rental and the current bike wasn't shifting terribly well so he said, "That's alright, we'll just pit this one and change you another."

Soon after that my friend showed and we rode and chatted our way along the seawall and caught up on our lives.  Eventually we got sick of this since there were too many people and he took me on other routes.  After about 10km of biking we found a delicious place to sit outside near the street and eat Pad Thai, all for around $15 each.  I told him that I was amazed how easy it is to bike around Vancouver and the infrastructure is completely set up for it.  He agreed and said it was super easy.

Was it always like this?  Maybe it was.  But now he commented, "You're basically a tourist in your own city now, might as well enjoy it."  To be honest, almost everything I was seeing for the first time.  It totally occured to me that growing up all those years in Tsawassen might as well have been another province since it was completely disconnected from the main city areas.  There is a tunnel that you can't ride bikes through and that has been the case for decades.  If you're on the wrong side of that tunnel (as we used to be), you're basically cut off.  Now finally on the right side, I was seeing just how much things were opening up and it was a total game changer.

So another day, another uplifting conversation with a great guy.  It then dawned on me again just how out of line those comments were from the former high school friend I saw on Friday.  In fact, what he said was completely uncalled for.  Totally unacceptable!  What's more I had been listening to his shame mongering bullshit for years on end and being too nice to call him on it.  Now finally realizing who I am and how way out of line his actions and words are, I feel quite justified in cutting him off.  As my aunt even said today in our chat, "You need to look out for yourself more" and this was entirely the same as basically all my real friends.   

Not only that, I started to see parallels between his brand of preaching and that of my stepmother.  Both of what they said was uncalled for.  All I can hope for is we do win this legal battle.  The best solution is that she gets to stay there as a life interest until she passes away.  It is an incredibly good deal because she gets a free place to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.  So she wants that AND the house?  There's really no end to her greed here, and then she has the nerve to lecture us for wanting our fair share, as if we were the entitled ones.

Sometimes I have no idea how or why I get caught up in all this drama.  Remarkably, this is not ruining my trip.  Things are starting to turn the corner and I'm really having an awesome time.  The unthinkable has happened, that I am enjoying being a tourist in my home city and living life the way it was meant to.

On that note, I kept on biking to the libary and then finished scanning all the personal items from the storage locker.

While doing you so you need to lock the bike, check on it periodically and take pictures
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Then it was another ride to the fitness class downtown where I crushed it.  After that, a beautiful ride back in the twilight to the casino where I won another $40 to pay for dinner.

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Today's ride: 48 km (30 miles)
Total: 209 km (130 miles)

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