Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lord Jimi Hendrix helped me see the light in Vancouver

As I had unexpectedly fallen in love with New York City by each passing moment I was going off of Vancouver. I had lusted for this ocean side city believing it would be my ideal large city in Canada to reside but there I was huddled in my blankets in the middle of the afternoon on the bottom bunk of my dorm bed averting eye contact with the rainy city through the window. Everyone lied to me about this place, it not only gets cold it is a horrible damp cold. I am pretty sure the Brits and Aussies found me crazy; me the Canadian complaining about the cold. They are the ones off their rockers backpacking here! Apparently they never heard of South America, must I school them in travel?

I decided I had to change my attitude, so I crawled out of my nice warm bed, put every article of clothing that I brought on and slipped on my Toms my most inappropriate foot ware to venture out in the city with.

Do not Tsk Tsk at me people! It was sunny and 35C in Ontario!  I know, I know! I have broken many Gringa Trail travel rules; always research the weather and do not blame the location. You cannot get mad at India for having a Monsoon; you were the one who booked your trip during Monsoon season. I set off on my mission to get completely lost in the city and find adventures.

My hostel was located in Davie Village which is actually the Gayborhood. Davie however was in an ideal location close to the beautiful sandy beaches, downtown nightlife that is hopping every night of the week and Granville island with its market and theatres, all of which I took in and enjoyed. I walked my Toms off and found myself ducking into shops from the rain in Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood with cobble streets and Victorian buildings. In the middle of Gastown you will find a statue of the namesake “Gassy” Jack Deighton, A Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area's first saloon.

I left Gastown and ventured somewhere near Chinatown and then accomplished my goal of getting completely lost. I had no idea where I was but it was O.K. because I didn’t really know where I was going then I came upon a bright red building.

This red building was actually on my hostel supplied tourist map, it was the Jimi Hendrix shrine. As a lover of random I walked on into the psycadelic time warp. The walls had photo copied pictures of Jimi and his family as well as other famous black musicians who frequented the former chicken and steak house owned by Jimi’s Grandma. Jimi’s father actually grew up in Vancouver and later moved to Seattle where he met Jimi’s Mami. The current location of the shrine is actually the old storage room for the restaurant the rest of it was destroyed over the years. I may sound like I am a Jimi Hendrix buff or a rock historian but the shrine is actually run by very informative volunteers who are passionate to the point of obsession for the guitar legend.

I found it quite peculiar that they had mannequins with a picture of Jimi’s and his Grandmother’s faces tapped to the heads. A TV in the corner played his Woodstock performance in constant intervals. I was also shown the patio where I could smoke a joint in honour of our saviour Lord Jimi Hendrix.

 I passed up the joint but thoroughly enjoyed walking into such a crazy random site and thought I would give Vancouver another chance, rain or shine.  


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