Tuesday 11 November 2008

A grey palette paints the day

When we lived in Scotland on my year long teacher exchange, so many days were grey but also beautiful. It looked like God had decided just to use a palette of greys, but still painted a masterpiece.

Yesterday, the rains stopped and, as I had some appointments in Vancouver, I rode out on my Vespa. It seemed that the Scottish palette of greys was in use again, with the occasional splash of fall colours.

Some dark clouds were brooding over Burke Mountain as I rode through Coquitlam. I had a hard time riding in traffic as I saw so many different cloud formations so I ended up pulling over several times.

One of the cloud formations had sun behind it and I was hard pressed to find a place to pull over. It amazes me that I seem to see so much more on the Vespa than when I’m in my car. I really try to take advantage of the many traffic lights on this route so I can rubberneck safely.

The traffic was fairly light as I headed onto the Barnet Highway. This photo of the sulphur piles in the Port Moody Arm of Burrard Inlet is OK - in reality the sulphur is such a deep and saturated yellow that it almost seems to pop out of its surroundings.

Further on up Barnet Highway, I pulled over and took a photo of the inlet looking west. The colours of the palette had definitely gone beyond grey at this point. Unfortunately, my camera kept shutting of at this point because the battery needed recharging.

I continued on into Vancouver with the sun providing some actual warmth. There were no near-death experiences and a bus driver actually honked to let me pull ahead!

In Vancouver, I stopped at the Kits Coffee Company and had an excellent latté and a Sicilian grilled sandwich. I had brought my laptop so managed to mark most of my students’ work that was done online.

My final stop before my last appointment was Granville Island. I never tire of the views from there. The public market is great there as well - I grabbed some sort of French sausage to supplement my dinner - and then walked out towards the water. Luckily, my camera had enough life in it to fire off a bunch of night photos - of which one or two were pretty good.

Unfortunately, at the end of my Vancouver time, I got a phone call that one of my good friend’s father had passed away. A tradition with this particular group of friends is to buy a nice bottle of Scotch and then spend some time with the person who has lost a parent. I stopped in at the fancy Cambie Street liquor store and bought a bottle of cask strength Laphroaig.

An hour and a bit later, I was at my friend’s house, toasting the memory of his father with a couple of wee drams. This “grey” end to the day, sort of a “pre-wake”, was actually a pretty comforting way to end off the day.