I started on my return trip from Vancouver, BC (shown in these photos from near my son’s apartment) by Greyhound to Bellingham, Wa, where Allegiant Airlines flies “cheaply” to Mesa, Az, only on Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday, as low as $58.88. (Wow, I just checked on flight prices to see if there were any lower, and in July and August they range from $99.99 to $339.99!)
That starting price, of course, does not include taxes or fees. One is charged for the seat (the cheapest, over a wing, was $11.88), and a convenience fee of $14.99 for booking online. (The same for booking by phone. The only way of beating that cost is buying the ticket at the airport.) So after segment fees (?!), PFC (?), and 911 security (?!), the cost was still under $100 for me, but not by much.
I returned home to rest. The last three days of my visit to Vancouver my son and I painted a few rooms of his apartment. (At his request I bought him paint for his birthday, but after I encouraged him to ask his landlady for reimbursement, and she saw what a good job we’d done, she reimbursed him and he bought an electric guitar.) Masking and cutting at ceiling level is hard on the shoulder and neck muscles, particularly if you’re short, there is no ladder, and you’re standing on a dining room chair.
The first day white in the bath and entry. The second day light green over a bright yellow in the living/ dining room, plus another coat of semi-gloss white, which hadn’t covered the light blue bathroom and tan hall very well. The third day tan over maroon on two of the living room walls, and a bit more white touch up. The most fun was taking off the masking tape.
My visit had consisted of three days of World Cup Soccer parties, three days of sightseeing (Botanical Gardens, Museum of Anthropology, Aquarium), and three days of painting. Then I plotzed (Slang: to collapse or faint, as from … exhaustion).
It seems a bit belated to be discussing World Cup Soccer, but the parties were fun. My son is very into soccer, on two teams, and coaching a woman’s team. During all of the games he could name most of the players on both teams by their positions. He even knew some ages, and other details.
The first party for the Netherlands v. Uruguay was hosted by a woman on his soccer team and her husband, who is Dutch. We all had to wear orange. (I borrowed an orange shirt). Couldn’t wear blue. (I wore chinos instead of bluejeans.) Everyone in orange shirts. An orange felt peaked hat on one guy, an orange felt king’s crown on another, on a six-year-old boy a lion hat with an orange mane. (Should have taken my camera!) Most of the party-goers were taking long lunch breaks from work. BBQ’ed hot dogs and salads during half time, in the small back yard.
Traditionally made and inspired from a kudu horn, the vuvuzela was used to summon distant villagers to attend community gatherings. The vuvuzela is most used at soccer matches in South Africa, and it has become a symbol of South African soccer as the stadiums are filled with its loud and raucous sound that reflects the exhilaration of supporters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vuvuzela
Durban, South Africa’s Moses Mabeda Stadium was also architecturally marvelous. The vuvuzelas were ever present, as if the stadium were full of giant bees.
The last World Cup party was Spain v. the Netherlands at the house of another soccer friend, and was attended by a few on the team (one Dutch), with girlfriends or spouses. We all wore orange shirts again. The Dutch guy also had on an orange hat, his wife wore anorange dress, and their one-year-old was attired totally in orange (an outfit that his mother had whipped up for him). Pancakes and bacon for breakfast during halftime, as it was Sunday and everyone had been sleeping off last night’s drunk.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there was no joy in Kitstown, mighty Robben had kicked it out.
(Apology to Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Casey at the Bat)
(Kitsilano, or Kitstown, is the area of Vancouver where my son and many of his friends live. We walked to the parties, what seemed like two miles to the first, only two blocks to the last.)