Panhandling, Colmar France

Yester Day


Old Fence Old Window

Sunny Park Day East Vancouver, BC

Aging Darkly


Seen While Out and About

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Dandelion Flowers and House with Porch

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Exposed Wall Art with New Construction

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Comb crossing Road, meets Cigarette Butt

and then I saw these blossoms do their pretty thing … some residential streets in Vancouver are lined with these joyful pink cherry blossom chapels.

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Pink Blossomed Tree

Pink harbingers of Vancouver Spring

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Pink Tree Blossom Detail

So very briefly so very delightful

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Looking Up at Pinkish Tree Blossoms

Delicate Tree flowers

Sqeegee Goodwill Gone Wrong

Don’t give the squeegee guy a new squeegee. I mean it. I did.

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Dogged Intersection Entreprneur

At the time I thought that I was doing this random guy a favour by giving him a brand new replacement for the ratty bit of dirty sponge that remained of a once useful wind-shield cleaning tool.

The look on his face eclipsed all my doubts about giving a squeegee person anything. He seemed genuinely grateful as I held out the new squeegee out of driver side window, my vehicle already creeping ahead as the light changed to green. I heard a “Thanks mister” as I drove off.

I’d seen this particular guy at that  intersection enough to make his a familiar face. He’d been there for the past year or so and I’d witnessed the deterioration of his primary working tool. What had begun as a regulation squeegee; available at almost any hardware store, had deteriorated badly. A now tattered bit of dirty sponge no longer than the length of my hand was casually and indifferently proffered to potential customers.

So much for effectiveness in cleaning anything, let alone a wind-shield (but then again, since when is actually cleaning wind-shields the real reason to be out there in traffic in the first place?)

I’ve never availed myself of this convenient wind-shield cleaning service now available at almost all major intersections of Anytown. I still see no need. My vehicle comes equipped with two, count ’em two wipers just a flick of a switch away from doing the job; and a reasonably good job too.

But seeing this guy doggedly using what amounted to a filthy rag and who-knows-what kind of liquid that he squirted onto that rag from a crumpled clear plastic bottle, got the better of me. That was my motivation as I set out to hand him a pretty, new squeegee; the next time the opportunity presented itself. I figured that he’d be happy to save the cost of replacing his squeegee and be pleased to be able to offer potential customers a more efficient service.

The next time I saw this squeegee guy, my sympathies turned into disappointment and then frustrated ill-will. All of my good thoughts that had flooded my brain in the wake of successfully having made a successful hand-off went horribly wrong, suddenly splattering against the wind-shield of idealistic goodwill. His car glass wiping hand clutching that same old ratty, dirty bit of sponge instead of the shiny new red squeegee I’d handed him just a few days ago.

Either this guy was really rough on his squeegees or he’d sold it or was saving it up for a special day or who knows what, but barely three days later he was out creating pity and goodwill with his crusty old rag, leaving countless duped drivers squinting through a curtain of grimy mess now more evenly distributed all over their windshields.

I never stopped to ask him about the squeegee. What’s the point? I nod curtly and drive past. And I’ve gotten over that frustration.

Since then I am still mildly interested in the phenomenon of squeegee workers, keeping a curious eye on two or three of the more familiar faces that have made certain intersections their own drive through business ventures.

Short of heading over on foot to observe and to talk with these determined traffic vultures, I can’t and won’t pretend to fully understand their motivation, need or determination.

I still see that guy and others like him out there on traffic islands and every time I do, I am reminded that I still owe the person who lent me that squeegee, a new one.

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Canadiana 105

I have a favorite ‘park’. Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC (Canada) It is a pretty cool park as city parks go. Every city has a park, well most of them do. They come in all shapes and most sizes from mini to huge.

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Looking towards Stanley Park from Coal Harbor, Vancouver BC, with North Vancouver in background.

I fell in love with it as a young boy the first time I visited it, I thought it a most splendid place to build a house one day. That was before I knew that Stanley Park in the heart of Vancouver (maybe it is the heart of Vancovuer) was in fact a park, no building houses allowed; not even tree houses.

The 1,001 acres/404.9 hectares that make up this urban park is almost entirely surrounded by sea water and boasts a few ponds, a large lagoon and a swimming pool right next the ocean. It’s all pretty lush what with all the rain that pours down on these parts of the wet coast.

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Stanley Park and the Lions Gate bridge seen from Brockton Point Lighthouse

The place is criss crossed with 200kms (give or take a few) of trails and roads and not a few secret trails only the homeless know much about. Some people guess that it contains half a million trees and the whole thing is encompassed by the sea wall, a paved 8.8 kilometres (5.5 mi) path that is used by approx. 2.5 million pedestrians and cyclists year round. Throw in a hand full of die hard roller bladders for good measure.

A busy traffic artery known as the Stanley Park Causeway, bisects the park and connects the downtown core to the north shore and North Vancouver municipality via the Lions Gate suspension bridge .

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Lions Gate Bridge and Float Plane

Officially declared open and appointed the purpose as a park 124 years ago in 1888 by some guy called David Oppenheimer, it was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor-General of Canada who had this to say when he actually saw the park – “I name thee, Stanley Park”. He was seen to throw his arms heavenward in an attempt to embrace the place while dedicating it to the use and enjoyment of peoples of all colors, creeds, and customs, for all time. Generous guy.

The park area is traditional territory of several different indigenous aboriginal tribes. Historically, the  Squamish had built a number of villages on the western and northern area, and in the southern area, the Musqueam used the area for collecting resources.

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Siwash (Slah-kay-ulsh) Rock, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The popular landmark is “Slah-kay-ulsh” which means he is standing up. In their oral history, a man was transformed into this rock for his unselfishness by the three Transformer brothers

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Lifeguard rowboat and swimmer on Third Beach in Stanley Park, Vancouver

The park also has a few sandy beaches along its shore line and swimming is a popular warm weather option to those brave enough to brave the frigid pacific waters.

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Canada Geese in Pacific Ocean water

Wildlife in this park includes geese like those pictured above that poop everywhere, great blue herons, seagulls, bald eagles,  a burgeoning raccoon population, coyotes, skunks, possibly beavers, feral rabbits (decedent from house pets) and a thriving and at times inquisitive population of grey squirrels whose ancestry can be traced back to eight pairs from New Yorks Central Park.

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Third Beach, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC, Canada

The park at one time housed a zoo and is home to the Vancouver Aquarium. Established in 1956, the aquarium is the largest in Canada and houses a wide collection of marine life including dolphins, belugas,sea lions, harbour seals and sea otters.

In December 2006 a fierce winter storm tore through the park with winds gusting up to 115km p/h and laid waste to an area near Prospect Point.  Approx. 60% of the western side of the park was damaged; and it is believed that 3,000 trees were negatively affected.

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