I have only visited Vancouver once, and I recall it as one does a nightmarish dream. Two years ago to the day, I had set out to attend a conference on the declining state of the national dairy council, hosted in the beautiful town of Princeton, BC. However, due to an unforeseen clerical error, my transportation from the ferry was waylaid, and I had to spend a night in Vancouver. Skeptical of the city’s woeful standard of accommodation, I decided it would be better to take to the streets and “club it,” as it is known in the local parlance. As a result, I was afforded the opportunity to see Vancouverites in their native habitat: pale-skinned delinquents leering at me from dark alleyways, mustachioed hipsters wearing vintage sportswear, inebriated teenagers vomiting against shopfronts to the gleeful cheers of drunken hordes. They moved in packs, spittle flecking their lips as they jeered at me, screeching in an unintelligible cacophony from which I could discern little meaning. Nearby, a woman lifted her skirt, exposing her buttocks as a passerby hooted and hollered like a demented orangutan; two guffawing twenty?somethings stood snapping pictures, presumably for the pages of a perverted personal scrapbook.
As dawn extended her rosy fingers across the sky, I found myself carefully stepping over the syringe strewn streets, striding briskly to the nearest coach station to escape the stale, rancid city air. I boarded the next bus out of town with relief, resolutely establishing to myself that I would never return.
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