justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canadian Adventures Part I

This blog has been many things. From the ultimate go-to site for dramatically exaggerated/partially-fictional Nic Wise game recaps to a place where I could dump throw-away posts to make myself kinda feel like a writer and perhaps convince potential employers I was a legitimate writer (which that run-on sentence disproves), but I think in its prime WPM was a travel blog. So now I am gonna temporarily throw the blog back into a travel blog to recount my memories from a trip I took to the great Pacific Northwest, because the end of April seems as good a time as any to publish stories from my late January travels.

I spent the majority of the time in Seattle, and maybe just one day I'll write about that, but let's get to Vancouver.

I had never been to Canada, but its awesomely harmless reputation as a country that puts out hockey players, dope basketball podcasts and Steve Nash has intrigued me my whole life and by whole life I mean the portion of my life that occurred after I was exposed to Nash and The Basketball Jones.

And this life goal was achieved because I had a week off between transitioning jobs, I got a cheap ticket from NYC to Seattle and decided Monday, January 24 would be the day I got on a shitty Greyhound bus and left a dreary Seattle for an even more dreary Vancouver. The day before I booked a ridiculously-nice-looking apartment at on airbnb.com, I had used this site often at my former job, where I would waste countless hours of my life planning trips I did not have the time or money for.

But now it was finally go time, I actually needed a place and a kind woman on airbnb was offering her apartment in downtown Vancouver for only $50 a night, which was a bit more than I was looking to spend, but the apartment had floor-to-ceiling windows in every room that overlooked the entire city, my bedroom had a balcony from which you could see the BC Place Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics, the apartment building also featured a jacuzzi, gym, sauna and steam room, so I figured I'd get my $50 worth.

Airbnb itself is an awesome, but weird site that works on the premise that human beings are good people. Creating a profile was as simples as providing a name and valid e-mail address. Then I wrote a short message to the woman hosting the lavish apartment with some vague generalities about myself and my travel plans. She accepted and just like that I had a place to stay and a host in Vancouver, even though all she knew about me was that my name was Justin, I lived in NYC, and this would be my first time in Canada. She said she would be in class when I was scheduled to arrive so she would leave a key to her place with the doorman of her building.

I was very impressed with her faith in humanity as I could have been a killer, thief, sexual predator or the kind of sick fuck who would delete unwatched episodes of House Hunters off her DVR.

Backing up to international voyage, I had an interesting encounter at the Canadian customs. Having lived most my life in a state where border issues involve an all-out drug war on top of a million other issues, I figured the Canadian border would much more relaxed, and as a result I got in a very weird mood and decided to lie with every word I said to the Canadian border patrol agent. I really don't know what provoked this as I don't lie much and I tend not to enjoy people who lie, but the following conversation was had:

Border Patrol Agent Woman: Where do you live now?

Me: Arizona.

Her: What do you do there?

Me: I work for a magazine.

Her: Who are you visting in Canada?

Me: A friend from college.

Her: What does she do in Vancouver.

Me: She works for a bank.

This banter continued for a little bit as I kept fabricating a simple story as I assumed the issue of me living in a different place than my passport indicated would blow her mind and cause more confusion then if I made up a simple story. Although every other person on our bus was able to quickly get back on the bus, the agent must have seen my eyes darting in many directions, so she put me aside. Then she went in a back room with my passport to analyze my information further or maybe update her Twitter on what a dumbass I was. I really don't know what she did back there, but the whole time I was sitting there thinking that this is going to be awkward as I have to fess up to why I lied about everything.

Finally she returned, handed me my passport and told me I was good to go. Little did she know I was leading a double life as a job-transitioning New Yorker. Got her.

Part II will come tomorrow...maybe.