I just got home from class and started writing this, so it may look a little rushed as I try and spew as much information as I can before I go to sleep. I had spoken with Mark, my buddy from Prince George, and he had lots to say as he continues his new life down here in Vancouver. But anyway, I managed to squeak in my research proposal paper today just in the nick of time, and prepared for the mid term exam that I just wrote–I feel good about both assignments. So I am tired and ready for bed, but first an update on Mark….
A couple of weeks ago Mark had moved in with his cousin who lives close to Vancouver, and there were some concerns about him staying in the apartment, which is a one bed room unit. The landlord was notified, rumours and some hear-say, pointed out that one of the other tenants told the landlord, and so it appears that Mark is looking once again for new accommodations because he really does not want to cause too much trouble for his cousin. I was sort of shocked when Mark showed me one of the apartments that he had an appointment to view, which was less than a twenty minute drive away from his work, but the rent is $1400.00 per month! I thought to myself “so much for saving money.” So I stepped up to bat for him and started looking myself.
I found Mark an alternative rental suite that he might find more “affordable” compared to the high cost of Vancouver, yet still within a reasonable distance to commute to work for him. I know a guy who knows a guy of a guy who owns a mobile home located in Burnaby, and asked if it was still available. To my surprise, and Mark’s delight, the place was available March 1st! At $1100 per month, and a two bedroom, that was a little bit of a step up from what he was looking at in Vancouver.
Mark’s experiences in Vancouver are priceless too. His first trip on the Sky train (Feb 4th) will probably be his last. I guess he got on the train in Oak Street and when he stepped through the door, a middle aged woman barfed on him, herself and one other passenger. Mark probably would have forgiven her for doing that, but she kicked him for not getting out of her way as she tried to leave the train. When he got to Science World, he tried to go to the near by MacDonald to use their washroom to clean up, but they have a policy of you buying something first before you can use their restrooms–yeah, he stunk too. On the way back he saw an obvious person with mental issues urinating right in front of him across the platform at the strain station. This was too much culture shock for Mark, experiencing his fist solo adventure through the city. When he told me this story, I mentioned to him that we are hosting the 2010 Olympics–imagine what the world will see when they travel though the city!
However, mark enjoyed going through Gas Town. He said his wife would be in shopping heaven with all the hundreds of shops and stores around. He said stuff like clothing and tools were so cheep compared to the prices up in Prince George that he is going to invest in new tools before he returns North. Also the trolley buses appealed to Mark too. He said he never knew Vancouver had trolley buses–i.e., electric buses. He said that that is the most environmentally efficient thing he ever saw in the city–he was impressed with them. I told him that those buses have being around for at least 40 years, he just couldn’t believe me–“old school stuff” I said.
Anyway, Mark is getting by–becoming a “city slicker.” He got a letter from E.I. (Government Employment Insurance program) which laid out in a two page format why he would not be eligible to collect any of it. He laughed when I read it. “You see, If I had stayed up there we [sic] would have lost everything waiting for our government to save us…. they sure don’t have a problem taking taxes, but give some of it back… shit.” The letter outlined that he did not have enough weeks to collect and that he should seek assistance, another code word for welfare, to seek emergency money(s). I was shocked that he only worked twenty-two weeks last year, and half of that time was part time!