Monthly Archives: November 2004

Whistler first impressions

NB: I started writing this a couple days after we got here, so sorry if there’s any incohesion as it’s now the 25th! I’ve back-dated the post for continuity’s sake.

Whistler… Well I’m not sure what I expected it to be like, but it’s not like I expected. That doesn’t really make much sense but that’s a good way to describe it :) Unlike most cities over here it just kinda sprawls (although we have been informed that it’s one of the most modern communities in the world). What surprised me about it was the amount of space between everything because in most French resorts everything is crammed into not a lot of space, but then I suppose that’s not the North American way, is it…
Anyway, the hostel we stayed in, the ‘Shoestring lodge’ was an improvement on the Vancouver hostel but still not fantastic by any stretch (check the room photo lol), plus we discovered possibly the noisiest sleeper ever in the guy who we were sharing with to start off with :) oh and the bathroom was pretty minging, hostelling is great eh! Having said that though, as soon as we moved out of there into our house we missed the squalor and bustle of it and it’s so easy to meet people, but it’s also nice to have a base where you can unpack and have a bit of quiet. Living out of a backpack is a serious pain in the arse unless you’re willing to unpack and repack at each new place, which I wasn’t, hence it did my head in :)

To start with we were going out a fair bit cuz to be honest there’s not that much else to do at the minute and also to meet everyone who’s up here. Well not everyone but lots of people who you randomly bump into plus many friends of friends (of friends…) although that’s kinda hit the wallet a bit hard! The first weeks were always gonna be like that though innit. Last night managed to take a night off from drinking to go to the cinema, and even managed to not drink any alcohol for a whole day on Tuesday (gasp) [note that I started writing this a while ago so the rate of spending – therefore drinking – has, necessarily, been slowed quite a lot since then, but I’ll get to that later!]. In the first week though we had the Halloween party night, which was absolutely awesome. See we’d all picked up these costumes whilst we were in Vancouver in anticipation of the Halloween celebration up in Whistler. Matt was a naughty nurse, Si was Hula Harry, Paul was Pom Pom Paul (rofl), I was a beauty queen, Lewis was some kind of warrior princess/She-Ra and Tim and Dunc picked up some random dresses and wigs at a later date to join in the cross dressing theme. I think the costumes all set us back about 40 bucks (~£20) but it was well worth it for the comedy value (sure you’ll agree when you see the pics). We went with an early drinking theme once again – think we started about 5pm whilst getting into costume before going upstairs to the Gator grill for some quality Mexican scran before heading out. First off we went to a bar called ‘Citta’ (pronounced Cheetah – a pretty cool bar that has different offers each day) and met some hotties from Victoria. Not sure what they must have thought of us turning up in drag but to be honest I reckon the ladies were loving it, especially the squeezing of large fake foamy breasts, although my cries of “like for like” seemed to fall on deaf ears :) after a couple of beers there we went to a club called Moe Joe’s after failing to get into Tommy Africas as originally planned because the queue (or line-up in Canadian) was ridiculous. Having said that I’d just managed to muscle my way to the front when the other guys decided we were going to leave and go somewhere else so I was a bit narked! We had a quality night although I was a bit disappointed that none of us won the fancy dress competition. When we got home there were a bunch of peeps outside the hostel having a smoke and I bumped into Al’s housemate from Nottingham – Jamie – who has ended up living in the house above ours, it’s a very small world… In fact it’s so small that I also met another guy called Si Mountain or suttin like that who knows Al and Jamie from uni! Anyway back on track – we got home and Si decided it was a good idea to throw all the tissue paper that had been contributing to his ample frontage into a tree outside the hostel. Then Paul went to sleep in Kim’s bed because she’d said she was staying somewhere else, but then Kim came home, saw someone in her bed, went and got security and the guy dragged Paul out of bed by his ankle, still in costume hahaha. Paul then RAN home from our hostel back to creekside (a good few miles in the freezing cold, nutter. He is from Kendal though, home of the mint cake!). So yeah I think that’s pretty much the story of Halloween night, you’re prolly bored of hearing about it :)

Aside from socialising (joking), the most important issues here are:

1) Housing
2) Job

With much emphasis on housing. Even if you’re in staff housing, cuz as we’ve since discovered this is in no way guaranteed… So yes, let me tell you about the job situation…

Turned up for my first interview on the 3rd November (wow that was a long time ago), millions of people everywhere, very busy etc etc. So I’d heard that if you checked in early then you could get an interview ahead of your slot. Mine was at 10.30am so I got there at like 9.45 after getting a cab half way there cuz I thought I was going to be late and didn’t get seen til about 10.45… Annoying. Anyway the interview went really well and I got called back for a second interview the next day (kinda necessary since the 4th was the last day of the recruitment fair) and spoke to the guy who was in charge of the interviews for the position that day, which was also good and he took my name etc., so I thought sweet that seems all good. Also I was told at least twice that I would have a one on one interview the following day. I turned up for my interview and ended up being interviewed by 3 guys along with another couple of Aussie guys (i.e. a 3 on 3 interview, although this didn’t surprise me greatly as I’d heard similar reports from friends about their interviews) which obviously wasn’t as good as a one on one but still, I thought it went pretty well so I was fairly confident about getting a job. Heh.

Unfortunately we all had to wait until the 8th or 9th of November before ringing to find out whether we’d got a job or not. I was supposed to ring up on the 9th because, I guess, my interview was in the latter half of the week. The day came though and I’d heard a sneaky rumour that you could find out on either day but they’d just told everyone a time to space the whole thing out. As it was I phoned at like 8.30pm on the 8th along with my friend Sara who’d also gone for the same position, albeit in a different store (Intrawest, who own the mountains, own a bunch of different stores which are scattered about the place). Had to hold for about 20 minutes which was a bit annoying, especially when they told me that they were afraid they couldn’t offer me a position at this time :) Sara got hers though, which, more importantly, means that she gets to stay in staff housing. In fact all the guys we met in Vancouver from Leeds uni got jobs with the mountain so they all get to stay in their room. Unfortunately Dunc didn’t get his job as a liftie so is faced with the prospect of being evicted from staff housing unless he gets a job when he reapplies (which myself, Si and probably Lewis are going to do too, being the only people left in our house without jobs :) [update: Dunc has since found a job as a housekeeper and a place to live in Creekside, so it’s all good!]
Of all the people I’ve spoken to about their jobs, far, far more people didn’t get the job than did. This spawned many conspiracy theories about the recruitment process, especially that it seems as if Intrawest tried to maintain a 50:50 male to female ratio in their staff even though there’s apparently 6 times as many guys as girls in Whistler (which I’m not sure I believe, although there’s definitely more guys), which meant that nearly every girl I spoke to had got a job (along with about 5 other job offers – basically if you’re a fit girl out here then you’ve got it made! One shop even tried to poach my friend Beth after she’d already been employed, lol. She is fit though ;p)
So anyway, that night after finding out I hadn’t got a job we just all got really wasted and went into town, it’s the only way. Can’t remember where we went though, ah well.

Think I’ll cut this there because I know it’s a bit of a chore reading huge chunks at one time (*cough* Gurpal) so I’ll post some more going out stuff and general info later on so you can take it in piece by piece (and spread out the excitement – ahem), plus I think my housemates are getting annoyed by the fact I’ve been on the computer since I got up 4 hours ago solidly :p

Tata for now guys, apologies if I’ve written nonsense! X

Internet eedjuts

Hey guys,

sorry this has been so quiet the past couple of weeks, i’m in the process of writing more stuff to go on here and we were supposed to be getting the internet at our place last Tuesday but the fools at Telus didn’t send us out a modem cuz they didn’t think we needed one (?!) so we’re still waiting on that… Rest assured that more will be appearing soon though!

Brief news though – Blackcomb mountain opened yesterday, there’s 90cm of snow up top but at resort it’s still v patchy. It’s snowing today lightly but more is needed! It’s supposed to be dumping tomorrow though I think so I might sneak up the mountain one day this week. Still haven’t got a job (and hence a pass) yet but that’s set to change in the next few days I think! Will keep ya posted anyway… :)

Hope all are well X

Vancouver

Well I just got to a PC up in Whistler, so thought would offer an overview of events in Vancouver now I have more than 10 minutes to spare to write stuff down before the computer KOs… [actually I finished this post on si’s laptop 4 days afterwards cuz I used up 3 hours of internet access househunting that day and it costs bucks!]

Vancouver is one of the nicest places I’ve been, surrounded by the Pacific ocean on one side and mountains on the other, skiing practically on your doorstep when Grouse mountain opens plus some nice beaches too. Also hundreds and hundreds of nice bars and restaurants!! Also an apparent abundance of pleasant (natured and to look at) barmaids who are happy to work hard for your tips ;)

Speaking of tips, there’s a hugely complicated system of tipping over here… 10% is pretty much expected wherever you go, and people get pissed if you don’t give them that :) my friend matt (not quite sure why she picked on him over everybody else but there we go) managed to majorly upset the barmaid in the bar we ended up at every day by not tipping enough on a $150 bill so she had to make up the 10% out of her own pocket to appease the rest of the staff, lol. We accounted it to drunkenness plus general difficulty in raising enough money from everybody to cover just the bill alone! Oh and the taxi driver who drove us from the airport was a bit pissed cuz we only tipped him 9 cents, oops. We weren’t to know! Also there’s tax (government sales tax I believe) on every price that is quoted here, slightly confusing as there are different rates for different things and everything seems cheaper than it actually is.. Fortunately beer is cheaper than at home, although I’ve still managed to spend $300 in 4 days, hmm.

So yeah, first day we got here we were all pretty wrecked having set off at 5 in the morning from home, travelled on the plane for near 15 hours (which sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half after we were supposed to take off whilst they fixed an “oil filter” in the left engine, v reassuring), sorting out visas through immigration, moving my considerable amount of stuff around.. so we only managed to stay out ’til about half eight and were in bed for 9! Lame. We managed to catch some Bavaria (Brazilian beer brewed in Canada, apparently) special night action whilst we were there though, think we got through about 5 buckets between 5 of us. Then woke up around 4 in the morning thinking hmm it’s lunchtime and I shouldn’t be in bed, but yeah getting over that now with the on/off night drinking system that’s being employed. [actually it’s become more like every day drinking since we got to Whistler, but I’ll cover that in the next post!]

The next day we headed down to the SWAP office in Vancouver to see if we could get in on an earlier orientation meeting to sort out social insurance number, banking, mobile phones etc. The meeting was actually pretty good, some useful info and stuff plus the staff were very helpful, so perhaps shouldn’t have been so cynical about handing over money to BUNAC! We met some guys at the meeting who we’d seen the day before on the plane trip, plus randomly bumped into another girl who some of the guys (self included) had been in touch with before we left! Then we went searching for a couple of snowboard shops to kill some time before going en masse to get phones, then headed to the pub at 4… briefly managed to go home to get showered then we went down to some other guys’ (well, one guy, Tim, two girls, Jess and Sarah) hostel then worked our way up Granville street before ending up in a, er, strip joint cuz that was the only place we could see that was willing to let us in with bags! :) quite funny as we had 3 girls with us. Also quite funny that, having not paid to go in, the beer was actually cheaper than most of the bars we’d been at previously. Tim was totally wasted and decided to start taking pictures of the girls with his digicam (looool). Unsurprisingly this drew the bouncers’ attention and I thought his camera was probably done for, but, being outside England, the bouncer was fortunately very friendly and understanding (in fact I don’t think he did much other than laugh the whole time we were there) so he got off with a slapped wrist and deleted pictures.. Don’t think I was loving it quite as much as everyone else but was pretty funny!

Day after that we went over the bridge to South Van and checked out a bunch of board shops. The equipment was crazy cheap – they had boards for at most half the price of what they are in England. I checked out a few jackets but have decided to leave off purchasing everything ’til everything is sorted up in Whistler! Not sure how much I’ll have to play with you see. So yeah, went to a few shops, had a very lengthy chat with one of the boardshop girls, then met up with the guys for lunch at a sushi place (not the best idea when everyone is hung over), which was pretty interesting. Si had some weird fizzy explode in the mouth fish egg style things, cool :) in general everyone made a very poor attempt at finishing off the food, Lewis in particular having left all his breakfast except for one piece of toast and then only managing to eat one tuna roll at the sushi place hehe. Possibly the worst display of eating I’ve ever seen :) after we were done not eating raw fish we walked all the way to the opposite end of the city centre (serious mileage) and checked out Stanley Park. The guys wanted everyone to get rollerblades, well Si especially seeing as he plays ice hockey and could demonstrate how much better he was than everyone else ;) but me and Duncan decided the Santa Monica Boulevard style beach cruisers would be a much better option so hired them instead. Didn’t get very far round though cuz we were pretty late in the day and Matt and Jen made a poor go at blading and ended up walking back! Grabbed some dinner then we got home everyone was pretty wrecked so everyone just KO’d.

On the next (and last full) day the hardcore among us (Paul, Si and Lewis) went back to Stanley Park and got some rollerblades (everyone this time). It looked like a poor decision for a while because I stacked it in the middle of the road just outside the shop (was quite a nasty hill down to the park entrance) so had to scramble across before the red man started flashing at me. Managed to get the hang of it after a while though and we got all the way round in about 2 hours I think. Was a cool excursion and managed to take a few nice pictures, but I’m sure I missed a bunch of it because I was very conscious of getting over confident and doing some damage :) after that we trekked (everything is pretty much a trek) back across town in search of dinner via the main shopping street. Some of you guys (*cough* Chloe) would have loved it with all the boutiques being in one place! Had some weird burrito type thing which sounded good and was cheap (main reason for choosing that) but was actually literally meat in a tube.. Yuk. Went for a cheeky beer midday stylee then back to the hostel to dump some stuff and get changed quickly before getting out on the beers proper. Sat outside a bar and got a few jugs in, waitress came out and had a go at Matt as mentioned above, then realised that she was making a mistake by being assy and became SUPER FRIENDLY (North Americans love their ‘super’ adjectives, especially the girl who gave us our orientation talk, I was cracking up) with Paul mainly. In her favour she was wearing a cracking little black dress, and was also very fine, although it later transpired that she was a bit of a ho as was spotted with numerous different men throughout the night. Oh then a tramp came up to us (which is a very common occurrence in Vancouver, apparently all the homeless people in Canada amass there because everywhere else gets SUPER COLD. I must have had at least 7 guys come up to me asking for change one day whilst we were walking about), so yeah the tramp came up to us and asked us for some change. We’d met another tramp earlier in the day, well I say met but he actually just came up to us and said, “do you want me to climb that tree”, so inspired by that plus the liquid dinner we said, “we’ll give you some money if you climb that pole” (lol) he went for the wrong one so we sent him across the street to climb the designated lamppost. The guy literally ran straight across the street, grabbed a newspaper dispenser to climb on top of and wrapped himself round the post, spurred on vociferously by the crowd of rowdy brits on the other side of the road (plus Welsh, Duncan, and Irish, Mark, dudes), was funny as. After a substantial amount of beer I decided it was probably best if I got something to eat, plus we wanted to check out a different bar which was opposite our hostel (the Royal, next to the HI central, which has parties on alternate Wednesdays), so we set off in search of $1 pizza (well actually its 93 cents but the aforementioned tax on everything makes it up to $1 on da nose) while the rest of the guys went into the club next door to the bar we were in. We (Duncan and I) were determined to find pizza for one buck and went on a mission. The first place we asked in was $1.10 a slice – obviously an extortionate amount to charge so we told the owner of course. He kindly directed us to a place down the road which DID have $1 pizza though, but we ended up walking miles in search of it :) the Royal was kinda dead but bumped into a couple of guys from Warwick uni(!) in there, and another girl from Warwick proper (England is so small).
The club we went to was actually pretty cool, and surprisingly busy for a Wednesday night, plus they had vodka cranberry for $2 :D we had a go at lighting up the dancefloor as per, and then I managed to find courage to actually go and talk to a girl I had been admiring :) transpires that everyone outside Gloucester is actually happy to talk to you, and she turned out to be a really cool chick as well as being foxy! She’s just broken up with her boyfriend of 4 years tho, so probably that’ll be that..but I did say that maybe she’ll get an invite up to our phat pad in Whistler though at some point ;)

So yeah, our last day was unsurprisingly blurry and pretty much all that took place was getting the Greyhound bus up to Whistler! After a bitching bacon and cream cheese bagel from the place next door to our hostel. Think we managed to go on a brief sightseeing tour of the place, but will leave that to the next post as this is a bit of an essay already! In short, Vancouver rocks! Will definitely go and spend more time there.

Hope the fans are appeased :)
Until next time…