We spent Sunday tying up loose ends and packing up the shop. The crew had a good vibe going, we went for drinks then said goodbye to Darrell. The jeep was packed like never before, very cozy. I was reading a definitive legends book about Hip Hop. Lauren Hill's soft, rich voice came to me.
The ride to the ferry was exhilarating. A warm breeze flew in the window and the dogs rested their heads on my shoulder. We ate some mild mushrooms along the way and were buzzing as we got in line. The line up of cars was massive, going on for many blocks, hundreds of cars lay still. I strolled by on the sidewalk and sang tunes from the jungle book. Coming across a steel fence, I began an acrobatic dance. Swinging back and forth, standing on my hands, I was free as a bird as drivers gazed on from their cars. I chatted with a fellow from Ontario, his business was installing hot tubs. Unfortunately his boss abused substances and was unreliable.
Eventually we were the last few to get into the ferry parking lot. We took the dogs for a walk and all eyes were on us. Kasha is a 5 year old husky/collie mix. Mostly white with brown patches. Chief is an eleven month old boxer/great dane mix. He's brown with black stripes, a huge body, long snout and long legs. Kasha is wise, cunning yet tender. Chief is cuddly, affectionate and a beautiful specimen. Word travelled quickly that a "one of a kind" dog was around. Chief has lot's of fans. As for the handlers, we were shirtless, both 6", tanned with sculpted yogi bodies. Simon is also covered in Tattoos.
As we sat watching the sun set, I was breakdancing and Simon started doing hand stands. A local film maker asked to shoot us and we put on quite a show. Expect the link soon, it's going to be stellar. At the end of one song, Simon did a backflip from three feet up onto pavement. He had already hurt himself on Canada day and caused himself some semi-serious injuries. I had to carry him on my shoulders back to the jeep, dogs in tow.
Were were among the last 5 cars to make it onto the boat. We waved goodbye to the long lines behind us. I found Simon some ice and went for a wander around the boat. I started reading "Zen in the Martial Arts" by Joe Hyams. This enlightening read talks about a route to inner tranquility through active meditation. Lot's of grand lessons that apply to any lifestyle. What stuck with me the most was to appreciate the marvelous beauty and chaos that exists in everyday life.
I had a long talk with a cool cat named Julian and his beautiful girlfriend. He gave up playing football professionally to follow a path that enthralled his mind, as well as body. One of his companies helps NFL teams "go green" by making environmentalism cool and attainable. The other company furthers a process that his father patented. They run energy audits and make sure the many separate firms that come together in order to create a building, work together in the most efficient way.
Julien's girlfriend (sorry I can't recall your name) told me about a friend of hers who went to Nepal and became engulfed into the culture. The friend wrote a book of sayings he picked up from the old lady who lived below him. When the old lady came to the America's and was introduced to an indigenous person, she recognized them immediately as family. We realized that the various parts that made up our own ethnic heritages spanned most of the world. We sang "we are the world" while holding hands. Good times.
Julian had a great anecdote explaining the rise of humans. . First there was gas. Then rocks. Then it started to rain. Then the rocks started to walk. I look forward to seeing those cats again. Wonderful new friends. I also met a chap named Tom, from New York. He and his wife had done everything they needed to do in NY and now lived on an acreage outside the city. "Nothing more FTW then growing your own veggies". He was friends with Toby from the NYHC band H20. H20 was the first punk band that I went to see.
Arriving in Van, we realized we had no real plan, hadn't contacted anyone and had nowhere to crash. Our cell phones were dead and neither of us had chargers. Thank goodness for the internet. I carried Simon on my back into an internet cafe and began browsing our online resources. To my utter joy, my old friend Brian Shaw had seen my first blog entry and had sent me a note. Brian and I worked as lifeguards together at camp Opemikon. Six years ago we ran the show and had a wicked summer together. He's been working as a filmmaker in Van for the last few years. He's career has been his central focus, so his social life has taken a bit of a hit. Our coming together was mutually beneficial. His note was manna from heaven on my first night in the big city.
We drove to Brian's apartment and I carried Simon onto the couch. He went to sleep right away, cuddling the dogs. Brian and I went for a long walk and caught up on old times. The next day we made contact with Christian at the Bickram yoga studio on Commercial drive. I spent the day strolling up and down the avenue. It's a wonderful community, tucked away in east vancouver. The strip is vibrant, filled with hip people and cool things to see. I was trying on a red Adidas jogging jacket and asked for feedback from a girl in the store. It turned out to be Nienke Rachel Moolenaar. It was the sort of meeting that reaffirms I'm always in the right spot at the right time.
She grew up living in the Netherlands, Australia, England and Tennessee. Such life experience makes for fascinating perspective and an accent that is constantly shifting. Intonation and expressions that flow from one continent to the next in a single sentence. She'd been living in Montreal, flew and hitched around Canada and was going back to Montreal the next day. We made plans to meet that evening, but ended up meeting by accident twice more that afternoon. We talked about yoga, traveling, spirituality, drugs, dancing and swapped travel stories. Eventually I noted that we could spend a lot of time together and she agreed. She suggested we travel the world together. After an adventure in a chinese restaurant, we headed downtown. We munched on some magic mushrooms and were soon giggling profusely.
A few blocks out of the sky train, things got pretty weird. An old homeless man was vigorously begging, ignored by the pedestrians. He was bent in the middle, clutching his back, waving an empty hat in the other hand. He was crying out desperately for aide, yet no one even acknowledged him. I asked him how his day was going and he said "pretty bad". Apparently he hadn't eaten of slept since the morning before and was still five bucks short of a shelter bed for the night. Nienke gave him all her spare change and some blueberries she had in her backpack. A sense of calm came over the man as we spoke. Utterly grateful for the gifts he assured Nienka he would never throw away such good food.
His back was giving him a lot of pain and I offered to try energy healing. He accepted my offer and the three of us visualized energy coming up from the earth and down from the universe. We saw it going through the crown of his head and up through his heals. With long slow breaths, we loved the pain away from his sore back. He appreciated our attention but visit was cut short by another man attempting to intimidate me.
His cold eyes stared me down, and without any interaction, we knew it was time to leave. The spooky, middle aged man was wearing a leather jacket and jeans. He started to follow us down Granville ave. After one block, he asked where I was from. Upon response he suggest I return there. I readily agreed and we kept walking away. And he kept following us. He made various references to a certain gang and repeated a boss' name. It was clear the fellow was deranged and eventually I stopped to face him. I whispered my mantra "peacefulness" and stood with a calm face, open chest, arms slightly out. He asked "what's your tattoo say?" I said that I had none. "Well maybe I'll pretend I don't have one either", and walked off. We went the other way.
We met some b-boys on the street then sat down. My heart was racing for a good while after that little episode. Eventually we went dancing at a blues club then I walked her back to her hostel.
As I was walking back to East Van, I did some wonderful meditating and ran into some cool guys from Gatineau. They took four days to drive across the country and were off to find climbing walls. Then I walked back to Brians, going over the day in my head.
Nienke and I were supposed to meet the next day, but it never happend. She didn't pick up her phone and we never ran into each other. I spend the day walking up and down Commercial Dr. It wasn't pouring rain that day, but it wasn't spitting either. I went in every business asking if they'd seen a quirky european girl with a funny haircut. I ran into some Christians offering free prayers. It was a cool process. One of them said "please God, help Maxim find his friend before she goes back to the Neatherlands. He seems like a good guy and I think he should be rewarded for his loyalty to his friends." The were the types of christians that actually seemed "Christ-ian". Giving of the self for sake of the act. In the end, it didn't work. I sat on a bench, wrote poetry and expanded our moments together into infinity.
I longboarded back to Brian's house and we had an awesome photoshoot. Some results can be viewed at http://www.modelmayhem.com/658643 .
Wednesday I put the shots on the net and did another photo shoot. This time the roles were revered. The pics were great. I'll link up eventually. We watched old camp videos and pictures. In the evening we took a long walk.
This morning we woke at a decent hour and as the sun came out, we went to wreck beach. http://www.wreckbeach.org/ . It was was like finally coming home. Pure peace and beauty. Maybe I'll write all about that tomorrow.
Love you all,
If anyone has any comments, suggests, questions, please lay 'em on me.