While the US was mired in it's debt ceiling fight, I escaped 23 miles north to Canada. No, I wasn't trying to escape USA. It was the gay pride parade in Vancouver and I have vacation time.
My pictures of parade.
Ironically, as USA teeters on bankruptcy, it might be better to head for USA than Canada since the Canadian dollar is now more valuable (last I checked) than US currency. Unless our society breaks down so we actually start shooting at each other, USA offers travel bargains, but I survived Canada's strong dollar for just 2 days. The difference isn't that much.
Main problem is, or let's call it a virtue, gay pride is big business in Vancouver. Try finding a motel room that isn't booked, or priced off the planet. An estimated 750,000 people showed up for pride, if I heard that correctly. CBC Radio was estimating impact on traffic with road closures and so forth. Were they also counting folks who live in the effected neighborhoods?
I stayed way out in Surrey in an affordable motel. That wasn't bad, just take the elevated Skytrain and feel like you're able to fly right downtown in minutes. Getting to Surrey was a bike ride for me. Only about 35 sunny miles from Bellingham.
Some folks invited us Bellinghamsters to join Vancouver Polyamory contingent in the parade. I got lots of pictures. The Vancouver Sun even mentioned our contingent. They said people were looking for their dictionaries when we passed by. What is polyamory?
Out of all the mass of folks, the god of coincidence was shining on me. A friend of mine happened to be waiting at the same Skytrain stop as I. What are the chances of us running into each other with 750,000 in the milling crowds?
As the Skytrain whisked us back out of the city, we had a good talk. My friend says the recession seems less evident in the "Lower Mainland" than most of USA, or even a lot of Canada for that matter.
Lower Mainland is basically the Vancouver metro area. Economy is humming, tho I'm sure it has some problems.
Innovation. It's like a blue state economy. Of course, it's all because of gay pride. Don't you know, I've heard several economists say that gay people are good for the economy.
Well also BC benefits from abundant natural resources. In an overpopulated world hungry for stuff like energy, it helps to have lots resources in the ground (for some reason, Canadians seem to pronounce it REZORCES). Natural gas, oil, hydro power, (or sometimes they just say HYDRO instead of calling it power). They also seem to enjoy good planning with less blatant conflict between government and private enterprise.
We can learn a lot from examples north of the border.
A few more notes.
Bicycling back across Whatcom County with my radio tuned to CKNW talk radio. Topics included:
Where was the premier of BC for gay pride? Was it a snub or just conflicting travel plans?
Should health authorities use tax dollars to provide clean hash pipes so addicts are less apt to need more expensive medical care from diseases passed through dirty hash pipes?
Guest from Bellingham Chamber of Commerce talking about effect of relatively strong BC economy on retailing south of the border.
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