“Ah!” I was nodding in understanding when I saw the TV commercial on my third night in Vancouver. I was relaxing on the bed and watching TV in the hotel. I don’t remember what the commercial was, but it was set in the kitchen of a restaurant. Two chefs are looking seriously at a sandwich, when another chef appears with a slice of gherkin pickle and puts it on the sandwich. Then the three chefs nod with a satisfied look… As I was watching this, I recalled an event that had taken place that morning.
I was in the food court of Granville Island Public Market in the morning. Granville Island has “island” in its name, but it is not an island. It is a peninsula and a shopping district. I came there to have brunch. While a lot of delicious-looking foods were beckoning me, a sign board caught my attention: Try Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Bagel! So, I decided to try it. A cheerful clerk was making my sandwich at a brisk pace, asking “onion okay?” and so on. Then came the above question.
The reason why I did not understand her at first was because I had never seen pickles put “on” sandwiches. In Japan, pickles are put “inside” sandwiches or on the side of the plate, as far as I know. However, the men in the TV commercial also put a pickle “on” a sandwich as the finishing touch. Is that a Canadian or North American (or other countries also?) custom? I did not know that! Anyway the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel sandwich with a pickle on it was very nice.
After the meal, I explored the market. There were many fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, cheese, etc. Even window-shopping was nice. Actually, Granville Island has more than 50 shops and facilities including a brewery and a totem pole workshop. I was going to plod around the island, but it started raining while I was shopping in the Net Loft, and then the rain became harder and harder. I gave up walking around outside, and went to Kids’ Market to look for English teaching material for a friend of mine, who has many English classes for young children in Japan.
There were many families even on the weekday morning in Kids’ Market. Children were running around squealing with joy. The inside of the building is a tiny town for them. There is even a bridge inside. I bought a CD with instructions for teachers or parents there, and went out. It was still raining hard. I was discouraged about spending time on the island and decided to go back downtown.
Actually I did not go back downtown directly. I got off the bus in Yaletown, which is on the opposite shore of Granville Island. It is a trendy district of Vancouver with retro-looking red brick buildings. The old warehouses and railway sheds of the 19th century have been renovated and reborn as fashionable boutiques, cafes and restaurants. One of the buildings is now a community center and displays the locomotive engine, “Engine 374”, pulling the first transcontinental train in 1887. You can see its handsome black body for free.
I noticed that it would be convenient to go to the Roedde House Museum from Yaletown when I was studying the Google map. You get on the bus going along Davie Street and get off at the fifth bus stop, and then walk for several minutes. It will take just 10 minutes. But the museum opens at 1 p.m. and it was still around 12:30 when I was in Yaletown. If I had used the bus, I would have had to wait nearly 20 minutes in front of the house. The Google map said that it would take 18 minutes by foot. Fortunately the rain was stopping. So, I decided to walk to the museum at a leisurely pace.
Multi-petalled cherry blossoms were in full bloom when I visited Vancouver. I saw many trees with the pink flowers here and there. I enjoyed taking a walk in the drizzle admiring the beautiful flowers of roadside trees and gardens of houses along the street.
The Roedde House Museum stood in the rain in a quiet residential area. It was a couple minutes before its opening time when I arrived at the museum. So, I walked around the house peeping inside through the windows. Through the curtains, I saw a man sitting on a chair, reading something. I walked back to the entrance with tiptoe steps and checked the watch, which said it was a little after one. The door was closed. I turned the knob. But I could not open the door…(to be continued later.)