Vancouver Diaries: On Getting Lost

It was only my third evening in the city, on that continent for that matter, but the confidence was seeping in. I knew how the public transport worked and more importantly, I spoke the language that everyone understood. I felt safe and wrapped in that notion of safety, I embarked on a journey to New Westminster, a Historical city in Metro Vancouver.

I took the Millennium Line that took me via Burnaby, and I got down at Columbia to change to the Expo line. Since I had got off the train, I decided to take a quick peek at Columbia as well. Walking out of the eerily empty station, I found myself on a sunny street.

Houses in Columbia

The Cathedral

My first walk outside of downtown Vancouver took me through a lovely residential area to a striking cathedral. The landscape underwent a massive change in this city. After a short walk around the station, I went back and caught the next train to New Westminster.

Wanting the taste of the real life outside of the glossy downtown, I decided to walk down the lane looking at the array of interesting local stores. One block down, I realized that I was on the wedding lane! Well, every second store was that of wedding dresses and tuxedos. I got some coffee from the local coffee chain – Waves and continued down the street until I found myself looking at familiar stores. Now, where had I seen these before? Turning left, I caught a glimpse of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and that is how I realized that I walked all the way back to Columbia!! So much for changing lines.

New Westminster Station

Walking back to the station, I decided that I still had an hour before the sun went down and I must make use of it. I had read something about the quaint New Westminster Quay and one look at the chart pasted at the bus stop told me that bus number 100 would take me there. Happily, I posted myself at the bus stop and watched the people around me for a good twenty minutes. Then bus number 100 came. As I got into the bus, ready to punch my ticket, the smiling driver told me to “forget about it; the machine is down.” Just like that, all of us got a free ride to the quay.

As the bus rolled down the huge fly over, it crossed many a roads and suddenly I had no clue where it was going. Putting my faith into the board that said “New Westminster Quay,” I sat patiently. When the bus stopped, I got down noticing the sign on the bus stop. The cool breeze swept my hair and I smiled at the chilly smell of a water body. And then, I looked around. The road I stood on was very narrow, and there was no other side to it. Having no “other side,” means that the bus number 100 cannot stop on the other side, which means that I have no clue how to get back.

Panic attack.

I looked left, empty road. I looked right, emptiness prevailed. Cursing the lack of people in North America, I decided to walk to the quay anyway. If I were lost, at least let me enjoy the area. And boy, was I glad that I came down to the quay.

New Westminster Quay

Rafts at the Quay

Mostly quays are busy places, at least the quays I have seen were busy spots, unlike this one. Empty rafts floated on the peaceful shore. Not a person in sight, whichever side I might look. On the other side of the quay were colorful apartments that would probably cost a fortune.

By the Quay

The Other Side of Quay

Walking amongst those lovely houses, I passed exactly three people – two jogging with iPods and one taking her dog for a stroll. Maybe if there were more people around, I would have asked someone about the whereabouts of bus number 100, but for some reason I kept walking quietly and then I saw the gorgeous sunset. I stood there watching the sun go down until it struck me that the sun was going down. Soon it would be dark and I had no clue how to get back to the train station. Of course, I could ask anyone if I saw them on the street, or I could call a cab. But then, how does one call a cab in New Westminster? I had no idea. As I continued to walk in the state of mild fright, I did what every scared person does. I looked heavenwards.

The Setting Sun

And there, in the sky I saw the building taller than most others with huge black words announcing the Quay. I had seen the same building across the street from the bus stop where I had sat for twenty minutes. Smiling to myself, I decided to walk resolutely in its direction. I walked through the colorful apartments, I walked through a park, I walked through the regalia of extremely striking houses, and I crossed many roads. In about fifteen minutes, I reached the foot of the building.

Now, I knew where I was. Sighing with relief, I walked up to the overhead walking bridge and across the street to the station. It was dusk, almost. I looked at the hauntingly empty surroundings and the few cars at the peak hour of the evening. In that moment, I missed India. I missed Singapore. I missed Asia and its densely populated cities.

New Westminster at Dusk

I hopped and skipped back to the station. I was not lost any more but secretly, I was glad that I did not live in North America.


5 Responses to “Vancouver Diaries: On Getting Lost”

  1. I am getting frightened now. First the stranger, then another weird stranger, and now getting lost! Why did God make you so inquisitive? Getting lost in a place like Canada is like a bad dream for me. Forget Canada, even in the U.S, I saw absolutely no one on the streets, whatever may be the time of the day.

  2. Hey there, just wanted to say that I am enjoying the tales of travel in Canada! Sometimes the best places are the unexpected ones.

    Like you if I ever get lost in Tallinn all I have to do is look skywards at the tall sokos viru hotel which is visible from everywhere here and find my way back!:)

    • sunshin3girl Says:

      H, you are in Estonia! Do you have any idea how exotic that sounds?

      I am so glad to re-discover your blog. Wonder what you have been up to all this while. Will add your blog to my reader and hope to keep up. 🙂

  3. Yes, I added your blog cos I missed reading you. I am back to blogging – hopefully will be more regular now. Just grew tired of lj! Keep in touch. x

  4. rechristened Says:

    And that proves that the world is round 😛

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