Vancouver update, and travel options

2010-01-03

in Books and literature, Canada, Daily updates, The environment, Travel

Laurier Avenue Bridge, Ottawa

The last few days of Vancouver downtime have been really enjoyable. It is impossible to disentangle the extent to which the enjoyment is the product of broader and deeper networks of friends here, and the extent to which it arises from characteristics essential to the city.

Tristan is on his way back to Ontario via train. While it seems to be a significantly more carbon-intensive way to travel, it is undeniably infinitely more interesting looking than the bus. He has already provided good photographic evidence of that. In my experience, the bus trip offers virtually nothing worth photographing during short winter days. Perhaps one day we will have low-carbon trains, and thus a way of going cross-country that is both environmentally responsible and tolerably pleasant and interesting.

I have been reading an excellent book and play: Tom Stoppard’s wonderful Arcadia (combining amusing talk of sex and science) and Bill Streever’s Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places. The latter offers an astonishing contrast between stories of success and failure in extreme cold: caterpillars that freeze every winter and take ten years to achieve metamorphosis, versus the final journal entries of doomed expeditions, documenting how the men died one at a time.

Less than four more days, and I will be back on the bus.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan January 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Oh, and Emily and I both read the excellent Cowboy & Octopus

Antonia January 4, 2010 at 6:56 am

Arcadia is my favourite Stoppard – helped me finally get over the annoyance of doing Travesties + The Importance of Being Earnest as the (non-Shakespeare) play element on the syllabus during English A-level.

Mica January 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Yes. Arcadia is wonderful.

The UBC Theatre Department put an incredible production for this wonderful play. I was hooked from beginning to end.

http://www.theatre.ubc.ca/arcadia/index.htm

I also specifically remember the chemistry between Thomasina and Septimus, to be incredibly engaging. and the final sequence was jaw dropping.

I wonder if the talented Anastasia Filipczuk is still acting.

Milan January 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I loved the UBC production of Arcadia. I went four times, bringing different people each time.

Tristan January 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

“Perhaps one day we will have low-carbon trains, and thus a way of going cross-country that is both environmentally responsible and tolerably pleasant and interesting.”

The way I see it, trains can be made sustainable, but busses can not be made tolerable.

Milan January 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm

It worries me a bit that everyone (myself included) sees the bus journey as such a hardship.

Both climate change and peak oil are potentially reason enough for slow travel to become a mandatory norm again, in our lifetimes. Much depends on how the energy return on investment (EROI) of future biofuels develops, as well as how energy storage technologies like batteries develop.

Matt January 6, 2010 at 11:11 pm

But it is a hardship, don’t you think? (I guess you do, given the “myself included”).

It’s hard to change the fact it’s not easily practical. Especially because you’re spending 6 days of your vacation just travelling. As someone who only gets 15 days of vacation per year, I personally would never be able to do it.

R.K. January 7, 2010 at 12:20 am

If we keep ignoring climate change, peak oil won’t keep us from flying. It will just become more costly.

Having no oil didn’t keep the Germans and Japanese from flying planes during WWII. Coal to liquids…

Tristan January 7, 2010 at 12:35 am

“As someone who only gets 15 days of vacation per year”

Maybe this is something the Germans get right?

Milan January 7, 2010 at 12:48 am

As someone who only gets 15 days of vacation per year, I personally would never be able to do it.

Note that I haven’t gone farther afield than Vermont or Toronto in two years…

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