2008 HSBC CELEBRATION OF LIGHT – CHINA

Fireworks10

It was China’s turn to showcase its pyrotechnic skills last night, at the HSBC Celebration of Light. After seeing a few interesting pictures on the Net that were taken from Granville Bridge, I decided to try my luck there also. Although I was much further from the action than usual, I still had a great time (from a hobbyist photographer’s point of view anyway).

Vancouver Skyline
Before the show

Before the China Fireworks #3
Almost show time; the last few boats are making their way to their “seats”

China Fireworks #1

China Fireworks #13

China Fireworks #21

China Fireworks - Finale
Finale

Boat Frenzy
Boating frenzy after the fireworks

BUTCHART GARDENS

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens has got to be one of the most famous gardens in the world. It’s HUGE and, I must admit that the landscaping is quite impressive, even for a guy like me who’s not usually into flowers — except the fake ones, which require no maintenance whatsoever. :p

Since it is located on Vancouver Island and about three hours away from downtown Vancouver (more like four hours if you’re going by bus), I suggest you go to this beautiful garden as part of a more general two day outing to Victoria, the province’s capital. It can easily be done in one day, of course, but I personally don’t like to rush things and it’s not like it’s the only attraction around the area either.

English Daisies
English Daisies

Sunken Garden
The Sunken Garden

Tulips Kissing
Kiss kiss

3 Sturgeons #1
Sturgeon Fountain

Tunnel Of Thorns
A little too early in the season to see the roses in full bloom

Ross Fountain
Ross Fountain

Floating Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms leftovers

Star Pond
Star Pond

Lookout #2
Window into Butchart Cove

Cost
As of this writing, tickets can cost as much as $26.50 per person, depending on the season. It’s not cheap, but I still think it’s worth it, especially during Spring time or early Summer. Another cost you’ll have to think about is the ferry too. It costs $13 per person (one way) to go from Vancouver to Victoria (well, officially, from the “Tsawwassen” ferry terminal to the “Swartz Bay” ferry terminal. Both are around 45 minutes from Vancouver and Victoria, respectively). Oh, and it costs 43$ extra to board the ferry with a car — but I don’t have to worry about that myself. ;) Click the following links to see the official, current rates for both Butchart Gardens and the ferry.

Directions
Going by bus (from Downtown Vancouver): Take the 98 B-Line South and get off at the Airport Station to switch over to the 620 bus that will take you to the Tsawwassen ferry. Once you arrive at Swartz Bay, grab the #75 bus line to get to Butchart Gardens.

Going by car (from Downtown Vancouver): Follow these directions to get to the Tsawwassen ferry and these ones to get to the Butchart Gardens, from Swartz Bay.

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16TH ANNUAL CONCERTS IN THE COVE

Every Friday night, from mid-July to mid-August, people can enjoy live music for free in the great setting that is Deep Cove’s Panorama Park.  This concert series is simply called “Annual Concerts in the Cove” (click here for details on this and more), and it features a different style of music every week.  I went to see a very entertaining performance by Jake & Elwood’s Blues Brothers Revue a couple of weeks ago:

Blues Brothers #1
Jake & Elwood on fire on stage

Robot Steps
Robot steps

Kickin' it
Kickin’ it

Panorama Park
Panorama Park

"Do the Chicken!"
“Do the chicken!” — look at the smiles on those kids’ faces! :)  Great fun for all

Blues Brothers #2
These guys did an excellent job covering the Blues Brothers :)

There are three more concerts to come:

– VOC Soul Gospel Choir (Gospel, August 1st)
– Mariachi del Sol (Mexican, August 8th)
– Gary Comeau & the Voodoo All-Stars (Cajun, August 15th)

If these musical styles fit your interests, go check them out — it’s free! :)

Deep Cove Marina
The Deep Cove Marina

CARIBBEAN DAYS FESTIVAL – MULTICULTURAL STREET PARADE

Queen Of Samba #2
The Queen of Samba is thoroughly enjoying this parade, and so are we

The “Caribbean Days Festival” was happening this weekend, in North Van, and although there were many activities to choose from, I only attended the Multicultural Street Parade, before the light rain “scared” me and my camera away (my girlfriend says she’s lower maintenance than my camera, lol; but in my defense, she wasn’t too keen on being under the rain with no umbrella either ;) ).

It was a short, but lively parade full of colors, rythm and sexy costumes.

Sexy Black
Sexy!

Colorful Dancers
Colorful dancers

Jamaica, Man
Jamaica!

Red Angel
Red angel

Black Manta
What is this “costume” called? All I know is it looks impressive!

Sexy
Another sexy pose

Silver
Silver all over, except the hands (why?)

Shake Those Hips
Shake that booty

Attitude
Attitude

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CRITICAL MASS BIKE RIDE – JULY 2008

Helmets
Mass of bikers momentarily stuck next to Science World

Apparently, the critical mass bike ride concept has been around for some years, but only last month did I hear about it for the first time.  It’s a simple, no frills gathering of bike lovers who take to the big city streets in an effort to assert their right to the road.  It typically occurs every last Friday of the month.  No one officially leads those rides and that’s part of the beauty of the event.  Some people take the opportunity to dress up their bikes (or themselves) for the occasion.  On the road, “corkers” — volunteer road blockers — block side streets when needed to ensure that the steady flow of bikers does not get stopped by passing motorists.  The police (on bicycle) also rides alongside the group to keep a close eye on potential problems.

Gathering
Gathering at the Vancouver Art Gallery, around 5:30PM

Funky Wheels
Funky wheels

Hastings Mass #1
Going down Hastings, early on

Fat Wheels
Fat wheels

From what I saw today, motorists are not necessarily fond of “CM’ers”…  Sure, there were a few cheerful honks from passing cars also, but they mostly came from the ones going in the opposite direction, unencumbered by the mass.  “CM’ers” often use the catch phrase “We’re not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic!” to justify their activity.  But when one sees the group come to a complete stop on both Burrard and Lions Gate bridges, for no apparent reason, one cannot help but wonder if some people are not taking this a little too far.  Well, I wasn’t at the front of the pack; maybe there was a reason to justify the pauses, I don’t know…  Let me know if you do know what caused those halts. ;)

Aggressive Driver
An agressive driver, quickly overwhelmed by the mass of bikers

Wave Your Bikes In The Air!
“Wave your bikes in the air!”

End Of The Line
The Critical Mass Bike Ride ended on Lions Gate Bridge, no less, blocking both sides for a few minutes :s

Downhill Biking?
Downhill Biking?! :s  Ballet on wheels?! :s  Some people can’t wait to go to the after-ride party ;)

Overall, it was a fun, casual ride along some popular streets.  One CM’er had brought his portable stereo which added some ambiance to the ride.  The different outfits some people — and bikes — had was fun too.  I left too early to see how the after-ride party went (at The ANZA Club — people went there by bike also, of course).  Somehow I believe it was a blast.  Maybe next time. ;)

2008 JAZZ FEST – SLIDING HAMMERS

Yaletown Splash
Once in a while they open some fire hydrant valves that shoot up in the sky and give us a spectacular show!

Last weekend Gastown was the stage for the free shows and this past weekend it was Yaletown’s turn.  The weather was perfect.  Well, maybe a little too hot?  on Saturday, me and my friends tried to find a spot in the shade with a decent view on the stage, but of course, they were all taken…

 Too Hot to Handle
The shade was our best friend this weekend — it was HOT!!!

Free Jazz at David Lam Park
The David Lam Park in Yaletown.  That ice cream vendor is sure to make a buck sooner than later! ;)

After roasting in the Sun for about 30 minutes, we decided to head to the indoor stage.  A show was already on and, since spots away from the Sun were on high demand, I only managed to sneak way back in the room, with a wooden pillar right in my face. :s  The band Sliding Hammers was playing:

Sliding Hammers
Swedish sisters Mimmi Pettersson Hammar and Karin Hammar

Sliding Hammers
A fine piano solo just ended

I especially liked Ronnie Gardiner, the drummer, from which you could feel a deep sense of joy through his playing (not that the others weren’t having fun — they were; it was just most apparent in him).  He was all smiles and sooo relaxed behind his drum set whether it was a mellow song or playing through a solo.  Going to live shows is so much fun when you can feel that energy emanating from the band/artist.  It was a very enjoyable show with great music and good laughs listening to the comments the sisters had for us in-between songs.

Official Website