Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chinatown restaurant

Chinatown restaurant --
a cook stands in the kitchen
gazing out the window

Hayin is from Beijing and she wants to go to a real Chinese restaurant in Vancouver's Chinatown. From the YMCA Hotel, we walk a few blocks to the SkyTrain and Gabe purchases our tickets.

Then we climb the stairs to the elevated platform.

A lot of Asians on the train, including a woman from India who seems to be meditating.

A Chinese man wearing a "36th Elderly Gathering" key neck strap. 

And a beaming Hayin.

When we exit, we have a great view of the Vancouver skyline, with high rises and blue mountains on the horizon. 

Hayin leads us to a shopping mall, where a produce market is just closing up for the night. Everything in Chinatown shuts down after 6:30 pm. All the retail stores in the mall are closed, like this one with packages of dried mushrooms and some vegetable I don't recognize, imported from China.

But the restaurant we're looking for is open and we're soon seated at a big round table. 

Hayin happily translates from the menu and suggests her favorite dishes.

Lots of different delicious dishes, which we all sample.

On the way back we pass through a plaza with a mysterious green head peeking around the corner.

It's a copper statue of a nude woman with outstretched arms balanced on a pedestal above a pool of water.

From a different angle I notice an amusing juxtaposition. Her hand appears to be patting the head of a kitchen worker taking a break on a bench outside another Chinese restaurant. Reality depends on your perspective!

When we return to the YMCA hotel, a group of Chinese children with their chaperones are just checking in. What are those strange orange caps they're wearing, with wings, animal ears and eye glasses?

On March 28, 2014, just a couple of weeks before our trip, the Vancouver Sun reported that 43% of the residents of Metro Vancouver have an Asian heritage, making it the most "Asian" city outside of Asia. And they ask, what are the ramifications? 
          In August 2014, the South China Morning Post World ran an article that addressed that issue. In a 2013 report to the Canadian Immigration Department, Daniel Hiebert, a geographer at the University of British Columbia, concluded that Vancouver is "likely to have a social geography that is entirely new to Canadian society . . . with a degree of racial segregation that would approach that between blacks and whites in the America." However, he noted that "it is hard to think that ethnocultural enclaves would have a negative impact on society." 
          Let us hope that ethnocultural differences will actually have a positive impact on society.

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