Week 1, Experiencing Canada
Another week passed by like a breeze. It seems the world here is such a rush I never get to write about what we actually do. By now we’ve been living in our own apartment for a week, time really flies here. I’m going to give a brief overview of how our first week was like. My memory though might be a bit blurry at times, but that shouldn’t hurt the story.
On the second day in Vancouver we had breakfast in the Cambie Bakery and first went looking around for some things. What exactly I can not for the life of me recall. I think it was a padlock for the locker in our room at the Cambie. After that we went to find lunch and went to Z2H for our first day there. We got a place to sit and some things to read about some of the projects we’ll be working on: an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) for Continuum, a sci fi series set the premier at the end of this month, and an ARG for Animism, Zeros 2 Heroes’ own transmedia property.
After a short while we got notified that we’d be working on Saturday at the Vancouver Fan Expo, which is basically Canada’s Comic Con. It turned out to that we’d be the rabbit hole for the Continuum ARG there. We were to play members of a radical political group called Liber8 and crash the Fan Expo. So that day was filled with reading scripts and the series’ bible; getting up to speed for the project we’d be working on. On that same day the Canucks, Vancouver’s ice hockey team, played what many thought to be their last match of the season. A bit of context: ice hockey is basically Canada’s football. Not too long ago riots broke out in Vancouver over a lost hockey game. Maybe Canada and the Netherlands are more alike than we thought…
That evening, wanting to eat at an actual restaurant, we dined at a local, unaffiliated Mexican place. These seem to be rare here. The food though was very tasty. And we could enjoy/witness the Vancouver Canucks Ice hockey game. After that we wandered into the lesser parts of town: Chinatown to be precise. Not that we get scared of a drug dealer or a homeless person though, those aren’t that surprising to us. Other than that it was a wonderful walk: the streets just breathe China, even the streetlights.
The next day consisted of more reading, a lot more reading, so that we could prepare ourselves. We thought we’d also ask people at the studio if there are any neighborhoods that are dangerous to wander in to, to which Nik, the studio manager, replied: “you’re three healthy young guys, and not small guys either, I don’t think anyone will want to rob you. There are way easier targets out there.”. They also told us we could take it easy on being in the office that week, since they figured we’d need some time to adjust to the change of time. So we did, well, not really. It seems to be our biggest downfall that we like talking to people, so we mostly spent time chatting with our co-workers instead of going away early and catching some rest.
After being done with that we went to find a place to get sim cards so that we could use our phones. We figured that would be a clever thing to do. Though little did we know how bad it is arranged in Canada for mobile traffic. For us, getting a prepaid card is as easy as walking into a store and buying one from the network you like. Here… not so much. First thing we learned is that some telephone providers have complete sleazeballs working for them. They’re a bit too pushy, and in that sense feel fishy. The second thing we learned, prepaid is called Pay as You Go, and the money you add to the account only stays valid for a month. After that you need to put money on your account again. Even more backwards is that you pay for incoming calls. So all providers get paid twice per call. Nice for them, but not for us though. After a long walk past every telecom provider in town – there are no stores like Belcompany that have everything – we made a decision, only to find out that the stores with very big network logos are not the real stores, they are resellers and charge 35 dollars extra. The real stores are these little kiosks in the mall. I still do not understand this, it’s really, really strange.
After that we walked into a grocery store in Canada for the first time. They are, at least in downtown Vancouver, not that different than what we are used to, although it is much more common to have two floors in a grocery store, which has more to do with how the buildings are set up. Another thing that is quite different is the way the vegetables are presented. Every store has a irrigation system that keeps the vegetables wet. I guess it is to keep them fresh. I have no clue if it has actually any use or that they do this just for show. It looks very nice though, and gives the impression that the stores care about their products. This meant we tried our first self cooked dinner at the hostel, which went paired with a lot of cussing at the electric stove and dull knives. Well, mostly that was me, Isaak and Sinne are less used to luxury kitchen than I am I guess (Isaak: but you’ve already begun educating us).. On the other hand, vegetables are really good and tasty here. They have a lot more flavor than the ones you can find in the Netherlands, even compared to organic.
The rest of our week can be read here in the next few day’s, if our work schedule permits it that is.