Some times you need distance to gain perspective on your city. I love Vancouver, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to it’s shortcomings. We don’t seem to be able to gather as a community unless there are big things to celebrate, Olympics, or big things to commiserate over, hockey.
In Istanbul last night there were more people on the street for a Friday night stroll than I’ve seen in my neighbourhood in the past two years.
There were boys arm in arm waving their football team flags (Turkey vs Germany), girls with their heads pressed together giggled their way through the crowds, and women in the hijab held each others hands and threaded their way past footballers, pubbers, and foreigners.
I got the sense that there are as many Istanbuls as there are people who live here.
Like Istanbul, Vancouver is a beautiful port city with a mash of cultures seeming to bring out the best in each other. But unlike Istanbul I don’t think Vancouver could keep a big secret. We walked through the Basilica Cistern. It is a vast underground water cistern that was built in 532. Apparently when the Ottomans tok over the city nobody bothered to tell them about it. It took the 100 years to find it. They found it only after the discovered that locals had been drawing water and fishing from it be dropping buckets into it through holes in their basements. I can’t imagine Vancouver keeping a secret that big.