& I went looking for an apartment towards Chinatown which is 10 blocks
West of here and we had a lot of fun. He found a 4 leaf clover and let
me wish on it. I wished hard and felt bad because I really sucked all the
luck out of it. When we get to Chinatown’s mainstreet the first thing we
did was step into a porn theatre by accident. He thought it was a pizza
joint. I said “nono, you don’t want any of this pizza.” It was just the
lobby where they sold pizza so he didn’t see anything and I don’t think
he can make out words like “orgasmia.” (I don't even know what that means,
myself) The rest of Chinatown is really nice.
Vancouver’s just like this. There’s no real separation between neighbourhoods but somehow everybody behaves. Right after the porn theatre are some really posh businesses. Fish mongers in really posh aprons weighing things on small scales. Maybe exotic fish. We tried to guess what Chinese characters meant, which are evolved diagrams, you know. It was very touristy and there was all middle class people shopping right among junkies and stuff. But I should have wised up after I saw the guy holding a syringe.
So I’m trying to head away from the guy holding a syringe and turn onto Main street towards Hastings. After I saw some puke on the ground I got a little sick and scared and tried to head Jakob towards a bus stop. Then some guy yells “aw fuck” and starts to pee on the library. This is a very busy street by the way. So I’m pushing Jakob across the street but he has to slow down right by the guy offering computers out of his shopping cart. We run like hell to catch the bus. Jakob heads to the back of the bus while I’m paying and I’m pretty tense looking for something to distract Jakob who hasn’t really noticed as much as me, and mostly to distract me who has had enough. “Oh look, the police.” & there are 5 or 6 cops trying to pull some drunk up.
The guy beside Jakob on the bus decides to explain to us that he’s been drinking rice wine, and how that kills you, and exactly how long it takes. “Oh,” I say politely but I’d rather not know. Then Jakob indicates to me that he doesn’t understand how you can get drunk on rice. So another guy on my side explains it to us, reiterating what the first guy said and adding a few points like: “Its not like back in the 80s when you could just get Listerine or Scope. This stuff’ll kill you.” “Oh,” I say. “I’m just telling you this so you can pass the information on to your son.” “Oh,” I say.
Well we got out of there. It was a very exciting day for us and I hope you are all having a chuckle right now. There’s amazingly not a whole lot of sadness in this, the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. There is but everyone just seems to take it in stride. Maybe its because we only go out on sunny days, maybe it’s the mountains or the ocean air. I don’t know how to explain it. It just seems sort of safe for the bystander, a fairy- tale, heroin infested storybook. I just don’t think anybody is walking around unaware of these things like in Edmonton where you have to avoid these neighbourhoods. Everywhere on the East side famous posh touristy streets run side by side the really famous bad ones but nobody crosses the boundaries. Its just so organized. I should be scared of summer coming up but I think that we are known enough in this neighbourhood to be watched over by our neighbours who Jakob goes to school with or we shop from etc.
I had thought of sending this letter to Mum as well, believing that she’d forget, but it looks to me to be pretty thick with what she’d think of as bad news.