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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Saturday, 22 February 2003
--> West End, Vancouver, Canada (day 3)

Let me report about my visit to the BCTV/GlobalTV studios where war rehearsals are going on strong and about the tour around Vancouver I had with my hostess.
Today would be my third day at Gail Edwin’s house in West End Vancouver. A few days have been added so I can handle some media stuff also.

This Saturday I had to appear in the studios of BCTV/GlobalTV in the eastern city Burnaby. How I would get there was a big question mark as the producer of the station told me they don’t really have any budget to get their guests there. But fortunately Gail helped me out. She was going to visit her brother and his wife and three kids today anyway, and dropping me off half an hour further was okay with her.

So around noon I arrived at the studios where I met up with weekend producer Terry McIsaac, who loved to get me on the Morning & Noon News Show. I was taken to the newsroom where the weather man was just presenting the latest weather info and I was introduced to the news desk anchor lady Sophie Lui.

It was fascinating that the whole station seemed to run bysome six people. It was the producer, the hostess and four people in the control room backstage. The three cameras in the studio were fully automatically in control by them.

I stuck the microphone on my clothing and was introduced live on air as “the world media calls him the professional freeloader”. So I had the usual talk with the hostess about my travels and she was keen on asking me where I’d be going next. “Well the plan is to visit Vancouver Island next week…” I said. “Do you have invites from Whistler?” she asked about the best rated ski resort of Canada. “No, none.” And then she did a call out to the viewers to not let this traveller skip beautiful Whistler.

Well, we’ll see if that helped a bit – next week…

After the three minute promo for my website the producer showed me around with a little tour and I said Hi to the folks in the control room. In the basement I could up a copy of the chat on video.

And it was at that time that everybody had to gather for something very important. It was time for ‘war rehearsal’. “War rehearsal?” I asked surprised. Producer Terry explained me that they have to run through the entire scenario to prepare on a sudden outbreak of a war in Iraq. And the odds are very clear that this will start off within a few weeks.

Terry showed me all the material they had collected so far. Of every flight carrier ship is footage, there is instant material of any royal palace in Iraq, of any jet fighter or troops movements. Everything is just waiting for someone to press the PLAY button.

It scared me enough to leave the studios. It is all very predictable, but I never guessed (I should have!) that this coming war is going to be another media war. What you see is what they get, based on footage and quotes by politicians who have no idea what they are doing anyway. So, that’s me going political again...

From the studios to Burnaby I had to get back to the Vancouver West End and I decided to take the skytrain. With the 20 dollar that Erich had donated me last night, I thought it was okay to use 2 dollar of it to get me back in town. The remaining 18 dollars should be enough for the ferry to Vancouver Island next week.

When Gail was back from her family visit, she invited me to come along for a city tour in her car. “Yes, because then you are ready to leave the city on Monday. You can’t leave without this!”

So I got my camera and hopped into her Volvo. The weather was perfect for this drive. We left West End through Stanley Park and crossed the water on the Lions Bridge and arrived in West Vancouver city.

Gail drove up halfway the first of the three mountains that can be seen from the city, Cypress Mountain. At a lookout halfway I was offered this fantastic view over Greater Vancouver!

I could see all the way to Surrey in the east, saw the airport south of the city and the Gulf Islands in the west. The hills visible south of the city where the mountains in the US-state Washington. It was breathtaking and I enjoyed making some photos. Wow!

Down below I had a quick peak in West Vancouver city, and I touched the water of the Pacific Ocean on Ambleside beach.

Gail skipped a visit to the second mountain, Grouse Mountain, as we can only get there by a 20-dollar cable car and that was not worth it today! So she drove on to the third mountain overlooking the east part of Vancouver, Mount Seymour. Before we got there, Gail also treated me on a coffee in the small touristy town Deep Cove, where we overlooked the calm waters of the Indian River.

Once at a lookout on Mount Seymour it was way colder than below and the extra fun part was: there was snow. There I was touching my first North American snow (and having a snowball fight with Gail). The sun was going down and coloured the sky purple. Oh, I’d never thought that it would end up as such a beautiful day when I woke up today with my bad hair day (photo) ;-) .

In the drive back home I enjoyed the sun going down in the Pacific Ocean while we listened to the rock station 104.9xfm on the car radio. And so we ended up in a conversation about music and particularly Canadian music. About how fed up Canadians are with their Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Nickelback and how Avril Lavigne, Sum 41 and Nelly Furtado are being the best selling Canadians at the moment.

Good day West End Vancouver!