The Beginning

Alright then. We have a travel journal. A full two days before we’ve traveled anywhere.

Well I suppose that isn’t strictly true. We have left the island for the not-so-sunny shores of Vancouver. Principally we’re here to gather our Thai visas, which I am extremely happy to say is a task we have completed succesfully this morning around 11:00 o’clock.

I am extremely keen to have gotten our visas. Partly due to the fact that if something had gone wrong in the visa-getting process we’d be in a very unconfortable position right now. But I’m also happy because I’ve never gotten a visa before and they seem very much part of the realm of Graham Greene and young french foreign correspondents.

The visa itself is very pretty with the King’s ensignia (left) emblazoned in a couple of different places.

There is, actually, a panoply of information I could impart here. We have been very busy in Vancouver both in terms of preparing for the trip and just enjoying the sights and tastes of the city.

Today we hit up the BC art museum which I always enjoy. I have discovered over the last few years that while I have a school-boys distaste for classic art alot of the contemprary stuff really turns me on. Although the principle gallary was a display of Emily Carr’s paintings and I have to admit I like her stuff alot. I guess I feel more at home among the swirling shapes of the forest and the sky than I do among the subjects of most classical artists.

Yesterday we managed to make the treck from granville island where we had lunch over to science world. We wanted to check out body worlds. Chiefly due to Meghan’s (I spelled that right yeah?) eagre description of the exhibit. I have to say, it was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had in my life.

Science world is always smaller and more kiddy than I remember it being (you know, back when expo was on). So it was doubly odd to walk past all the bright colours and waist high human beings into the darkened hall of exposed human insides. A quick catch-up for those who don’t know what body worlds is: take one crazy german anatomist born a few hundred years out of his time, a sophisticated plastification process, and some human cadavours, mix well, and flavour to creepy. I would go into more details about how the process works or what the end result is like but I really can’t do it justice.

My favorite line from body world’s wikipedia page is:

“The archer is posed in a crouch after releasing the bow string. Her brain is situated above her skull for easy viewing.”

Actually I will talk a little bit about my favorite part of the exibit, which was the head pictured there on the left.

Gunther von Hagens (the out-of-time german responsible) pumped plastic into the arteries that feed the brain, face, and head of one of his human subjects. He then removed the rest of the bits of human with a “physical as well as chemical process” to leave behind only the circulatory system of the human head. What results was really amazing. The the delecacy of the blood vessels was astounding as their tributaries split and arced out to form a perfect reliefe of the human head.

The division between the outside and the inside of the head was clear. The outside of the skull was covered in a fine spiderweb fed only by occasional streams flowing out of the few holes in the human skull. The brain was a completely seperate rats-nest seperated by a layer of now missing skull several centimeters thick. Looking at the brain this way was just amazing! You could see the ridges, and the hollow of the ventricles deep inside. The blood vessels tightened and tangled as they reached the division of the two hemispheres and then plunged away out of sight; two delicate maelstroms perfectly sperated by just millimeters. It was really a fantastic thing to behold.

I highly recomend everyone see the exibit. It is truly remarkable. It very fundamentaly changed how I think about parts of my body. Especially my lungs, which I used to think of as kind of baloony things but now I think of as kind of spongy things.

Anyway tomorrow I wait, hopefully, for my laptop to arrive here in Vancouver. I’ll let you know how that turns out. And after that, Thailand!



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