Vancouver, Canada

If I were to move out of New York and live in another city, I'd definitely choose Vancouver. The gorgeous combination of the sea and the mountains make the city very picturesque and thus appealing to me. Where else could I find a major urban area blessed with such natural beauty? Besides, the weather is amiable: it is mild both in winter and summer. With a very good standard of living, I must say Vancouverites are a contented bunch.

It's not surprising therefore to find Vancouver among the most livable cities in the world. In a 2007 survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Vancouver ranked No. 3 behind Zurich and Geneva. Of course, this comes with a price: Vancouver is also ranked the 2nd most expensive Canadian city next to Toronto and 56th among cities all over the world (though better than New York at no. 15).

This is my third visit to Vancouver. Jojo, my good friend from our good old days in Jeddah, has always been my gracious host whenever I'm here. He now lives right in the center of the city, still convenient from the airport even as I arrived after 1:00 a.m. on a direct flight via Cathay Pacific from New York.

We actually spent our weekend away from Vancouver - some 125 kms. up north, in the resort town of Whistler. It's not that I'm done with sightseeing in Vancouver. In fact, the moment we got back from Whistler, we decided to walk as what they love doing here. And see more.

As I've discovered during my first visit, the people here are really outdoorsy. They bike, hike, rollerblade or even ski at nearby Grouse Mountain (some even after a 9-5 work!). So it comes natural that I get the itch, well, at least to walk. And walk we did. We started from Gastown to see the Steam Clock, passed by Canada Place where those cruise liners dock, bumped into the shopping crowd at Robson Street and into the restaurant row of Denman Street. From where Denman and Davie Streets intersect, we hit English Bay Beach and strolled the seawall promenade towards the sylvan setting of Stanley Park.

Another great memorable day in Vancouver. How I wish I live here.

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