Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
October 25, 2004
With that said, the day we took our walking tour was drizzly, gray, and cold. Our particular guide lacked the enthusiasm of a good story teller. A younger man, he seemed almost embarrassed of his position as our group's leader. Early on, his presentation made me think of a biography about Napolean that I could never quite finish... How does a writer make Napolean into an uninteresting character? How in the world does a guide make a tour of Vancouver Chinatown--a place rich with history, conflict, and culture--almost too dry to enjoy?
At times, the guide would want to talk a lot--like in the museum where the tour started. Yet here I would have rather read the information myself because we could have moved quicker. Then, when we were outside where there were no signs, the guide would get quiet!! Hmmm...
Still, there were moments of interest. The tour did offer some information that I found very interesting. The surname "help" societies that the guide pointed out are a good example. Apparently, if you have a certain last name and you move to Chinatown, there might be a "help" society that will give you aid until you're settled!
In truth, I believe our group in general was a bit let down by the guide. Here I remember thinking whomever said Americans are rude should reconsider. I believe most of our stoic bunch followed the guide to the bitter end out of a sincere sense of good manners.
Bottom line? This tour might be better with a different guide, but not on a rainy day. Maybe our guide just had the mood of the sky against him.
From journal Very Vancouver
October 2, 2004
The first thing we did was spend some time in the Cutlural Center Museum.
It was interesting, although not well organized. The bulk of the collection was of photographs from different decades in Chinatown. They had some artifacts, but not as many as I would have liked to see. I would have enjoyed seeing more how the people who lived here worked, played, and lived. We spent too much time in the museum.
Our guide took us around the streets and we learned the sometimes sad history. During its early years, the area actually had gates to keep people in.
We also saw some fun things, like the small Sam Kee Building, which is only 6-feet wide and is on record as the narrowest building in the world. We saw the colorful Millennium gate on Pender Street. We learned about the colors and the symbols on the gate. The gate is very new, as it was dedicated in 2002. We saw the beautiful West Han Dynasty Bell that was gift from the city of Guangzhou.
I enjoyed going through the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens.
This was a peaceful and tranquil spot in the middle of busy and often hectic Chinatown. Some of the rock formations actually came from China. It's a peaceful place built around a small pond. Our day was gray and wet, but I could only imagine how great it would be to just sit and relax here on a sunny, warm day.
We then hit the markets, my favorite part. This Chinatown has very few tacky tourist gift shops. This large area is where Chinese people really come to shop and work. The markets had lots of exotic fruits, but also some strange items like dried snake skins.
We got to visit a small Tao temple that was located on the second floor of a commercial building. It was somewhat ugly from the outside, but bright and colorful inside. The guide showed us how to pray and how to tell fortunes.
The tour was interesting and I felt I learned a lot about the struggles of early Chinese people here in Canada. I realized how similar their struggles were here and in the U.S. However, they have not only survived, but they have flourished and now are building a proud history.
The tour could have been about a half-hour shorter. The rain did not help with the atmosphere. The tour gave me new respect for what these people had to go through to get where they are today.
From journal Meeting IGO UGO North of the Border
by Wildcat Dianne
September 29, 2004
Ellen and I met at her hotel and took a taxi cab to Chinatown since the valet said it would take about an hour to walk there, and he was concerned about her bad ankle. So, after taking the cab to Chinatown, we met our fellow Igougo guides and waited a while in the rain for our guide to take us around.
We started the tour in the museum of Chinese Culture and History in the Cultural Center. It showed a very interesting exhibit of the Chinese miners, who first came to Vancouver, followed by the Chinese who served in the First and Second World Wars, and the Chinese in Vancouver today.
After the museum tour, we began the walk all over Chinatown. Our guide was a young man named Ken who was very knowledgable about Vancouver's Chinatown, but seemed to be a reluctant guide to a bunch of Americans. Anytime one of us asked a question, he would tell us to read the plaque of the sight we were at. I asked him how the 1907 riots started, and he said, "Look at the plaque." There was nothing about the cause of the riots on the plaque. I found out later from Ellen that the riots were caused because the Chinese couldn't take being confined in a gated and locked area of town with bad sanitation and food.
I learned a little about the Founding Fathers of Chinatown and the buildings throughout. Chinatown has the narrowest building in the world, which is only six feet wide.
It was rainy and cold through most of the walk, and my legs were starting to feel it. I felt relieved when we finally got back to the Cultural Center and rode back to our hotels. Next time, I will tour Vancouver's Chinatown on my own because I felt I missed a lot of history and culture by taking this tour.
From journal "I Have a Feeling I'm Not in Idaho Anymore, Loki!"--My Trip to Vancouver.