Sat 24 Mar 2012 ca. 12:45 pm Lonsdale & Esplanade
An urgent thrum of traffic barreling along Esplanade in front of me. But now, with a green light for Lonsdale, there is the electronic cuckoo of the pedestrian signal. And before I could finish that sentence, the light has changed again and the determined roar of hurrying vehicles streams through the intersection. A busy thoroughfare, stressful to be near.
The sky is clear but for a few smudgy wisps of cloud hanging over Vancouver. The sun is bright and a cool fresh breeze whips past, gusting up and down. I’m on a bench of steel coated with black plastic. The sidewalk here is a wide generous curve offering plenty of space between the curb and the recessed doorway of Tradwinds Real Estate, current occupants of the maybe 110-year-old 2-story building, now set with large shop-windows in its pale-green walls.
Pedestrians move in small knots, mainly downhill across Esplanade, as though en route to Lonsdale Quay or the SeaBus. Now Asian girls are crossing to the cuckoo sound. A few cars shoot across the level intersection to the final short block of Lonsdale down to the waterfront. The cuckoo is brief: Esplanade is the artery here. But now it beeps again, sending 6 more people across, while 3 more, again Asian, all in black jackets and blue jeans, await the next crossing.
The sun glares above the new Pinnacle Hotel diagonally opposite me, the glass-paneled 12-story building casting a shadow over 2/3 of the intersection. A skateboarder rolls swiftly past; a woman pushing a stroller follows slowly. A #239 Park Royal bus lumbers by on my left, growling a puff of diesel into the air.
Cuckoo, cuckoo . . .