30 July 2012

What it's like to travel with The Historian

...aka "Why we went to Sears during our weekend in Vancouver."


During the years The Historian and I have been together, he has learned to put up with my idiosyncrasies, from loathing beer (which he helped me learn to like) to the fact that I sang along to old country songs that were being played in a Nashville bar (so much for my sophisticated reputation!), to my girlish delight in a good toenail color.  He also backed me up when my BFF didn't believe me that Mauro Rosales (sigh) winked at me when we were at the game super early. 

I've learned to find endearing that being a historian means he has an emotional attachment to things that I will (mostly) never understand, that his love for me means he sometimes won't make a decision because he wants me to cue him in first about what makes me happy, and that he may not be an artist or write sappy poetry but he shows his love by cooking for me and making sure that I only rarely have to clean up cat vomit.  Win.

When we travel, I want tranquility, to be nudged out of my comfort zone, and to hang with the locals.  The Historian is less likely to chat with total strangers than I am, but I admire his willingness to climb up yet another Mayan ruin in sweltering heat of the jungle.  And then talk our guide into posing with Pooh at the top of said building.

Xuantunich, Belize. 

Another aspect of our travels is that we take a lot of photos of buildings.  After reviewing our album of our trek through Eastern Europe, for example, my sister pointed out that there were only a handful of photos with people in them.  And maybe three of us. I don't even want to think about what that says about our priorities!

The Historian takes photos of buildings in a way that he is accustomed to documenting them for work - they are beautiful, meaningful, odd, interesting.  I tend to focus on the details of the architecture, or photos of things that amuse me or tell a story. 

He probably won't believe me when I say this but his interpretations really make things interesting.  I envy him his ability to look at a building and tell you its life story.  He was able tell the owner of a historic farmhouse B&B how to renovate it without destroying its historic integrity. A friend just moved into a new apartment in the basement of a historic building and The Historian told him what the room had originally been used for.  And so on.

Which is a long build up to Sears.  We were wandering around Vancouver, BC and came to this, which was somehow super interesting.  Because its unusual. And before I knew it, we were inside going to the top floor to see if there were any original elements left intact.  There wasn't much that hadn't been genericized, but what else can be expected from a store where predictability is part of the brand?

Locals complain this is not "pedestrian friendly" and some want it torn down.


The main entrance - with lots of pedestrians.
I love the elevator navigation system! 
View from the sixth floor - which you have to contort yourself to see
because it is hidden behind shelves of toys.


This part of the main entrance has probably always been used as a cafe.

Sears will be closing this location by October, and debate is swirling about what should be done with the "ghastly eyesore" that is the building.  It is right across the street from the Art Museum, so some have suggested it would make good gallery space.  Other rumors suggest that Nordstrom will be moving there.  And here is another fun fact - Nordstrom doesn't have a presence in Canada - odd given the store's history, eh? 

Apparently not all travel adventures need to involve checking my shoes for tarantulas to be fun. At least The Historian never says "I told you so." 



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