Wheelchairs to Vancouver

Since I was tagging along on Scott‘s trip to a conference in Vancouver, it seemed a good opportunity to bring my 94-year-old mother to her hometown and to visit her son/my brother nearby in Squamish. She’s practically deaf and moving so slowly that travel on her own is getting impractical, if not almost impossible.

Negotiating through the airport was going to be the biggest challenge but it got a lot more challenging after Scott fell off our back deck and injured himself. He already has bad knees, now he made himself even less mobile.

The morning of our departure, Scott enhanced his “I need medical assistance look” by cutting himself on the chin shaving. The bleeding would not stop so he went to the airport with a fat pad of gauze taped to his chin.

We arranged for two wheelchairs to transfer the nonagenarian and the injured from the airport doors to the airplane gate.

I was part of the wheelchair group. It was great skipping to the front of the queue at security but I also had to deal with putting through my mother’s bag of liquids, her carry on, her coat, her personal item and her walking sticks as well as my own tote, coat and carry on bag.

But we arrived at the boarding gate in fairly short order without incidents. As we were waiting, my mother announced in a very loud voice, “I need something to eat. I haven’t eaten anything.” This was not true as she had earlier said she had an apple but she’s diabetic so no doubt needed more to eat. I suggested a muffin, but she wanted popcorn—great healthy breakfast choice.

I hoped others around us did not think me guilty of elder abuse. I wanted to hang a sign on her that stated she is living independently and her failure to eat a proper breakfast was not my fault.

The flight went well although my mother would not put on a mask during the flight because she had to eat her popcorn.

Boarding with two people in wheelchairs got us onto the plane early but once we landed, we were the last off. Boeing 737s hold a lot of people. The wheelchair service in Vancouver was different. My mother got a wheelchair from the plane up the ramp to the terminal. Scott struggled his way up the ramp on his own rather than wait for another wheelchair. Once there, she and Scott were loaded onto a golf cart like vehicle and taken to the security gate. From there, they were put back into wheelchairs where they were taken to the exit doors nearest the taxis. One chair had no place for bags so I had to drag my mother’s wheeled carry on bag. Luckily, I was using a backpack for my carry on. Pulling two wheeled bags would have been awkward, not to mention hard on my wimpy arms.

My brother and sister-in-law met us at the Pan Pacific hotel, where we had a late lunch. And where my mother again loudly announced that she needed to eat.

After my mother left with my brother and sister-in-law for their place, we went to our hotel room which had a nice view of Coal Harbour.

Scott removed the gauze on his chin to find it was still bleeding. Somewhere in transit we lost the extra bandages we grabbed at home at the last minute. So I headed out to get first aid supplies and some wine—which maybe also qualified as first aid supplies.

Walking near Coal Harbour:

I found a Brunello di Montalcino that I had not tried.

Dinner was at Joe Fortes, a long time Vancouver seafood restaurant that we try to get to whenever we’re in Vancouver.

While eating our starter salads, Scott’s chin started bleeding through his bandage and running down his neck. Attempts to get it to stop did not succeed and of course, we had left the newly bought first aid supplies at the hotel.

We got the rest of our order packed up to go and returned to the hotel. We patched up Scott’s chin and had dinner in our room. Not elegant, but tasty.

Polysporin and a night’s sleep seemed to have healed Scott’s wound so he spent the day at his conference without more bleeding.

I had no real plans. After brunch, I spent a good hour or more at an art supply store looking around, trying to decide what I would like to purchase, and watching as canvas got stretched onto frames.

I then went to a used book store.

This was one of those great but horrifying stores where there are tons of books, little organization, stacks of books in front of other stacks of books and shelves so high it is impossible to read the titles. More than once I feared I would sent a cascade of books to the floor because I bumped a haphazardly piled tower.

I looked mainly at philosophy, history and art books. Over three hours later, I bought only one book printed in 1956 about Piero della Francesca, an early Renaissance painter whose works are mainly outside major centres in Italy. One work of his is in the National Gallery in London. Seeing his work in Arezzo is on my bucket list for sometime after 2023, The text in the book is translated from the 1954 Italian work by Lionello Venturi. Venturi was an art history professor who was forced to resign his chair because he refused to swear allegiance to Mussolini. After moving to Paris and New York, he returned to Italy after the war. He was an Italian Renaissance specialist but probably best known for his work on Paul Cézanne.

Back at the hotel, I tried out some of my newly purchased art supplies.

I forgot to take photos of dinner.

I’m also enjoying this book Young Bellini by Daniel Maze. It’s a revision of the widely held belief about the familial relations amongst the Bellini family, the most famous early Renaissance Venetian painters. Jacopo Bellini has long been believed to have been the father of Giovanni and Gentile Bellini but Maze argues, relying on legal documents, that Giovanni was Jacopo’s half-brother, 30 or so years younger. Based on Giovanni’s estimated birth year, Maze also argues for re-dating some works and attributing them to the young Giovanni.

My phone says I walked over 13,000 steps on Friday but that doesn’t account for all the crouching as I tried to read the spines of books stacked on the floor at the bookstore. My legs definitely had a workout. I needed to get off my feet. Scott was still out at his conference dinner when I went to bed.

Saturday morning while Scott was back at his conference, I worked on my Italian homework.

With no printer, I worked on my iPad but without the Apple pen, so did the writing with finger tip which is untidy looking.

Scott and I met for lunch where we ate on a semi enclosed patio that was plenty warm. Earlier that morning, we learned it had snowed in Calgary.

Scott needed to do some work so I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Amidst the market was a rally, I think, in support of the protests in Iran. Not sure because the speakers weren’t speaking English.

The main exhibition was entitled Uninvited. It featured Canadian women artists who had been overlooked as artists because they were women. It was sad. A lot of them were not recognized during their lifetime and many either quit as artists or had little time for art because they had families and households taking up their time.

Anne Savage
Isabel McLaughlin
Florence Wyle

Another exhibit was the photos and videos of Jin-Mi Yoon, a Korean Canadian artist. The themes were about the death and destruction of natural habitats in South Korea and the West Coast of Canada. Another sad theme.

More cheerier views of Coal Harbour:

We met law school friends for dinner at Fanny Bay Oyster Bar, which is near BC Place and Rogers Arena, where that night Elton John was giving a concert and the Vancouver Canucks were playing a hockey game, respectively. The streets were busy. It also meant that the restaurant, which is small, was busy and noisy but became a lot quieter after 8 pm when both events started.

I’m out of travel practice and forgot to take photos. I had a cioppino which, unlike the one from Joe Fortes, came with half an unshelled crab along with scallops, prawns, fish, and julienned vegetables in a tomato seafood broth. Very messy. Luckily I removed my pale silk scarf before eating but I may need to buy a new white travel shirt.

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