Ask anyone who has been there, or even seen pictures of Vancouver, and they will tell you it is beautiful. It is called the City of Glass and is perfectally framed by a backdrop of mountains to the north. Obviously, I would not be one to disagree with that claim; however, there are other parts of Vancouver that are not quite as beautiful. On Sunday, September 28th, we headed to the downtown eastside (DTES) to discover a part of the city that has become both famous and notorious.
We began the day with a great lunch in Chinatown. It is not everyday that I get to eat steamed dumplings! Then we proceeded to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park for instructions on that day’s activities. The park was quiet retreat that honored both one of China’s great 20th century leaders and the significant Chinese heritage in Vancouver. While we were there we gathered together and Amy Hunter (a Nieucommunities staffer) split us into groups of three and gave each of us a map. For the next few hours we were to follow the map around the city to experience its diversity and culture through sights, sounds, tastes, and even smells (and there were many!). Colletta was grouped with Amber and I and our journey began going back into Chinatown. If you want to follow our exact route you can follow it on Google maps. We went up Pender St., turned left on Gore Ave., left on E. Hastings, right on Abbott St., left on Water St. all the way to Canada Place.
The three of us probably spent 45 min. to an hour going up Pender St. We had a blast! It was so much fun going into the little Chinese bakeries and finding interesting and delicious things to eat. I found steamed buns in one (actually in many), something that I would eat for breakfast every morning when I went to China. Amber bought a puff pastry that she got everywhere because it was huge, flaky, and covered in powdered sugar! I do wish I had a picture of that! Colletta got one of the best Chinese deserts I had ever tasted. It was sort of like a canoli, only it had a lot of almond in it and it was dipped in chocolate on one side. The areas was very busy and full of locals and tourists alike. One thing that I did notice that stood out to me was that it seemed the local Chinese population was quite elderly. It didn’t seem like there were many younger people in the area. Perhaps they have moved to different areas of the city. In any case, it was just a curious observation.
when we were suppose to meet back together at Victoria Park. Talk about coming back in a different mood.
A couple of the girls were still crying because of what they had witnessed that day. It was incredible, but we had to keep asking ourselves what is God doing here? And realizing that God loves these people, he loves them more than we ever could! The whole time in the back of my mind I kept hearing the song God of This City. “And greater things are still to come in this city.” And we made that our prayer.