(Vancouver) It has been a day of random meetings with folk from different walks of life. I learned all about how modern technology allows your skin to stay younger forever by a businessman selling exclusive anti-aging creams; while just before taking off another well-traveled guy in the steam business told horror stories of emergency landings that he’d experienced.

Finally, an ex-tree planter from northern British Columbia described how she ended up settling in a remote community of northern BC teaching music some miles north of nowhere.

My short Toronto layover was twelve minutes longer than expected. Thanks to having been given a ride on the airport golf-cart, that twelve minutes was just long enough for me to counter the credit crisis, and accept an additional credit line. No guarantees that I’ll get it in the first place – cultural navigators are not the most wealthy of guys – but I applied for my SECOND credit card, VISA this time. The company not only showered me with 15,000 gratis aeroplan air miles, but what sold me on it was travel insurance. Running around the globe, I regularly buy travel insurance – insurance that VISA gold members are covered with. If you travel logically the fee pays for itself in a few trips. If anybody has experience with this, do share.

I finally boarded the Toronto-Vancouver flight, and wasn’t sure if I was on the right plane. The slick interior was more upscale than I had ever seen. It’s not Boeing’s elusive Dreamliner, nor is it the A-380 by Airbus, but for now the Boeing 777 is the mother ship of Air Canada’s fleet. The business class section looks like a series of small offices, and my seat even had a plug for my computer. Reason enough for me to try to get onto the mother ship again, especially on a long-haul flight.

Monie Tung in Breeze of July

Just to get into the feel of Shanghai, I melted into my seat to watch the slow-moving, beautifully shot film Breeze of July starring a delightful Monie Tung as Lan-xin who after her mothers death returns to her native Shanghai where she tries to uncover whether home is the home of your childhood and upbringing – or whether home is on the horizon, somewhere. Here I got my first beautifully shot glimpses of the modern skyline of Shanghai.

Next stop is the stopover in Vancouver, just long enough to have a sumtuous meal with my sister Marina, and nieces Tania and Oren.

Where I’m staying:
Hilton Vancouver Airport
5911 Minoru Boulevard
Richmond, BC
Phone: [604] 273 6336
Cultural Navigator rating: 6.8/10

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