While we didn’t move to Chinatown after immigrating to Vancouver, we spent a lot of time there. The shops sold meats and veggies my mom was familiar with for cooking. Speaking of cooking, my mom didn’t learn to cook until she was 35, when we immigrated. In Hong Kong, we either ate with family or we had a servant cooking. (It’s not quite the luxury it sounds like; the “servants” were more like live-in faux grandmothers.) And we went to visit a friend of my dad’s a lot. He was a bachelor who lived above a store and died there alone. I still get sad thinking about him 50 years later.
On the bright side, it was while we were visiting him that I was first introduced to Sonny and Cher’s variety hour. While mom and dad chatted with him, my sis and I watched TV and for some reason, it was often the Sonny and Cher show. It was also my first taste of the slightly risqué and American pop-rock.
But I digress. I try to hit Chinatown every several visit or so when in Vancouver to see my family. This year was a jaunt to Chinatown, and here are some photos.
When I saw this sign, the Bob Seger song immediately popped into my head…
Stores like this still proliferate…they bring back so many memories of my mom buying bulk dried goods to make weird soup concoctions.
Completed in 1986 on the outskirts of Chinatown is the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Garden. My sister and I both worked there for a while right after it was built. I think it’s gotten more beautiful with time.
I tested the limit of my phone camera’s zoom feature on the lilies. I think it works decently, don’t you?
Vancouver’s Chinatown has changed a lot over the past 50 years but it will always hold a special place in my heart even if that affection isn’t always returned (I’m looking at you, Chinatown Storyteller’s Association).
Do you have a special childhood place that you still visit?