Superficial differences abound. English is the local language, but everyone employs a certain well-known diphthong pronunciation. The traffic signals look familiar until the green lights start blinking, and someone seems to have changed the Firefox theme of the traffic signs alongside the road. Looking further, the jagged Coast Mountains are to the north rather than the east, Mt. Baker isn’t Mt. Rainier, and the smooth glass facades of downtown Seattle are replaced with residential high-rises fuzzy with balconies. My sharp-eyed younger daughter spies a familiar bottle on a grocery store shelf, but the well-known packaging and styling sport a different name. The strong illusion of being at home is regularly wrecked by the many delightful differences.
For an inhabitant of the Seattle area, visiting Vancouver, BC is like traveling to a nearby parallel universe. The climate and the general look and feel of the place are about right, but like the Kinder Eggs we enjoyed there, Vancouver is loaded with surprises that not only aren’t chocolate, they should be played with rather than eaten.
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