vegan love cake, hippy havens, and amazing journeys… critical reflections as always

Whilst in BC, Canada many opportunities arose that have provided for experiences in some pretty nice places. For the last week or so a friend has let me crash at their place in East Vancouver (out near the drive) and a few days at a place they also arranged to share with another person (a split-time room) on the Sunshine Coast at Robert’s Creek. In themselves, both are very nice places to exist.

The ‘Drive’ in east Van has some amazing food co-op’s, organic produce and multitude vegan and vegetarian cafés and/or restaurants. It is also nice to see a diversity of people around and the sense of progressive and aware atmospheres abounding. Likewise Robert’s Creek – significantly smaller – has a good vibe. The menu at the only ‘restaurant’ in town has about 7 mains, of which 5 are vegan with non-vegan options. Progressive and aware atmospheres also abound.

I have enjoyed most of my time in these two locales and my experiences have provided much to think on. On my second day in Canada (as mentioned in a prior post) I met a women from Nova Scotia and we ended up talking about concerns we have that people in Vancouver ‘talk-the-talk’ and do not ‘live’ their politics (or beliefs, ideology, or any other descriptor you may prefer to use here). I have also met and talked with many others who possess what I would consider well-developed critical awareness. Why then, do I have a number of issues with their actions?

I find many people – and I am not referring to those who rebelliously without much thought consider themselves as anarchists – who would describe their politics as anarchist as being very aggressive in demeanour, bordering on the patriarchal. A simplistic – and I think too easily drawn conclusion – could be that the perception of aggressive rebellion legitimises such day-to-day espousals and/or they do not feel the need to critically self-reflect based on the socialisation resulting from mainstream sensationalist imagery associated with coverage of – what I would consider very legitimate and positive – actions of defiance and resistance around the globe. In east Vancouver I have noted this – and I must say also back in Australia.

Around Robert’s Creek my experiences have also led me to think on things. For many, the term ‘flaky hippy’ many inspire images. Without going into detail, this typifies a number of people whom I interacted with in this part of BC. My main concerns do not relate to the ‘dropping out’ or what I perceive (through my own socialisation) as the effects of excessive smoking of weed – which is far more prevalent and socially acceptable than in Australia (it appears to be akin to the consumption of alcohol) – rather the very poorly developed critical analysis put forward. And I see this as problematic as these views are explicitly put forth and as they are often weak, they tend to undermine other well-developed ideas. We are all learning and experiencing… I think if we gave ourselves time to listen to others (and I am critical of myself here too) and take stock of what we are thinking, I do believe we could develop our ideas so as to become more sound and robust to reactionary criticism.

I was trying to emphasise the positive… that was my goal at the outset. Three times I returned to the gumboot during my stay on the coast. Each time I acquainted myself with a (large serving as they are) of vegan chocolate love cake. I uncommonly each chocolate, yet this was so good and not an opportunity I would have regularly… I was also able to have some pretty fine food. On the ‘Drive’ I also had many opportunities for good food. It did take some time after arriving in Vancouver to have what I consider ‘good’ food. I had some pretty average meals – and most of these were very expensive. One night I went to an Indian diner and had dinner for less than $5 – which included 4 vegan dishes! Even today, after 3-weeks I was still going into places I had not. On the sweets side, I experienced my first Nanaimo bar from a 20+ café that was exclusively vegetarian and almost entirely vegan. This was only a couple doors up from an exclusively vegan (mostly raw) café!

I didn’t quite make it to ‘amazing journeys’… I will return to this!! There are so many stories I want

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