At the start of this week’s adventure I’m reminded of a rule that I never follow but always should, for the benefit of both my wallet and my waistline: always, ALWAYS eat before you go. Because no matter how un-hungry you are when you leave the house, the second you find yourself in a neighborhood that smells like complete and utter deliciousness, it will break you down faster than you can blink an eye. This was my experience as I progressed down Fraser Street on Wednesday. In this area, it seems that every step you take leads you into another incredible smell. Not necessarily all food smells either (although a huge amount came from restaurants, definitely) but smells of woody incense, baked bread, fresh cut grass, and fruit warming in the sun. The combination of it all is intoxicating.
I have explored the Mountain View cemetery before, on many occasions – it’s gigantic and serene, and I’m fascinated trekking from one grave to the next, reading the dates and inscriptions on the stones. But before Wednesday, I had never really gone much further past the cemetery. So today I decided to explore what other wonderful things were hiding in the neighborhood. Turns out, quite a few! To start with, I never knew that it was referred to as “South Hill”. Funny all the neat things you can learn when you finally decide to actually leave your house.
Aside from smells, there is colour and texture everywhere. Block after block of amazing fabric vendors, fruit and vegetable stands, flower shops, restaurants from every ethnic background possible. It seems like in this small area, no matter what your taste or craving, you could wander a few blocks and likely find it. Or discover something absolutely new, instead.
It’s an older neighbourhood, but has a hugely diverse mix of people. Every age and cultural background possible, coming together to make what feels like a pretty tight knit community. Similar to Strathcona, the vibe is what makes this particular neighbourhood feel so welcoming. And throughout my several hours walking the streets, I saw countless details. They are always there, you just have to be open to catching them.
I could tell that many of the side-streets of this neighborhood led off into unique photographic opportunities. I’m sure as with most places, in order to get an accurate idea of what it’s like, you need to get a larger sampling of the area. With each passing block I told myself “ok, after THIS, then I’ll go and see some of the residential parts”. But I kept getting drawn into interesting stores or examining corner gardens... I never got as far as I would have liked before my limited time frame ran out for the day. So I will make a few of the side streets an entry for another occasion. In the meantime, when faced with the decision of hot veggie samosas, Dim Sum or BBQ Chicken, I bet you’d be as hard pressed as me to try to choose just one. Check out this place, you won’t regret it.