Vancouver: First Impressions, Getting a Canadian SIM

I apologize for the scattered, unorganized nature of this post. It’s been a while since I last blogged. I didn’t have time to write a short blog post, so I wrote a long, rambling one instead.

I spent all day learning about the cell carriers here in Vancouver, Canada. There are many options, all with different ways of doing things. For example, Telus offers three options with some of their plans: double anytime minutes, unlimited minutes to any 5 numbers of your choice, or unlimited texting – choose any one.

The carrier I settled on is Fido because they can sell me a micro-SIM card and offer data for $2/day (up to 20mb) or $7/day (up to 125mb).

Is there a good abbreviation for Vancouver? For example, Los Angeles is LA. Say “LA,” and everyone knows you mean Los Angeles.

I actually find it easier and faster to type on the iPhone keyboard in portrait than landscape. This blog post was written on my iPhone.

Everything in VR (my abbr for Vancouver) is in English, though some words have French translations, like “Jus” on my orange juice.

The airport’s Currency Exchange booth is decent. Their rate is about 3% worse than the one reported by the Currency iPhone app. But there’s an additional $3.50 service charge, regardless of the amount you convert.

While traveling today, I stopped and asked a lot of people for directions. Most people are helpful and friendly, even to me, a complete stranger.

Last night was interesting: I arrived in Vancouver at night – about 9pm – with nowhere to stay. I took Tynan’s advice in Life Nomadic: I looked on Craigslist for a place to stay. It took quite a bit of effort, but I think most of that was because this was my first time doing it. I discovered that I should look for 1br listings under sublet/temporary, and to make sure I limit the area to that surrounding the airport. Ultimately, I found a nice room to myself for $40 CAD. It had a nice office chair and desk, and included Wi-Fi.

Living in Vietnam was, unsurprisingly, much cheaper. There are hotels in Saigon for $10/night USD. Most meals are $5 or less, versus $10+ here in Vancouver. The serving sizes are generally smaller in VN, though, so sometimes it’s a good idea to order two servings. In Canada, the environment feels big and spaced out. Taking the train is a necessity; it feels like stores are just too far apart to travel on foot. Font sizes are huge on signs and screens, so this might be a good place for those with bad eyesight. Coins are used more frequently here than in Vietnam, or even the US. Buses, for example, only take coins. In VN, the largest coin I remember having was 5,000 dong – worth only about 25 cents.

One Response to “Vancouver: First Impressions, Getting a Canadian SIM”

  1. Dave says:

    > Is there a good abbreviation for Vancouver?
    Vancity or YVR are two common abbreviations.

    As for currency conversion, the best place is the Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange:
    You’ll get your best rates here.

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