Dimitri had found the apartment on craigslist and the agent, Gary Terrado, was good enough. (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 604-773-5021). When June became July and the weather was finally sunny, we discovered that the lack of air conditioning was a real problem. The sun beat in all afternoon and the windows did not open wide enough to bring in whatever breeze there happened to be. Fortunately there was a fan in the apartment.
While the building definitely had problems, the gym, at least, was good. And we used the gym, particularly when the weather was bad in May and June. There was storage (in a cage) for our bikes and the building had an "interesting" security system.
Our Vancouver apartment in Coal Harbour, with Dimitri's computer and "desk". This picture shows that we could see Stanley Park and Lion Gate Bridge, with West Vancouver and the mountains beyond. A truly great view.
Off of the bedroom was a tiny alcove with floor to ceiling windows where we put a card table (bought for $7 at Memories Thrift Store, 6940 No. 3 Rd. (N. of Granville), Richmond, BC V6Y 2C5, tel. 604-244-5939, e-mail: email@example.com, www.memoriesthriftstore.com) for Audre's desk and her computer (which was definitely a toasty space). The apartment also had a small storage closet where we put our suitcases away. There was enough other closet space and drawer space for our stuff too. The kitchen equipment was good enough and the counter space was adequate. Audre grew to hate the view south which included the atrocious tower of the Empire Landmark Hotel. How did a building that much taller than anything around get approved? Awful! On a more practical matter, the apartment also had a washer/dryer. So, while it may be one of the worst apartments we've ever stayed in, we were all set. We stayed in Vancouver from May to August 2010, when we moved to Whistler for two weeks.
Audre went on a search (asking Alice in the building's office and people in the elevator) for a maid who would come once a week. We are very neat people and we only needed a maid for 1 hour a week for $40 who would, dust, vacuum, and clean the kitchen and the bathroom. Each cleaning service Audre called wanted a minimum number of hours (like 2 or 3) for around $35 to $50 per hour. Finally in the Courier newspaper, there was the following ad: "95% ECO friendly products, reliable and reasonable. exc ref's. 604-324-2939. 778-869-0284." I left a message on her home number and Rajinda called me back. I reiterated $40 for 1 hour of work. She said that was fine. She does a very good job and sometimes comes with her husband , Gill, as well (for the same price). He actually cleans windows and carpets as another business. Success on our terms, which we love!
We were thrilled with the location of our apartment in Coal Harbour. We could walk easily to restaurants on Denman and on Robson and there are hundreds of them to try. We enjoy walking along the waterfront towards Canada Place or towards Stanley Park. Either way is always fun-- with lots of people to see and wonderful views.
And what was the first thing we did once we had a lease? We went to our local branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Denman and got library cards. It's something we do everywhere that we can and we enjoy using libraries. Of course, we quickly outgrew our Joe Fortes branch and graduated to the main library on W. Georgia!
[NOTE TO SELVES: Never rent a west-facing apartment without air conditioning, even in Alaska. Between the heat generated by the sun beating on the floor-to-ceiling windows, the noise of the sirens, the roar of motorcycles and the thunder of cars without mufflers, we were fed up with our apartment in Vancouver by the time we left.]