Carnegie Community Center – 11pm
Once Jay and I reached the Salvation Army shelter, we decided not to check-in. Had we checked in, we wouldn’t be able to check-out. And since the night was young, we decided to come back at a later time. In the meanwhile, we were in search for tea.
We decided to head over to the Carnegie Community Center. It was located on Main and Hastings, an area which is also known as “the heart of the Downtown Vancouver Eastside”. The police station is located one block north from here. Ironically, even with the police station nearby, drugs can be easily acquired. It is clear to see why this intersection does not have the best reputation amongst Vancouver citizens. It has a reputation of being a scary, dangerous, poverty-stricken place filled with drug-addicted individuals.
Once we arrived, we went up to the second floor and watched the Christmas celebration taking place there. After a few minutes, Jay had to leave. He said his friends wanted to meet up with him. I really enjoyed the atmosphere here at this community center, so I stayed a while longer.
A man was playing beautiful music on the keyboard. A keyboard, a base, and a guitar made up this extremely talented band playing right now. Not only was there great music playing but on top of that, this community center was warm and friendly. The staff was nice as well. I could feel the tight mutual respect everyone had amongst each other. To be fair though, one argument did break out right in front of me. I believe it was over a chair, but luckily nothing serious ensued from it. The hardships and the stresses of living in this neighborhood can certainly result in occasional bursts of anger.
Tonight is Christmas Eve and there is a set schedule to follow. Everybody is showcasing their talent and there is a lot of talent to showcase. Very frequently, random strangers greet me; this was something I was not used to back home. When the band finished playing, I went up to the bassist and commended him on his skills. We sat and talked for a couple of hours after that. I guess it is time to add another character to my ongoing story. One of the smartest men I have met in my life, his name was “Brain”.