Sunday, July 01, 2018

Canada By Rail: The Starting Point - Vancouver, BC

Note: This post was drafted while on vacation, while I was tired, and on a cranky internet connection.  Be prepared for this post to be revised in the future.

We left Omaha last Tuesday winging our way to Vancouver via Denver. A short taxi ride got us to our hotel (the Moda Hotel) which had been suggested by my online friend Just a Girl (JaG).

Even though our flights and layovers were brief, we were both tired when we got to the hotel. Travel always takes it out of me.  We ate at a sports bar (the Red Card) just around the corner from our hotel and watched the College World Series on their big screen as we ate.

Before we went back to the room we decided to find a convenience store to buy some bottled water. As we approached the 7-Eleven we stopped short when we saw a man, clad in cowboy boots, a leopard skin cowboy hat, and a matching leopard skin speedo and nothing much else. He was making motions that looked like a cross between twerking and humping right in front of the 7-Eleven door. The Wife sucked it up and approached the door. The man reached out and held the door open for both of us. He held the door open as we left too.

The cool Vancouver Public Library modeled after the Colosseum.
The Wife went to the room and I went out for a short walk to check out the area. We were going to take a hop-on/hop-off bus the next day and I walked over to scout out where the pickup location was. I took some pictures of the interesting architecture.  I returned along a circuitous route that took me through the trendy Yaletown area of Vancouver.

I returned to the room and were both out shortly after 8:00pm.

On Wednesday we headed to the Vancouver Public Library where we would catch the bus. Before getting on the bus we found a nice little place that served breakfast called Le Petit Belge across from the Library.

There are two bus routes - the park and the city routes. We got on the park route bus and stayed on the bus for the two hour ride making notes of things we wanted to return to. Returning to the Library we stopped at McDonalds for a drink and snack. I had a croissant from the McBakery, something you can’t get in the US because we apparently are not worthy of fresh pastries at our fast food joints. As we ate we planned out our afternoon.

A water lily at the Sun Yat-sen gardens.
We got back on the bus and road it to Chinatown. Here we got off and checked out the Sun Yat-sen gardens before browsing a few stores (and buying magnets naturally).

The Steam Clock of Gastown.
Next we took the bus to Gastown where we checked out the interesting Water Street. A few more stores and a large chunk of our Vancouver magnets were in our hands. We took a few minutes to watched the steam powered clock strike (actually toot) two o’clock (it’s running four minutes fast).

We got on the city route bus here and followed it around until it got back at the library. The wife went to the Red Card to watch the second College World Series game while I walked around downtown some checking out a few things we would be visiting on Thursday.

On Thursday, after sleeping in a bit, we made our way back to the hop on/off bus and headed back to Stanley Park. Our first stop was at the Totems. The variety and artestry of the First Nation was impressive.

We walked along the seawall for a short bit admiring the Vancouver skyline before getting back on the bus to head to prospect point. On the way the bus driver spotted orca in the bay, a rare occurrence. He pulled over and let people off to take pictures.

A sample of the many Totem in Stanley Park.
At prospect point it started to drizzle. We decided to eat lunch here. The food was excellent.

The Vancouver skyline from Stanley Park.
Back on the bus we returned to the library and walked to the Vancouver Lookout. On the way there we had our second ... interesting ... encounter. At the corner across from a 7-Eleven, I heard the Wife say something to me. I turned in time to see a ‘man' in torn up white pantyhose with nothing underneath ... or over and wearing high heels. He (she?) was having a hard time keeping his (her) balance on those shoes. I looked around to see how the Canadians were reacting to this person and the only ones reacting were the Wife and I. He went into the 7-Eleven which, for some reason, didn’t surprised me.

A small sample of the views from the Vancouver Lookout.
We made it to the lookout and to the elevator up to the top where you experience 360° view of Vancouver.

We returned to our hotel and we watched the third and final game of the College World Series. I was tired so I didn’t go out walking like I’d done the previous nights.

Friday, our last day in Vancouver, we met Just a Girl (JaG), her Boy, and their cutie patutie daughter E for breakfast. JaG had suggested a restaurant on Granville Island called Edible Canada. We met them at 10:00 am and found the place was not open for another hour so we strolled around the market area and chatted about things. E wasn’t sure about us but warmed up after we gave her a hedgehog purse from the Wife’s collection.

Whimsical painted silos on Granville Island.
The food was delicious and the conversation was fun and interesting and I’m glad we were able to get together. We said our goodbyes. They went to Whistler and we headed for the aquataxi to ride around False Creek.

We got off the aquataxi briefly at the Olympic Village before returning to other side off False Creek. Not having anything else to do, and it was starting to drizzle, we hopped onto the bus again and rode the city route. We got off briefly in Gastown to get something to drink. As we waited for the next bus and very normal looking guy walked by. He looked like he was in pain and bawling his eyes out and when he passed us he said “They are torturing me!” It seems we averaged one strange incident per day while in Vancouver.

We returned to the hotel and had some drinks and snacks before heading to the train station. Everything went smoothly there.

I like Vancouver. It’s a very cosmopolitan city with interesting architecture. The only issue we saw was the number of open, on the street, drug taking that we saw in certain areas of the city. I guess in the US either these people are removed off the streets or the Wife and I just have been lucky not to go into the wrong places.

Pictures can be found in my 2018-06 Canada by Rail Google Photos album.

Onward to Jasper.

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