Vancouver, British Columbia

9/2/2008 – 9/7/2008

Vancouver is…

Tuesday morning, after walking a big circle around and over the Seattle Amtrak station, I found my way in, got my ticket, and boarded the train. After a scenic trip alongside the Puget Sound, we continued up the coast to the border. We passed the White Rock beach where I spent many days as a kid, and eventually arrived in Vancouver, where I was hassled by the border guard for a while before she let me into the country. Seriously, I’ve never had trouble with the USA – Canada crossing before, what’s going on here? Maybe it’s my crappy beard combined with my lack of a return ticket? Hah.

While I was in Vancouver, I didn’t really do anything touristy. Now, looking back on it, this was a mistake, but I hope to go back and see a few of the cooler touristy things some time in the future. I did manage to see several old friends, though, which was really great.

Science World / Obsession with Cranes, Vancouver, British Columbia

So, I walked from the train station over to Sebastien’s workplace, and we went to grab some lunch. I hadn’t seen Seb in a few years, probably, so it was really nice to catch up a bit. I would have much more chance for that, however, since I was staying at Seb and his fiance Hope’s apartment for the week. They were great hosts! Seb gave me his key after lunch and I made my way over to the place. First things first: I went for a run on the Seawall around Stanley Park. I actually did this several times during the visit, exploring a fair amount of the park and completing the whole circuit at least once. It’s a beautiful place to run, and Seb & Hope live really close to the park.

S & H came home, with guests, and we proceeded to have dinner and drink various of Seb’s homebrew beers. Great!

Wednesday: I piddled away the morning, probably doing computery things, then walked over to Canada’s version of REI, Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) to look at what they had to offer. Pretty much their own versions of REI stuff, plus all the big names. A cool store, for sure. I didn’t end up buying anything since the only pants I saw that I wanted cost more than I wanted to spend. I rushed from MEC to a bus-stop to ride to the skytrain station to take the train out to Coquitlam where my oldest friend in the world, Ryan Cocks, was waiting to pick me up. We grabbed dinner and sat around talking for a long time before heading back to his house out in Maple Ridge. More chatting, this time with Fraser and Lynn, his parents, and a couple of his sisters, Emily and Olivia. Olivia was really a sport because she didn’t actually remember me from my last visit (she’s 11), but we got along really well since I’ve known her family for her whole life.

So, Thursday morning I woke up at the Cocks’ house after most everyone had left for work. A nice breakfast with Lynn and Olivia was followed by some time looking at pictures and finally an hour or two of Rock Band with O before lunch. After lunch Lynn drove me back to the bus station so I could get back to Vancouver. I met Seb at the public library (quite impressive!) and then we went to a diner he knew to share a pitcher of beer. We met Hope for dinner and then retired to the apartment before going out later. We played some pool, which was great fun, and watched their bank teller’s band play one song. We would have seen more but they weren’t really going on until midnight and my hosts had to work in the morning. Yes, that’s right, their bank teller’s band. Weird, huh? I guess he told them about the show in between processing their deposits and withdrawals or something.

Friday, I ran some more and walked around downtown. In the evening I met my old friend Jadon for dinner and caught up with him some before heading back the the apartment and going to sleep. Seb and Hope had headed down to Portland for the weekend, so I had the place to myself.

On Saturday, I ran, then spent most of the day on the computer reading and planning my future travels. I also walked around outside some, and read a bit of a book of short stories I found on the bookshelf. Nice. Ryan came over in the evening and we ended up hanging out until quite late, walking pretty much the whole way around downtown and meeting one of his friends along the way. By the way, Granville Street is pretty wild on a Saturday night. Fun to look at.

Pre-Departure Espresso, Vancouver, British Columbia

Sunday morning, I packed up and headed over to the Main Street station to catch my bus to up to Kamloops. Picture is of my daypack and espresso just before I got on the bus.

Reading: The Balkans.
Departure: Greyhound Bus from Vancouver to Kamloops, British Columbia, $39.90 CAD.

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