Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Run for Vancouver

That's what passes for a pun now. "Run for Cover" Not my most inspired work.

Stoch and I arrived in Vancouver about two hours early (though we sat outside the station for a good 45-60 minutes prior to that) and made a beeline to his hostel (the Cambie) where he was very excited to take a hot shower. The hostel operates a bar and far be it from me to waste an opportunity for cheap beer. I sat, drank, wrote, and waited - first for Stoch to finish settling in, then for a mystery person Stoch met in his room.

The mystery person turned out to be Rebecca. Hailing from the UK, she's wandering around the world for a bit and I suspect our paths might cross again. But before they cross again, I should get on with how they crossed for the first time.

Gassy Jack, eponymous man of Gastown

Sated & slaked, our anglophonic trio explored Gastown for a little while. Our first actual stop was for a pee and pint pause at some ping pong place. While there I saw someone with a homemade "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" shirt and I mentioned I was from Philly. This garnered about a dozen hugs and one free shot. Perhaps not everyone hates Philly! In good spirits, we pressed on.

After Gastown, we wandered up to the waterfront (indeed, circling around Waterfront Station) and did the usual tourist gawking and squawking. In need of a spot to take in fresh beer and unload the processed stuff, we stopped in an English-themed pub. It was where I said farewell to Stoch, as he was catching a morning train nonstop to Toronto.

I made my way back to Waterfront Station and rode the skytrain out to Point Moody to meet up with my host for Vancouver - a "distant" cousin (I use the term somewhat ironically, due to geography - I believe he is first cousins with my father). Paul was a great font of knowledge about my father's side of the family and had a lot of information about visiting Lebanon - a place certainly on my to-see list. While we had several great conversations (and I learned a ton of my family history), I should get back to Vancouver generally.

The next set of photos are from the first night...

Rebecca & Stoch

I started the next day by buying a day-pass and going into the International District / Chinatown. It was nothing to write home about. Certainly points of interest were there to be noticed, but a guided tour would have been necessary to draw out the character of the area.

The Public Library was my next stop, where I wrote a big journal entry and a poem about writer's block that was well-received (for those interested, this happened on August 26th; I am finally in a spot to write it all up today, September 4th). I bought some postcards and made my way south to see (the outside of) City Hall.

Vancouver City Hall

View from City Hall

Rocket Ship?

City Hall was closed (it was a Sunday), so I wandered north to an "Aquabus" stop. Fun fact: the Waterbus is covered by a daypass / Compass card, where the Aquabus is a private company. I jumped on, paid, and had an amusing ride to the island that all the tourists go to that I'm blanking on the name and will have to come back and delete this so I can put the name of the island here.

The island was, in short, touristy. I did a clockwise circuit and ended with a beer & chowder at a bar where the lackluster nature of the service was brought into focus because of how well the bartenders thought they were handling the crowd. Issues with service aside, a light lunch and good conversation with a couple visiting from Alberta and I was once again putting miles on my soles.

Actually, that's not technically accurate - I ended up taking the bus back onto the penninsula. Then I started putting miles on my soles by walking west on Davies Street (the gay district). Rebecca (remember her from a few paragraphs ago?) had recommended a sushi spot (Samurai Sushi) on Davies St. and I figured I'd give it a shot. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!!! I ordered a combo just to try a few different things and practically had to be rolled out of the joint - the melt-in-your-mouth sushi / sashimi came in chunks the size of my fist. So much for a second light lunch / early dinner!

A short walk north, then an eastward stroll down a street noted for shopping (more postcards), and I was ready for my penultimate activity - a three-or-so mile stroll around the easternmost bit of Stanley Park.

I decided to take the bus out that way and came across a man nervously pacing the bus stop. It turned out my one paragraph of knowledge about Vancouver was more than he had at the time (he was visiting from Iran) and so I helped him figure out what he needed to do to get on the bus and get to Stanley Park.

Since I had been helpful, over the next hour or so the guy was my shadow and walking companion. I would have preferred to walk on my own and just let my mind wander, but so it goes with these sorts of things. I took a bunch of photos (see: photos above & below that I hope came out well) and enjoyed a nice evening.

Eventually the Iranian and I boarded a bus back into town and I showed him where Gastown was. I tactfully ducked into the Cambie Hostel Bar, met Rebecca for a wind-down drink, and finally made my way back to Paul's place.

The next morning (August 27) I packed up and made my way to the Greyhound station. What money I didn't convert back to US I blew on scratch-off tickets while I waited for the bus back to America (and Seattle)!

No comments:

Post a Comment