Canada

To Canadia [sic] !

This morning Kate, Tim and I headed up together to Vancouver B.C.for a 3 day mini-holiday (yes, from our longer holiday. Not that we need one, but Kate did, and we didn’t really need an excuse!). We set off early for the Kingston-Edmonds Ferry to get us north of Seattle, via Kate’s to pick up a forgotten passport, then back up via Port Gamble on the same route as yesterday. 

On the way up Kate received some excellent news – she passed the Bar Exam for law here in Washington State!! Such brilliant news after all her hard work over the last few years. So of course the holiday became a celebration too!

The ferry crossing was easy and quick, and with Tim at the wheel I enjoyed a nice nap in the back of the car during the drive up to the border. Showing our passports and convincing the patrol we didn’t intend on staying or importing weapons didn’t take too long, and soon we were on the final stretch of the journey into the city itself.

After a few relocations due to parking charges we managed to get parked on a lane close to the AirBnB we had booked for the weekend, but as it was too early to check in and we were STARVING we decided to head into the city centre to explore and find food. 

We came across an omelettery (sp?) which suited us all, and filled ourselves up and met a chatty ginger guy from Milton Keynes who is living out there and working in a medicinal cannabis dispensary. The smell of weed certainly was pervasive in the city, and I can’t believe that many people have a medical need for it, but anyway…

After lunch we headed down Granville Street to Granville Island…but failed to find it and ended up walking across a very high bridge over the Island towards the main part of the city. We took a few photos, and decided to just go with it and return to the Island tomorrow. Carpe diem and all that!

Pretty much as soon as we hit land again we witnessed a guy steal a second hand dumbbell from a shop, then almost drop it on the toes of the second young female shop assistant who challenged him, which made Kate and I very wary of our bags, and Tim very wary of people approaching either of us! There were a lot of people sleeping in doorways (mid-afternoon), begging, and the smell of weed was never far away, but after we passed into a bit more of a shopping area, then reached the harbour at the other end with the biggest cruise ship I’ve ever seen, it became a bit easier to relax.

We headed into the Gastown district, with its nice lamps and old steam clock, and spent some time adding to the throng of tourists in and around the gift shops, but decided $10 (Canadian) was too much for maple syrup and moved on.

The weather was good and we were thirsty, so we had planned to find some ice cream and go and sit in a park by the sea, but as we got closer the people around got a little more sketchy, so we turned inland and headed towards Chinatown. It was a good plan…but then we came across a very busy area with people hanging around near a community centre, and it became another rendition of “march purposefully holding your purse”. I had no idea there was so much poverty in the city, and feel guilty to be so suspicious, but after the dumbbell incident we weren’t taking any chances.

Eventually we passed into a nicer area of Chinatown, passing through the arch, and found refuge and an opportunity to quench our thirst with bubble tea / milkshakes in an International Mall. It was Tim’s first time trying the pearls, and we all found them quite good and filling but also a little odd, and didn’t want to wonder too much about what we were eating!

Next we headed into Yaletown, apparently the trendy area, although we didn’t see much evidence of it (maybe we didn’t quite find the right place, I’m not being snooty!). We stopped off in a supermarket to pick up some tea to cook back in the apartment along with Smarties for Kate (apparently you don’t get them in the USA) and other treats for Tim and I, before heading back towards in via the stadiums and a different bridge, where Tim spotted this:

It’s a pool!!

The walk back felt pretty long, despite stopping off again at the liquor store (a box of wine is so much more economical, honest…) and the coffee shop where Kate collected the key to the AirBnB from a really interesting deposit box system. However we made it eventually, and battled our way through the front door, and into the sparce but comfy apartment before collapsing onto all available soft furniture.

We eventually roused ourselves, figured out how to make the large TV do Chrome Cast, and had dinner and watched Kingsman (good movie!) on Netflix. Despite the planning there was no Apples to Apples or Baileys, but the box of wine was greatly enjoyed!

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