September 1, 2007
The flight from London was bearable. The aircraft cabin never got dark as it followed the sun sinking in the east. 12 or so hours later it touched down at YVR and I joined the long queues at customs.
That night I crashed out my Aunt’s place in Richmond. The second day I began some sightseeing.
The first thing that impressed me is that pedestrians here have right of way when crossing the street. They expect you step out. I wish New Zealanders would adopt that same mentality.
The first few days I spent exploring Gas Town and China town. China town was basic and too hygienic in comparison to Bangkok’s China Town but it was still worth a visit. Between these two towns live a large number of homeless. Rosie, (Mike’s girlfriend) warned me about them, but I as long as I walked with a purpose they didn’t bother me.
The city was gearing up for the Winter Olympics in 2011, most of the main arterial routes to downtown were being ripped up to put in an extensive subway. Shops along these streets were feeling the pinch as Mike and I discovered when eating out. The waiters kept trying to suggestive sell the most expensive dish. Fair enough.
I eventually got the chance to walk around Stanley Park— it rains a lot in Vancouver — and take photos of the city and surrounding mountains. On the park there is an aquarium which kept me interested for a couple of hours. The sea otter display was my fav.
One time I ventured out to Grouse Mountain on the western side of Vancouver. Four bus rides and a ferry latter I am standing at the base of the mountain. It had been mentioned that some people climb to the top and catch the gondola down. Well, I thought, I would attempt it myself. The “Grouse Grind” is a steep section of walking track is about 2 kilometres long. By about the quarter way point I was thinking that it was a stupid idea walking up. By the three quarter point I was completely knackered.
Many people passed me and I felt like I was standing still. Nearly 90 minutes later (and very sweaty) I stretched out on park bench. At the top there is a few things to see, a couple of bear enclosures and Indian relics scattered around.