Trip to Vancouver: A Travelogue in Pictures and (a few) Words

I just got back from a vacation in Vancouver British Columbia. I got to see my son, his wife and their daughter. They live in Beijing so it is a rare treat when we can meet. There was some business the young family had to conduct and we were happy to offer any service possible to make their visit a pleasant one. Below are some images and words describing my part of the stay. (My wife is still there.) This post is a test: about half of it was done using WordPress’ mobile app. This post is also an example of just how far I had fallen from the days when I had an SLR, multiple lenses, and a portable darkroom. Sorry about that.

Packing the Night Before

I’ve used checklists, advice from travel brochures and websites, and in this case, just thought it out as I went along. Always, my better half makes corrections. And she has as always been right.

Sacramento International Airport

We’re in the newer terminal at the Sacramento International Airport. This is the first time I’ve seen the inside of it–not counting in the excellent independent film “Frances Ha.” It’s pretty empty at 5:30 a.m.


Time for a little shuteye.

SeaTac car rental

Five years ago they moved this facility off campus. What a pain. And the signage in the airport was almost nonexistent. We wandered around for quite awhile until we finally broke down and asked for assistance.

Okay, I see one-third of a breakfast sandwich here

This is the first time I’ve been in a Panera. This one was just north of Seattle. It’s pretty good for a chain, but they can make an improvement on presentation. I mean, that’s the whole sandwich on that massive plate.

Vacation house for a week

I’m not a fan of Airbnb. The disruptive business model gets around safety and zoning laws and wealthier folk gobble up real estate that could go to new and middle-class prospective homeowners, but I don’t make the reservations, so I don’t complain. The basement house is nice even with the loud music and footsteps above.

First Meal in Vancouver

Our place is walking distance from a few places including this (in)famous store. What can I say, it’s convenient. I tried a new Kombucha and couldn’t finish it.

Vancouver International Airport

Hanging out waiting for my stepson Peter, his wife Bin Man, and their daughter Alanis where there’s this beautiful sculpture “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii.”

Loonies, Toonies, and different chips

We didn’t mess much with Canadian bank notes (that just don’t look legit) and stuck almost exclusively with our debit cards. We found on our first purchase in the country that Canada machines don’t like the U.S. chipped cards for money back. This was a step in the right direction since the last time we were in Canada (and when we were in England before that) we found that our credit union cards weren’t chipped at all, so we had to always sign receipts like we were using credit cards. This time the system was a little less of a hassle. Still, ATMs here would not accept U.S. cards.  Perhaps my wife will find a way around this when she continues in Canada.

Getting Settled In

I’ve had jet lag before, but since I’ve never been to China, I don’t know how brutal this kind of jet lag is. We left them alone after briefly visiting in there place.

Site Seeing Over the Week

Throughout my week, we drove around town to various offices so Bin Man could get her paperwork done and also had lunches and dinners at different places. A couple of years back I took a passive interest in the winter sport of curling. I still don’t know the rules, but find it fascinating. On one car ride, I saw the Marpole Curling Club! I wonder if Rachel Homan plays there when she is not on Canada’s Olympic women’s team. (I kind of have a crush on the lady.)

The Medicated Traveler

The inconvenience of being a legal doper: at home, my meds take up a whole shelf in the cabinet. On the road, it’s just more shit I have to pack. These used vials come in handy, though.

Getting Ready to go out

Peter and his daughter Alanis.

The Crystal Mall

If the reader has never been to Vancouver, they might be surprised the city has hundreds of thousands of Chinese-Canadians. This market caters to many of them. Think of a farmer’s market, but inside a building and seemingly endless. I have yet to go to China, but I am told that this market (among others in the city) is just like the kind in Beijing. All you would need to do is quadruple the number of people. The top left image is of a woman creating my Chinese pancake!

Chinese New Year Dinner

Sorry, no pix of the family dinner, but that’s a good thing, right? I didn’t sit there taking pictures while we were having a nice family dinner. My daughter-in-law cooked an excellent meal. I sat across from Alanis and felt a little more like a grandpa. It’s hard to get into that kind of mode when I see her as rarely as I do. At this stage, she has not warmed up to me, but that’s okay.

Fun at the (excruciatingly cold) Kitsilano Park

We went out to the park near our digs in Kitsilano located (sort of) across English Bay from Downtown Vancouver. Alanis had a great time. Growing up in Beijing, she thinks 35 degrees is nothing. My teeth were clenched the whole time so I didn’t rattle the fillings out.

Idle Time with Alton

We spent a lot more time in front of the TV than we did the previous vacations. This is because we were on Peter’s family time and they were struggling with jet lag. Also, we have had some tough luck getting them a rental car. I’m sure this will get ironed out later. We struggled with the television service in our little basement house–most channels wanted us to buy time. We ended up watching the BBC programming my wife watches at home including various British cooking shows and hours of Alton Brown. I have always enjoyed Alton (much more than any other TV cooking host), but not in this quantity. Oh yeah, let’s not forget Olympic curling! I see a future blog post on this particular sport sometime in the future!

The flights home

The only other time I flew on a commercial prop plane (top right image) was when my family and I flew from Acapulco to Cabo San Lucas back in 1977. (I remember we landed on a dirt runway!) I don’t have a fear of flying, but the Airbus Air Q400 and the choppy Northern Pacific sky made the one-hour flight nerve-racking. The landing was so rough the entire cabin burst into applause when we finally came to a stop. The trip from Seattle to Sacramento was also on an Airbus, but this bus had jets on its wings. I sat back and enjoyed the ride.

The vacation is not over for my wife or me. She is still in Vancouver for another week and a half. I’m now at home with one more week off–a staycation albeit with a long honey-do list.

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