Well I haven’t updated this since I got home. I was quite tired and have been busy since then. My last night in Vancouver was nice. I had some time alone at the house before the family came home for dinner. I joined them for the end of their dinner to talk and they invited me to stay for a prayer ceremony that concluded the Sabbath and launched them into the week of Rosh Hoshana. It was an interesting experience taking part in something that I had no idea what was going on because everything was in Hebrew. They then headed out to Synagogue to celebrate the start of the week. I stayed behind, watched a little bit of The Fugitive and went to bed. I woke up at 4:10 am and slowly got up, grabbed my bags and headed out the door. From the time I left the home I walked to the train, bought a ticket, went across the street to get a coffee, jumped on the train, got through Canadian security, then through US Customs, bought breakfast at Tim Horton’s, and then sat down at my gate. The elapsed time for ALL of that was about 55 minutes. That was incredible and I was very grateful there were no delays. The flights were both a little rocky with turbulence but it wasn’t too bad. The first flight I had my whole row to myself which was very nice. The second flight the seat next to me was open. In the Denver airport I met this gal who is from Iran. She started conversing with me but doesn’t speak english yet so it was interesting and challenging. I definitely enjoyed it though as I needed someone to talk to at that point. She was probably about 21 or 22 and moved to San Diego to go to school. She was coming to Minneapolis to visit family. I’m glad we ended up talking at the Denver airport because at the Minneapolis airport she didn’t know where to get picked up and didn’t know where she was so she couldn’t tell her aunt where to come. I was able to get on the phone and help them out. Samantha came and picked me up and I was home quickly. I was so happy to be home and relax and see the animals. The house was in immaculate shape which I quickly changed by throwing my stuff all over the place. Dad also did some grocery shopping for me so I had food for the next couple days which was nice, thanks dad. I immediately went to the shoe store to get my Keen’s replaced. They were helpful but in the end I walked out without new shoes. They only had one color in my size in the metro area and I didn’t like it. Now I have to go through Keen to get these replaced. Oh well, it’s getting cool out so I guess I don’t need them right now. I then went to the church to check on my mail and office. Yes I was anxious to do stuff. I found out some news I had been expecting, just not quite yet. My pastor will be moving to a new church come June because his term will be up. Now we go into a time of uncertainty but I’m praying things will work out well. Change is always hard but some good can definitely come from it both for our church and wherever he is sent to next. I’ve had a really hard time getting my body readjusted to the time difference for some reason. I was exhausted on Sunday and went to bed at 9:30 pm which is 7:30 Vancouver time. I didn’t wake till 6:30 am and felt pretty good. Since then though I’ve had trouble getting up before 8 which I just need to set an alarm and get up early to fix I think. I don’t like that because I’ve been pretty used to just waking up at the right time the last number of months. Oh well. I’ll post some top ten lists and some other favorites from the trip in the coming weeks. I’ll also sort through my pictures and create an album of the best ones. Once I have that together I’ll post it online somewhere for you to look through if you’d like. That’s all for now. Peace.
Well this is my last night. I am certainly excited to head home and towards all of the things I have missed so much. I am also sad I am leaving because of all of the fun things I’ve done and seen. Now that I’ve seen all of this I wish I could actually spend some time in each place I’ve been to and relax and just chill out at each one. I guess this trip was a good overview and maybe a starter. I am most looking forward to: my own bed, playing with Holly, a place to call home, people, not spending money, and working. Yes I said working. I like my job and don’t feel as if I “go to work” on most days because it is rewarding for me. Plus, I hate being idle and not contributing to something. Today I thought would be less moving around and walking. I had intended that to be the case but there were two neighborhoods I wanted to visit and David, my host, suggested some places to stop and told me a good way to walk to them. I’m also unfortunately breaking my shoes in which isn’t the most pleasant experience. I visited Granville Island again this morning for the farmers market and grabbed breakfast there. Then I headed along the ocean seawall and went to Kitsilano Beach, or Kits Beach as they calll it here. It was quite beautiful. I didn’t take too many pictures though as I have some from across the harbour that were similar and I am kinda getting photo fatigue. Along the way they had Kits Beach for Dogs. That’s right, an off-leash dog park on the beach with a share of the ocean just for dogs. It was sooo cool. I so wished I had Holly with me so she could play along the beach. There was this one little white dog that decided it was big enough to play catch with this other huge dog. It was super cute. She would have fit right in. Then I hung out in the Kitsilano neighborhood area. There are two main roads and the shops along each of them runs for quite a ways. I had brunch at The Naam, a fruit crepe that was huge. I did some browsing of the shops before heading to the Commercial Drive neighborhood. This is an area with lots of art but also lots of Italian food. David told me that during soccer matches, World Cup in particular, the street can be crazy with people cheering. I had dinner at a pizza place he suggested there and it was really cheap. Then I went back to the Main Street neighborhood as I hadn’t seen that as much as I wanted. That are is also very artsy so I just browsed around. Now I’m going to go pack and relax one last time. I have a couple ideas to update this for a couple days once I’m back. You’ll have to check back for what those might be. I’m up early and on the train by 5 am to make sure I get through security in time for my 7 am flight. Peace.
So I jammed as much into today as I possibly could, given the time that we have in one day. I woke up at 7 am because of the sun in my unshaded window, awesome. I then had to wait for the bathroom. That’s one of the perks of staying in someone else’s home, you get to pretend it’s like when you were growing up. After finally getting the chance to shower and get ready I headed towards downtown. I stopped by the RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, shop and had to pick up a t-shirt. Then I hopped on a bus destined for Stanley Park.
I took my time walking around Stanley Park and taking in the beauty of the ocean, the city, and the forest. I probably walked around 10 miles today so another good day. The park takes you around Coal Harbor past Prospect’s Point and to the Inner Harbour. I made sure to be there in the morning so I would see the Sun as it rose over the water and the city. When I reached Siwash Rock I noticed something moving in the water. Evidently so did everyone else. It was a Grey Whale just hanging out, having a good time, and putting on a show for us. I snapped some pictures but most didn’t turn out how I wanted. I also spent about a half-hour just watching this peaceful creature.
Once I made it around the park it was past lunch time. I really wanted to head to the Lynn Canyon Park though so I made towards the Seabus. On my way I shopped along Robson Street which is their main shopping district. I didn’t find much for myself but for those REALLY into shopping I guess I could see the draw of the area. After that I jumped on the Seabus just before it sailed and went to North Vancouver. I ate at the Lonsdale Quay which is basically the farmer’s market of North Vancouver.
Then I jumped on the 228 bus and went to Lynn Canyon. This is where the suspension bridge, the free one at least, is located. It wasn’t too far of a walk from the bus stop to the canyon. The views were pretty cool. There were some kids below us cliff jumping into the river and thus ruining some good photo opportunities. I also forgot to take a picture of the actual suspension bridge. I took pictures while on it but not of it. Oops. I then hiked around the river taking more pictures until my camera died. Then I high tailed it out of there thinking I would catch the 4:30 bus. That bus either never came or was extremely late, extremely. He didn’t show up until almost 5 and then as I was next to board told me the bus was full. There was a huge group of people all waiting for him so we filled the bus easily.
The next driver who came I jumped on his bus. I figured I’d make it out of there one way or another. It turned out well for me as his bus made his final stop then turned into a bus that would take me to a train I could take back to my neighborhood. Once I got that all figured out I noticed my shoe was not going to make it. Both sides of my right shoe were completely unglued. The only thing holding it together were the front rubber to protector and the little bit of glue in the very back. Luckily, my neighborhood has more sporting goods type stores than I have ever seen. I visited one and found a good deal and put the shoes on hold. I went to compare prices at other stores. No more than six feet outside this first store the back of my shoe came undone and was now flopping freely and loudly. I almost and should have turned around and bought those shoes. After visiting about seven stores in a two block stretch I went back, compared some more shoes and bought nice replacements. They even offered to take care of my warranty claim as long as I had the receipt. Unfortunately as I explained I am on vacation and don’t carry my receipts with me so this would have to wait.
When I got back to the house the husband was in the living room singing in Hebrew with his wife and mother-in-law. I went upstairs to get ready for going out to dinner. When I went in the bathroom the lights were taped into the “on” position. I then realized they were observing the Sabbath. Pretty cool and also a little unnerving at the same time. I don’t want to cause them to be disobedient to the Sabbath so I’ll have to be mindful of that.
I went to dinner at a place called Stella’s. It is a Belgian bar and restaurant. Their selection of beer was amazing. I had this one beer that is brewed by Trappist Monks and they only brew this one variety, I believe it was called Orval. I then had a French brewed wheat beer that had a peach flavor to it and was also pretty good. I had tapas, light, small dishes meant to be shared kind of like an appetizer. I got the chicken wings and taquitos. Both were extremely good. The wings had a flavor that reminded me of the chili I make as I could taste cinnamon and coriander. The downside was that it had to be my most expensive meal. I’ll now be watching my wallet closely for one more day.
Tomorrow, or more likely today for everyone reading this, I’ll relax in Vancouver. Most of my sights have already been seen except for Kitsilano Beach. I’ll head to the beach in the morning and relax the rest of the day. Maybe I’ll even grab a nap on the Sabbath. That’s all for now. Shalom.
Today I checked out more of Nanaimo in the morning. I went to some more art galleries which were all pretty cool. I the made made my way to a part of the island called Piper’s Lagoon. It supposed to be a really cool lagoon. Well I was there at low tide so it was pretty much empty. I tried walking across it but it was quite wet, muddy, and I was wearing my sandals. It also had TONS of little critters, mostly crabs, come up out of the mud and then back down. It was fun to watch but I also wondered how long it would take for one to climb into my sandal. Then I thought about being this big huge giant and stepping all over them so I decided I had to get out of there. I couldn’t consciously be that mean even though I probably do that every day to some creature.
Okay the lagoon was pretty cool but more for the views of the ocean than of the lagoon itself. It also had some pretty cool boulders that I was able to climb up and get pictures off of. I then caught the bus back to the ferry to Horseshoe Bay northwest of Vancouver. Man this ferry was one sweet way to ride. They are extremely efficient. I had plenty of space around me, the front row of the boat, comfortable seats, and an observation deck to walk out onto. It also had all sorts of food and lounges. When I mean efficient I mean they unloaded the previous group and all the vehicles, we loaded up, and were out to sea within probably 25 minutes. Then I saw the same thing happen when we were dropped in Horseshoe bay as our ferry was off again while I was still waiting for my bus. The views from the boat were incredible as we approached the shore and the mountains. To our southeast we cold also see Mount Baker looming very large in the distance, it was massive. Some of those pictures are from the boat.
When I got into Vancouver by bus it was a quick transfer to the train and then off at my stop. I made my way to the home of the family who is hosting me. They seem very nice and David is a fairly well respected Rabbi from the area, from what I can gather. Things are very close to me including: transportation, coffee, food, shops, Granville Island, and more. It’s cool because I’m staying in an actual neighborhood instead of a tourist district that a hotel creates. The room I’m in is his son’s who’s away at University. I’m there first visitor since the Olympics so they haven’t hosted a ton of people. One neat thing he mentioned to me was that, at least during the Olympics, if you participated in renting out your home half of the profit would go to you and half would go to this organization that works to bring awareness to and eliminate homelessness. He wasn’t sure if the program ended with the Olympics but that’s still pretty neat.
I chilled out in my room for a little bit before heading out. I had my best meal of the trip. I’ve heard good things about the Indian cuisine here in Vancouver so I thought I would give it a try. It was a short 5 minute bus ride to one of the top rated Indian restaurants in town, Rangori. I had this spicy pulled pork dish with sauteed greens, yogurt, and some sort of hummus (though they don’t call it that.) They have a sister restaurant next door that is more high class and thus spendy which is why I decided on this one. I was not disappointed at all. It was absolutely fantastic. I’m thinking of going back to try some other dishes. The rest of my night has been spent in Chapter’s Books just checking stuff out. Tomorrow I’m off to the beach and downtown. Perhaps I’ll head to the suspension bridge but I’m not sure yet. Only a couple more days till I head home. I’ve got to savor these last few days of vacation so I can come back rested and ready to hit the ground running. Peace.
Well I’m getting in the habit of these late night updates. I always want to get things written down before I forget them though. Today started with an early wake-up call so I could catch the train. I grabbed breakfast at a little bakery by the train station. When I picked up my train ticket I found out I had to ride a coach bus for the first 20 minutes. They are doing bridge repairs so the train couldn’t come all the way to Victoria. That was not ideal as I had to wait in two lines now to get going in the morning. Ahh. I guess it could have been worse though. The train ride was nice. I had my row all to myself so plenty of room to stretch out. I ended up reading more about Nanaimo and watching some tv shows I saved on the ipad. The scenery was pretty sweet too. We went over a couple pretty high bridges.
When I got to Nanaimo it was a quick and easy walk to the hostel. This hostel is nice and I don’t mind it at all. It’s right in the middle of things downtown so it’s easy to get around. I paid extra to get a room to myself. It ended up being a little bit more for a night than the hotel the night before but that’s because all of the hotels here cost more. The room and bed are comfortable. The only complaint I would have is I can hear into the adjoining rooms fairly easy. I have earplugs though so I’m not worried.
I grabbed lunch on their Fisherman’s Wharf. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was salmon fish and chips. During lunch I remembered my first time hearing about fish n’ chips. It was when I was young and really into Micro Machines, those little tiny cars with foldable building block roads and communities. One of the stores I got for it was a fish ‘n chips restaurant. I can still see the logo in my mind. Anyway the food was good so I was happy.
After lunch I went into town and browsed a bunch of stores. Nanaimo is known as an artsy area so there are a lot of art stores and galleries. I found one art gallery I really liked a lot. I wish I had more money to buy the art I wanted because I found a few pieces that would be cool to have. There was one called “Street Light” that was a multidimensional painting of a streetlight. It looked like it would jump off the canvas. Super cool. I also found an Apple retailer and went in and talked to them. Apple had a big news event today and I wasn’t able to follow it like I usually do so they filled me in. Then I found a coffee, a very nice mocha from Serious Coffee.
After that I headed over to Newcastle Island. This is an island you see across the harbor. It was a quick 10 minute ferry ride to it. The island is a provincial park so there are no residents, just park land. I walked the perimeter, about 8.5 km or 5.25 miles. It was not as difficult as my mountain hike but it was long. I judged the time wrong but that may be because I stopped a LOT, took lots of pictures, and just enjoyed the scenery. I also took some adventurous offshoot trails. I found many ways back down to the ocean areas, did some bouldering, and more serious hiking. At one point I was climbing rocks practically straight up on ground that wasn’t solid and with little trees that wouldn’t support me if I decided to grab one if I fell. I kind of freaked out a little bit because I was alone and nobody else was there. It would have been a good 80-100 foot drop but no worries because I made it. I took a picture from the top but it doesn’t look bad in the photo because it’s hard to see where the bottom is versus the top because of all the green trees. After that I was careful about choosing my route so I would avoid death or serious injury on this trip. The island hike was beautiful and I did it starting about 5:15 so I got to see the sun come down. When I finished the hike I took the ferry to the island next to it. There is a little island pub called the Dinghy Dock that I grabbed a burger at. It was pretty dang good.
I came back to the hostel after that and did some laundry. Tomorrow I will check out a few more art galleries, a lagoon, perhaps a brewery, and a mediterranean restaurant. Then I will hop on a ferry for two hour and head back to Vancouver. I will be staying with a family in the southern part of Vancouver just off the light rail line. The man is a Rabbi and is interested in talking with me. We’ll see how that goes. They seem really nice and I’m looking forward to it because he was very easy to work with trying to get a place booked through airbnb. He’s also close to some southern vancouver area shops and other stuff that would interest me.
The things I really want to see or do now would be: Stanley Park, Kitsilano Beach, the shopping district (can’t remember the exact name of it but it’s the flagship stores for Banana Republic and Gap), and also the suspension bridge in north vancouver. The one I want to go to is not Capilano which has much more fanfare but also costs money to see. The one I want to see is free and only 20 feet shorter so I think it’s worth it. Plus I think it’s easier to get to with public transit. Anway, I should have wifi at the house but I can’t say that for 100% sure. If I can I’ll update you. Peace.