Day Four and Five: Vancouver

Our trip to Vancouver felt a little bit like the Wizard of Oz. Maybe I
came up with that analogy because we followed a rainbow stretching
over the water for quite a distance. I had never been so close to a
rainbow that we in fact crossed to the other side. Instead of it
bowing out to the right, at a certain point the arch flipped over to
the left. Interesting. I had no idea that would happen.

At a certain point, we could see a city far off in the distance as the
shore line curved around almost perpendicular to the train. Our
conductor pointed out that this was Vancouver. With a distinct
landscape of glass high-rises on the water’s edge, Vancouver certainly
looked like The Emerald City.

When we arrived, I kept looking at all of the high rises. There are
rows upon rows of condos only separated by the streets. I think they
are most obvious from the sea bus ferry we took from our hotel in
Yaletown over to Granville Island. The scenic ride gives you plenty of
time to study this dense way of living in this compact urban space.
Almost everyone has an outdoor balcony. The buildings are situated in
a way to not completely block another neighbor’s view. In short the
scenery is remarkable. Vancouver is probably already known as Crystal
City. If not, it should be. And not because it looks anything like the
Crystal City of Northern Virginia. Vancouver is stunning with the
mountains and water surrounding it, and small water planes humming
around and a SkyTrain levitating above the ground.

I also noticed that there is new construction everywhere! Major
construction – like Metro stations, multiple square blocks of
development, new water front condos.

The street level was not quite as beautiful as the view from the sea
bus. But we randomly popped into quite a few gems, including Paper Ya,
my dream paper store, and Bistrot Bistro for dinner. Delicious.

We spent more time walking than I would have liked to. But we finally
made it to the sea wall and the totem poles in Stanly Park.

All in all our trip to Vancouver was a little too short, but I was
ready to get back to the train for a nap an hour before pulling out.
This leg of the trip felt a little too much like a post-college trip
to Europe. We didn’t have to translate any language. But there was a
moment in Stanley Park, when I thought, surely to God, we are going to
get out of here, as I fumbled through my change trying to cobble
together $5 in Canadian Loonies for our bus ride back downtown.
Thankfully an old man whipped out a full bank from his pocket to break
our twenty. And then another girl was able to give us change for a
five. No bills accepted on the bus. Whew! Thanks to the kind Canadians.

But it is nice to be back in the US, where I can freely roam the
Internet on my iPhone. We are an hour away from Portland. As much as I
love the train, it will be nice to sleep in a couple of days before
heading back East.

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