Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Molly Goes North: Part 2 (Day 3 & Day 4 - Morning)

(Previously: Part 1)

Sunday, August 20

Today was the day my friend Heather would be joining me in Vancouver! She flew in and took public transportation to the hotel's neighborhood, and I met her at the bus stop.

Heather wanted to do something semi-relaxing and low-key that afternoon, so it was decided we'd take a walk. And since Stanley Park is right there...

We started walking toward Beaver Lake. (See this map if you want to get oriented with the layout of the park. I had been given a paper map by the folks at the bicycle shop the day before). We had only been walking about 10-15 minutes when we came across...


D'aw. These raccoons just ignored us as they foraged for food or whatever they were doing. We watched them for a few minutes, snapped some pictures, and moved along. Would they be just the first of the many wild beasts we saw on this walk? What else would we encounter?!

Horses? Nay. The only horses we saw were the ones pulling the tourist trolleys.

Beaver Lake was lovely. Lily pads galore!

Oh hey, there's a bird!

After taking in the views of the lake, we took the "Ravine Trail" northeastward up to the sea (the Burrard Inlet.)

We followed the seaside path clockwise, stopping occasionally to look at rocks, shells and sea glass.

Photo by Heather M.

I had to take a few photos at this splash park...

There were places to stand under this and not get wet. While I was going for the perfect shot, Heather took a pic of me!

Photo by Heather M.

It's like I'm just taking a shower fully clothed, no big deal!

 We got lunch at a snack shop (grilled cheese and fries), while hungry birds waited hopefully nearby...

We then took a scenic route back along the edge of the park, and eventually made it back to our hotel. 

So yeah. Those raccoons were the wildest things we saw the whole time. 

After a short rest at our hotel, we headed out again. We walked along one of the busier streets, in search of a Tim Horton's (donut place).

I got a maple-topped (when in Canada!) donut to eat the next morning. I also got a blended coffee. Sooo good. Down the road, we stopped at a Bubble Tea shop, where I got a crazy concoction of pineapple juice, black tea, and rainbow jellies. Coffee AND tea. Too much caffeine?! NEVER!

Photo by Heather M.

Sorry, you do not get a picture of my tea, because I was apparently done taking pictures for the day. 

We went to Safeway to get some dinner, then went back to the hotel, where we watched TV and relaxed. One show we watched was CBS's Candy Crush, which until that night I did not know existed. It was simultaneously wonderful and painful to witness.

Meanwhile, this was on my phone....


Monday, August 21 (Morning)

Monday was destined to be an exciting day. Not only would we be boarding the cruise ship, but there was a solar eclipse happening mid-morning. The funny thing about the eclipse is that we're from Oregon, which is one of the states that got 100% totality. Many tourists specifically traveled to Oregon that weekend to witness this exciting event. And where were we? Why, in Canada, of course!

Heather had a pair of eclipse glasses with her, and so, after having some breakfast at Starbucks, we headed out to find a good eclipse-viewing spot.

So stylish.

This is one of the rare photos you'll see of Heather. That's her shadow on the left. ;)

Of course, it was impossible to get a clear shot of the eclipse with our cameras. I even tried putting my camera up to the glasses for a shot. Fail. But we could photograph the fun things the sun & moon were doing on the earth, such as... making crescents in between our fingershadows....

And making the treeshadows look funny...

And, you know, shining prettily on the water...

Hey, wait...

I hate it when people don't return their carts.

After the eclipse reached its maximum totality, we watched for a few more minutes, loaned the eclipse glasses to various passersby, and eventually began to make our way back toward the hotel. We stopped at a convenience store to use the ATM and get some more Canadian money. Somewhere along the line, Heather bought Lemon Pepsi...

Photo by Heather M.

Back at our hotel, we checked out with about 10 minutes to spare before the 11am deadline, then walked (yes, with all our luggage!) toward a bus stop, where we caught a ride to the cruise port area, aka Canada Place.

Photo by Heather M. 

Canada Place is a bustling, touristy locale. I'd heard that the layout, especially when embarking on a cruise, could be confusing. For that reason, I read whatever I could find about it. I learned that you can drop your luggage off and then come back later to check in for your cruise. And that is what we did. (I made sure to tip the porter $5 so he wouldn't lose our bags.)

Our Port Arrival Time was around 12:30 (Disney tries to stagger the people arriving so it's not total chaos), and it was only 11:30 then, so I figured that would be plenty of time to ride Flyover Canada, which is located right there at Canada Place, too.

There's our boat!

Photo by Heather M. 

Heather didn't care to do the Flyover ride, but she said she'd hang out while I did it. I didn't anticipate it taking very long, since I knew it was an 8-minute ride, and when I bought the ticket, it said "FastlLane" on it. This was all crazy & false, because there was nothing "fast" about it. First we waited in a line for 10-15 minutes. Then they took a group of us into a room to watch a video. How to describe this video? Well, let's just say... if they had ended it by passing around an offering bucket and asking us to sign over our souls to CultCanada, they might have had a few takers. Canadaaaaa. You loooove Canada. Mounties and bears and trees, glorious trees. Pledge your allegiance to the maple leeeaaffff!

After escaping the video room, we had to go queue for the actual ride and watch a "safety video." Finally, we were ushered into the ride itself. People sat, stowed belongings, buckled up, and then prepared to FLYYYYY!

Predictably, the ride is a lot like Disney's Soarin' Over California. I love that ride and the feeling of flying. In this version, they spray you with water a few times. There's cold air at one point. I know there were a couple of smells in there, but I can't remember what they were. Maybe pine trees and sea air?

The ride was fun and all, but from the moment I got my ticket until I stepped off the ride, it took about an hour. The price for one adult was $27 Canadian/$22 U.S. Worth it? Yes, once. I can't imagine riding it again. It just takes so long! I was sorry to make Heather wait. But she did, and she even took this photo of me with this Flyover lumberjack bear.

Photo by Heather M.

But yeah. FastLane? not so much. Still, those 8 minutes on the actual ride were fun. And now I don't have to ever do it again.

It was now past 12:30 and that could only mean... IT WAS TIME TO BOARD THE SHIP!

Next Up: Embarkment!

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