Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vancouver - the big city

Dropped off our rental car just in time for the guy inside to run us over to the BC Ferry to leave at 1 pm Monday, Sept. 15. Great timing!

The ferry was HUGE! Being from the "midwest," if that is what you can call Kentucky, we don't have much experience with ferries. Jerry and I were expecting something a bit, well, smaller than a 7 layered cruise liner! ha ha And for the short trip over (about an hour or less), they had a full cafeteria, snack bars, bathrooms, and decks - 2 decks down for trucks and busses and cars - 5 decks up for people, including the top 2 that were open to view the water and land slowly cruising by. I didn't take any photos so I'll have to share some of Jerry's he took while travelling. This isn't our ferry but one just like it - or maybe ours was just a bit bigger. Along the way we saw a funky little lighthouse, lots of very expensive homes with very expensive views.

At one point, the Captain says, "If you are on the right side of the ferry, you can see a pod of killer whales," so, of course, everyone ran to the right side of the ferry and I'm thinking, "Where are the lifejackets when this thing tips over?" Turns out I didn't need it - but one never knows! Jerry didn't get the whole pod but did get this one breaching a bit. Pretty cool, eh? (Did you catch that Canadian dialect? ha ha)

We didn't have a clue how to get from the Tsaawassen Ferry drop into Vancouver - which was a fer walk, that's for sure, so that was out. Turns out we bought 2 tickets on the ferry for a busline (doing tours) that let us get on with the other tourists (mostly from Germany and Holland and Spain, if my hearing was correct). Took us right to the International Departures area of the Vancouver International Airport. Then we had a Starbucks and called our hotel who send a shuttle bus to pick us up, taking right to our front door. Pretty sweet! And we didn't have to fight the Vancouver traffic.

Of course, the next day we still didn't have a car but we had a plan - city buses - to take us to Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium where I wanted, so wanted, to see the beluga whale and her baby (born in June).

So many cities have wonderful bus service. This one was on an electrical line like a trolley so no gas fumes and spending on fuel - clever Canadians!! Although it took us just over an hour to get from our hotel to Stanley Park (with one transfer still at $2.50 each way, not bad), it was comfortable and relatively open, not many people using the bus at the time we left at 9:30 am on a Tuesday morning.

It was not so wonderful coming back home taking the same bus route with school out and people coming home from work - and people crammed in like sardines and the bus driver kept letting them on and there were never as many getting off the bus as getting on and I thought, "Where are we going to put all these people?" and some talking on cell phone and some talking to their friends (school out, remember, lots of kids taking the bus), and just a few places to actually sit so you got to see that the girl in front of you really needed to shave her pits unless it was a fashion statement about stubble. But we survived it. It was an experience. Try to imagine being in an elevator with 25 people talking to each other, talking on their cell phones, and the doors open and 5 more get in and 1 gets out and - try to imagine!!!

But back to the good stuff - the Vancouver Aquarium and the beluga whales!!! I don't know why they make me smile and they make me think that life is okay, no matter what is happening, but they do. Pale grandmother beluga and mother beluga and grey baby beluga that didn't let mama far from her side (yep, also a female) and looked like a batiked painting because the grey was peeling a bit and actually looked pretty cool.


I was so determined not to miss the belugas that it didn't matter that, just before we went into the Aquarium (as we were blocking our eyes from the assault of the Vancouver sun and looking for a sign that said Aquarium), I tripped over a metal chair attached to a metal picnic table and fell, skinning my knee badly and catching myself with my left hand, which was scraped (and did you know your fingers only bend back so far without causing serious pain??? Well, I know that now). Didn't matter. I soldiered on and saw them and enjoyed them. Of course, we saw the rest of the Aquarium, too, but the belugas were what I came for.
Maybe I can download snippets of the videos I took on my camera - if I can figure that out.


Deborah A. Léger said...

Do I sense a Beluga painting coming on? (hint, hint)

RHCarpenter said...

Hmmm...maybe.... :)