Vancouver, B.C., Canada – day 4

Today is an extra day in Vancouver.  We like it here so much, we’ve decided to extend a day.   However, we are going to switch to a new motel over in North Vancouver.

In the morning, we got in the car and drove to the Whole Foods market at 8th and Cambie and had granola, yogurt and coffee.

Then, we drove back to the room, packed everything up into the car, checked out, made sure it would be OK if we left the car in their lot post-checkout and then walked to the local bank.

There, we changed an Australian $10 for about $9.78 Canadian so we’d have enough to each buy two bus tickets for the day (at $2.50 per ticket, two rides are cheaper than an all day ticket @ $9.00).  I still had a small amount of Canadian change as well as the $9.78 we’d just received.

We took bus #19 which routes through Chinatown where we wanted to take a look around.   Chinatown here is old.   It seems a lot like the one in San Francisco to me.   Lots of food markets with their wares displayed on the sidewalk and inside, nearly always, rows and rows of big jars on the walls full of mysterious things.  Colette’s put up pictures of all this stuff on her Facebook page (Colette Meehan).

We found the Dr. Sun Yat Sen park in Chinatown and had a walk through it.   A beautiful place that I had no idea existed.

From there, we walked towards Gastown a bit to the north and this took us through an intermediate area and across the street, Hastings.   I recall from the early 80’s that Hastings was the locus for the rougher elements in town. The bums, the homeless and the drunks with attitude.  Indeed, I saw one today.   He just walked right into my personal space like I wasn’t there and then proceeded across a busy street (Hastings) completely ignoring the lights and the traffic – oblivious when a truck honked its horn at him.  Nice.

Once in Gastown (named after a fellow named ‘Gassy Jack’ (don’t ask)), we found a nice coffee shop (The Coffee Bar on Water Street) and had coffees and a small lemon bar and watched folks walk by out on the street.   We are both big people watchers and we spend maybe 40 minutes entertaining ourselves this way.

Then we walked off to find the stream-driven clock of Gastown.  The clock’s a quite famous tourist destination.   But, just as we spotted it, Colette saw an gallery of Inuit influenced art (paintings, sculpture and furniture among other things).   Inuit Galley of Vancouver, Limited (www.inuit.com).   Beautiful stuff inside.  Some by native artists and some by non-natives but deeply influenced by native motifs.   I saw some furniture that I stood and looked at for a long time.  Colette liked it all as well. 

We were so impressed by the Inuit stuff, that we walked on and never did look at the stream-drive clock.

Soon, we found ourselves at the Sea Bus terminal which we’d used to cross to the North Vancouver side the other day.   Inside, there was a restaurant, “The Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar”, and we decided to go there for a light lunch.   It was  a nice upscale place just mere blocks from the bums of Hastings.   Lots of professionals in business dress out for a nice lunch.

From the restaurant, it was just a step to the SkyTrain which shares the Sea Bus Terminal.   We got on the King Edward line and four or five stations later, we jumped off at Main Street/Science Centre where we switched to the #19 which runs up past the motel where we’d left our car parked.   All these moves with the bus/train/boat system here are beginning to seem familiar; the names of the stations and how things are arranged.

We recovered the car and headed over to North Vancouver via the same route we followed the first night in town; across the Granville Bridge, into downtown, along Georgia Street into Stanley Park and then up and over the Lion’s Gate Bridge into North Vancouver.  We were bound for Capilano Road and one of two motels we’d scoped out on booking.com.

It turned out that the North Vancouver Hotel was the one we liked so we checked in.   Booking.com has saved us a lot of money on this trip.   We find out what a place’s low-rate is before we engage them and then, if their at-the-counter quote is something higher, we point out to them that they are advertising a lower rate on-line.   Works like a charm.  $89 went to $76 here.

After checking in, we just relaxed a bit.   The idea was that later in the evening, we were going to investigate a harp concert we’d discovered by chance the other day in a small Vancouver newspaper.    About 5:00PM, we took off to see if we could locate the Harp concert venue at Capilano University and if there were still tickets available.

It was raining and here we were again heading out to a place we had only half an idea of where it might be,   But, we’re getting to be old masters at this sort of thing.   So, after some false starts in the dark and rain, we found it on the campus.   Inside, we determined that the ticket booth was not going to open for another hour but that there were still tickets available.   We talked to a nice fellow (the facilities manager, Gary?) who made a note so that the ticket booth people would save us two of the best remaining tickets when they opened and he left it for them.  Then he gave us some (very good) advice where we might find a place to eat in the local area.

It turned out to be “The Pantry” which was beside the Holiday Inn which was not too far from the university.   We had a nice meal there served by a lady with an accent like Marge’s in the movie, “Fargo” and then we headed back for the concert.

As promised, nice tickets had been held for us (the event was very nearly sold out) on the right side in the 4th row back.   They were perfect.

Before the concert proper, there was a small group out in the lobby that played for us and while they were young, they had real talent and promise and it was fun listening to them.

Finally, it was 7:30PM and the main event began.   I estimated that there was 400 to 600 people there and the hall was virtually full.

The music?    Excellent.   They had several unique medieval musical instruments that neither Colette nor I had ever heard of and they play all of their instruments very professionally.  If was an excellent concert and both of us were very happy at our luck to have chanced upon it.  “WinterHarp” is the name of the Canadian group – highly recommended.

Then, another drive in the rain (easier this time) back to our room.   An excellent day!

Tomorrow, we’re off headed south again into the USA.

dennis

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