My World in Motion: Part 2

So, I have returned from my expedition with photos to share and stories to tell. Not that many, the only thing that really went wrong was that I forgot my earbuds and pj’s.

I didn’t really want anything to go wrong, but those things do make for good stories. What with the miracle of Google Maps, which allowed me to not only avoid getting lost but pick the right fork in the path to come out of the forest precisely where I meant to, there really wasn’t much trouble I could get into.

Which is a good thing, because as I mentioned in Part 1, sort of, I’m really not into trouble. And I’m especially not interested in getting lost.

Seriously, I think close to 40% of my traumatic childhood memories could have been avoided if iPhone’s existed back then.

So I successfully managed to ride a bus to Vancouver and get myself to my AirBnb without winding up somewhere I didn’t want to go or getting kidnapped and murdered.

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That’s the station where my bus arrived in Vancouver.

I noticed, among the other movies my host had available to watch, there was I Am Legend. As you know, I like zombies, but I decided I should wait until at least the next night to watch it, as the whole process of shipping myself across the province was freaky enough.

So instead I mainly watched TV. It’s an interesting experience after only having access to Netflix for months. No pause button. I actually had to choose between shows instead of saving one for later. And commercials, those were a rude shock (“What the barf is this garbage!? Give me back my show!”) But they do make for convenient bathroom/snack breaks.

Surprisingly I didn’t have a hard time sleeping in a strange place. I guess I’m used to being in a strange (but by now somewhat familiar) apartment and hearing weird noises that cause me to look towards the door suspiciously. These days the only noise that freaks me out is if I think someone may have knocked on my door.

And then I freeze, waiting for indications that it is time to lock myself in the bathroom and call the police.

So, same rules for this new apartment. No big deal. Pretty much everything is weird but nothing is actually life-threatening. Except if you leave the heat lamp in the bathroom on with the door open, then the lamp will light the door on fire and burn down the building.

Maybe that’s why the heat lamp in my own apartment doesn’t work?

Anyway, the next day I set off to circumnavigate Stanley Park, stopping off at a conveniently placed cafe for lunch (in this case a chai latte, and an eclair. That totally counts as lunch.) and culminating in a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium.

The chai tea latte was what one would call a life-affirming experience. It wasn’t the latte itself (although it was one of the best I’ve had) so much as drinking it in this amazing beautiful place. It just confirmed for me that if all my hard work and years of studenthood and nights of freaking out wondering what I was doing with my life- If all that led to my ability to come here and do this, obviously I made the right life-choices.

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This is the view from the cafe.

I was quite tired when I got to the aquarium (the loop I decided to take is apparently about 11 miles), but I promised myself ice cream at some point and soldiered on.

And found MONKEYS!

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Which is weird, for an aquarium, but they were part of the Amazon Rainforest exhibit.

In addition to monkeys also had caimans, piranhas, a variety of fish, and my favorite, the arapaima fish. They’re huge, and awesome. I didn’t get a picture because they were lurking spookily in the back where you could just see them through the gloom.

Google them, or ask Siri/your-preferred-virtual-assistant. I would do it for you but the best ones are copyright protected.

There were also a lot of human monkeys. And by that I mean screaming children. I’ve been to other busy aquariums before but– I don’t know if I’m becoming a curmudgeon or if there were just a lot of kids, because I don’t recall being annoyed by kids at my previous visits to aquariums. Granted, in all but one of those I actually was a kid, but still.

I never screamed when I was a kid in aquariums, is all I’m saying.

It may have also been low blood sugar, because boy did I need those concession stand fries. And I slathered them in tomato/vinegar syrup. Oooh boy.

I had only had a latte and a pastry for lunch, you see. And for breakfast, well, what happens in Vancouver stays in Vancouver.

Except for what doesn’t.

Like that lionfish, those jellyfish, and that pipefish.

So the ice cream did eventually happen as I trudged my sore feet back through downtown Vancouver. According to my iPhone I got aproximately 27,000 steps in that day. Or almost 19 km. And somehow managed to climb 13 flights of stairs. (I’m not gonna lie, I got lost in the aquarium looking for the way out. I think that’s where most of the stairs came from.)

That night, or maybe the next night (I don’t remember, and it doesn’t matter) I did watch I Am Legend. Bad idea? You’d think so, but it wasn’t. I enjoyed it. I slept fine.

I did spend part of the evening wondering if I really should go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge park the next day, or go for another jaunt through Stanley park. There were plenty of trails I hadn’t been on, and plus the route I planned involved figuring out how to use a water taxi, and the bus system. Which for some reason freaked me out more than the zombie movie, but whatever.

Then I went on my phone and found out that Capilano offers a free shuttle to itself. That settled it. I would go to the appointed spot and see if a shuttle bus materialized at the appointed time.

And after I spent about five minutes as a random person loitering around a hotel I wasn’t staying at, it did. Yay me! I figured out a thing. Awesome.

Capilano. Is. Amazing.

I don’t know where to begin, honestly. Google that too. I only have this one picture because the rest was videos and I don’t think wordpress will let me post those unless I give them money once a month.

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Notice the infographic showing the bridge relative to Lady Liberty? Uh-huh.

The skywalks, the cliff thingee, the bridge itself. All of which are freakier than they seem in pictures. Especially the bridge.

That thing moves. A lot. Like a tipsy canoe or a trampoline. And some people … Some people are really not helpful in this regard. (“I’m trying not to die, here. Could you not?”)

Well, that was more the second time (you go across the bridge to get to the skywalk, and then back again to do the cliff thing, and get to the exit). The first time was more like me gripping the rails and going “This is why I live alone I hate people! Why didn’t anyone tell me this thing moves!” In my head, in case that wasn’t obvious.

As a side note there weren’t many screaming children, although somebody’s middle-aged aunt completely lost it in the middle of the bridge.

I heard the commotion, but didn’t stay to watch. I had a skywalk to get to.

It’s all amazing and terrifying. It helps (or doesn’t, depending on how you think about it) if you stop to have another chai latte at the cafe, just to get that caffeine buzz on top of the survival instincts.

Yes, in addition to all the other awesomeness, they also have a coffee shop. And a restaurant, and a gift shop where you can buy ridiculously overpriced things if you so choose. The coffee shop even has Bailey’s Hot Chocolate!

I was going to get one, but then I noticed it costs as much as I normally spend to feed myself in a day. (Roughly 6-10 dollars, calculated by my grocery bill for a month divided by the number of days.) The cute hat I almost bought was $76.

Almost is an overstatement though. I took one look at that price tag and went “Gross, I bet I could make something like this for twenty dollars or less.”  And have yarn leftover.

One expects these tourist-traps at a tourist trap.

But it was amazing and beautiful and I loved it. And then it was time to leave.

The shuttle bus dropped me off downtown again, and I went to Sulmida Dessert Cafe for mid-afternoon … lunch? Sort of? Early supper? (I have to be back at the apartment before supper-time. Because zombies.) Anyway, it’s a cool Asian place with yummy food.

I got a Strawberry Lava Bread, which is basically enough sweet dough bread for four people with strawberry custard in the middle, two mounds of ice cream and one mound of whipped cream, sprinkled with fresh strawberry slices. And I ate all of it. And it was delicious.

There was also … I can’t remember what they called it. Milk snow? Anyway, a huge pile of snowcone stuff with sweetened condensed milk in it, with a variety of fruit or chocolate toppings. I wanted that but it was a bit chilly out, so I went with the bread.

This was on Denman Street, which has a lot of cool cafe’s and food places. Also some of the major mainstream ones (like McD’s etc) who try to fit in but stick out like office workers who showed up to a bluegrass festival in Halloween hippie costumes. And Starbucks, which somehow manages to just look like the coolest kid on the block, being all like “Hey, I was born not far from here.”

Thereafter things got much less interesting. More TV, then bed. I slept in, watched TV until check-out at noon, then took a cab to the station and waited there until my bus left at 2:20. Why did I do that instead of stopping for lunch at the Italian Chocolate Bistro like a normal person?

Because I thought it would be weird to call a cab from the cafe, and I didn’t want to deal with transit. That’s why. Next time though.

I thought I would end this writing about how it was amazing and everything, but maybe not worth the price tag without anyone else there to make it special. But after writing about and reliving all of that, I’m not sure it’s really true. I mean, someone going with me would be awesome, but it was worth it.

My World in Motion: Vancouver Part 1

Vancouver

By the time this post is published, on Sunday, I will be well into my first solo vacation.

But as I write this, my full backpack is sitting on the floor somewhere, and a reminder is sitting on my phone, ready to go “ding” when it’s time for me to call a taxi and go to the bus station.

As you may have guessed, I’m spending the Easter long weekend in Vancouver. Although this isn’t necessarily the most devout thing one could do during Easter, the natural world has always provoked worship and wonder in me. Resurrection and ocean are my two favorite words.

So it seems fitting that I should visit the ocean and forests in and around Vancouver at this time of year. It certainly isn’t any less fitting than hunting around for chocolate eggs.

On Saturday, as I mentioned, I’ll be taking the bus from Smallville, where I live, to Vancouver. Even by bus it won’t be a bad trip. It’s only an hour longer than the drive from Metropolis, where I’ve lived most of my life up until now, and Gotham, where I was born. the scenery should be quite nice, and after all, I’ve got my new phone to entertain me.

To me honest, this trip was the triggering reason I got the phone in the first place. I knew I wanted a smartphone eventually, but smartphones are particularly useful in unfamiliar cities. If you get lost, or hungry in a strange city it is much more comfortable to be able to ask Siri for directions than a random stranger. For me at least.

I am adventurous, but I am a particular kind of adventurous. My temperament is somewhere between Anne of Green Gables (but not the gritty one from the TV series) and Lady Mary Crawley, if either of those people were excessively introverted. So basically, I like to spend time in the state to which I am accustomed, while trying to make friends with butterflies or contemplating the meaning of a unicorn emoji*. Human interaction is not necessarily part of that equation.

It wouldn’t be unwelcome, but it isn’t necessary.

After I get to Vancouver, I’ll unpack (translation: drop my backpack on the floor of my airbnb apartment), and go out in search of supplies. After that, I plan on spending the evening watching TV or scribbling in my notebook while appreciating the ocean view on the balcony.

Sunday I plan on hitting the Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park, and/or the seawall. I will have my sketchbook/notebook with me, and the camera on my phone. If the urge hits me I may scribble or doodle some things while I’m out and about, or if not (history says not) I’ll just take it all in.

I love fish (and other assorted water-dwelling things), and trees, and the ocean. It’s going to be fantastic. Next week I’ll show you pictures.

Monday I’m going to the Capilano suspension bridges. I encourage you to google it. It looks epic. Have I mentioned I love trees? This place looks like the closest earthly thing to the forests of Lothlorien. To get there, I’ll take a water taxi to North Vancouver, a small adventure in and of itself, and then a bus to Capilano Park.

Then on Monday, a scenic but nevertheless somewhat depressing bus ride back to Smallville.

It is very convenient having a four-day weekend in the same month that my income tax rebate cheque shows up. I may have to make a yearly thing of this.

*Really, what does it mean? When someone sends you a unicorn emoji, you know what they’re trying to get across. But you can’t explain it.