Oct. 23 (Sunday): This day being Sunday, my cousin had agreed to drive me around the city to work out the kinks – that is, to go to whatever’s left of my itinerary. I told her I was interested in seeing the University of British Columbia (UBC) as well as Granville Island. So at around 9AM, we headed to the University. It was covered with thick fog at that time so I wasn’t able to see the buildings very clearly. We proceeded next to Granville Island. It is sort of like San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf except that it’s not as big of a tourist trap. There’s a huge public market. In true Canadian style, it was spanking clean and pricey. They sold a wide range of goods, from Italian pastries to salmon jerky to fresh produce. There was also a duck pond nearby and some art galleries lining the island, which is actually a peninsula. After walking around Granville Island, it was still early so I asked my cousin if we could go to Queen Elizabeth Park. She had never heard of the park but I gave her some directions. It wasn’t difficult to locate the park due to its size. There’s a view of downtown from the grounds, as well as a large expanse of manicured gardens which looked really colorful in the fall. There’s also the Bloeden Conservatory which reminded me a bit of Singapore’s Esplanade.
Afterwards, we went home and I participated in an American activity and helped my cousins RAKE THE LEAVES. Haha. We found a lot of chestnuts, too. Again, this felt more exotic to me as I come from the tropics. After we finished raking, I joined my cousins for a bike trip around the city. It was probably the first time in ten years since I last used a real bike (not a stationary one). We biked from Kitsilano all the way past Granville Island (which is a 15 minute distance by car), where I was that morning. During the way, we passed thru Kitsilano Beach and the Maritime Museum. It was really fun, especially with the cool weather and the beautiful view that greeted us along the long bike path. Now, this is something I won’t be able to do in any major city in Asia!
By this time it dawned on me that my Vancouver visit was almost coming to an end. And I only had Monday morning left to tour around.
Oct. 24 (Monday): Knowing that I was going to fly home to San Francisco at 3:15PM, I woke up even earlier today to maximize my time. I went to downtown again, but I tried a different route this time; going from Davie St, turning right at one residential street, seeing a squirrel again, then making another right at Robson. By this time it was only 9:30 and shops were still closed. I didn’t mind. I just wanted to see it all again. I returned to Gastown once more and went inside the souvenir shops to see if there was anything I could take with me. What they had were mostly junk – Vancouver t-shirts, flags, knick-knacks and other things you know you’ll never have use for. I decided to have lunch in Granville Island and try their specialties there. I had salmon and baked potatoes. I finished it off with a delicious peach and berry tart.
And with that I went back to my cousins’ place to pick up my bags. Then, I took the bus again to get to the airport, ending my 4-day trip to Vancouver, Canada.
I really liked Vancouver. Despite the stereotype that Canada is a boring place, I found Vancouver to be a buzzing and vibrant city, full of activities that I wouldn’t be able to do in other big cities. Vancouver enjoys an unparalleled quality of life. To an extent, I am a bit jealous of the city’s residents. Maybe someday I can be one of them.