Vancouver Trip

I recently took a trip to Vancouver. The weather was much nicer than in Toronto, about 10 degrees cooler. This was our fourth time going to Vancouver, so we knew where to stay (Davie Street, not because it's the gay district but because it's close to English Bay) and we knew where not to go (Hastings and Main). We took an "airporter" bus but this turned out to be an expensive, less-than-convenient alternative to a taxi. The kicker is that we had to switch buses a few blocks from our hotel, but the bus we switched to drove all around the city in a big circle until finally dropping us off an hour later. It would have been faster for us to walk from the transfer point, dragging our luggage on its pitiful wheels. But after this dismal start the rest of the vacation went really well.

The first night there was the final night of the fireworks festival. We went to English Bay relatively early, around 7pm, when there were only about 200,000 people waiting for the show to start. I estimate that the crowd doubled in the three hours we waited, until there were so many people that we were standing on a bench because there wasn't room for us to sit (people crowded too close to the bench) and some people were actually climbing on the bench to try to get by. But the fireworks were good, and I wish I'd had a tripod there to photograph them.

After that we spent the rest of the time wandering around Vancouver and relaxing at English Bay. We also went on a walking tour of Gastown, where I learned that the fire department used to (in the old days) sell its horses to the police, milk-men, whoever, once the horses were too old to pull fire-wagons. But the horses had been so well-trained that whenever a fire alarm sounded, all the police and milk-men showed up at the fire along with the actual firemen.

Overall the trip was relaxing and fun. The only real excitement was when two F117A Stealth Fighters flew overhead. I'd never personally seen this plane flying and was so surprised to see two of them that I just gaped like a drooling nitwit until I realized that I was holding my camera. I tried to snap a picture but unless you know ahead of time that it's a picture of two aircraft you'd be forgiven for missing those two stealthy specs.

Our last night there was eventful as well due to a false fire-alarm which caused us to evacuate. Too bad the Vancouver FD doesn't use horses anymore.

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