Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out and About in Vancouver eh?

Well it is the last night of my short 3 night stay in Vancouver.

It is beautiful here. The city is really gearing up for the Winter Olympics The squirrels in Stanley Park are really cute, especially the black ones. And the air is really fresh.

The bad thing about this place is there is very little choice in food. For example I went to Chinatown last night thinking I would be able to find a goodChinese meal. Given I had read something somewhere about it being the 3rd largest chinatown in North America, I thought I would have a good chance. There are no Chinese restaurants in the Vancouver Chinatown. well I saw one, but it was "east-west fusion" and seemed expensive for what it was. Then I took a turn down a street thinking China town was more than one street. Wrong.

So I walked back to the city and ended up having two slices of really bad pizza. As long as you like pizza or burritos you are set. I don't want to see another hamburger or french fry for a long time. Oh and the Pizza gave me bad indigestion through the night.

Yesterday I took the "sea bus" ferry over to North Vancouver and to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The bridge is a 400 foot long and is 200 feet over the river at the bottom of the canyon. There is also a forest walk canopy walk which was quite cool. It was good, but way overpriced. I also considered taking the gondola up Grouse Mountain (1400 meters high) , but I really didn't want to pay the $39 to get up there.

This morning I took a bit of a ride on the Skytrain and Canada Line light rail lines. Think Dockland's Light Railway and that's pretty much what it is like. The services are very frequent on both, about every 2-3 minutes. The Skytrain, which is over 20 years old has 3-4 car trains, while the brand new Canada line, built for the Olympics to link the city to the airport has 2 car trains. The Vancouver translink fare system is a zone system like Melbourne, although tickets seem to be valid for odd periods of 1.5 hours. A 1 zone ticket is $2.50 and will get you most places you need to go as a visitor. To cross to North Vancouver, either by bus or Seabus you need a 2 zone ticket. From what I have seen, there is no ticket checking at all, and there are no fare gates at stations.

In the afternoon I visited Stanley Park which is a huge park just to the west of the CBD, totally free. I walked through the park from the bus terminal (actually a trolley Bus, after 3 cities in a row with trolley buses I'm now a big fan) and around the water on the edge. I only did about a 4 km walk, but the whole shore line goes for miles around the park. I also visited the aquarium, which is in the park. They had marine mammals such Dolphins, Beluga Whales and Otters. They also had local fish, and an array of tropical fish. I have come to the conclusion that animals should be free in the wild, the Beluga Whales especially looked very bored.

Tommorrow I'm starting my journey home, flying to LA. I will be back in Australia by the end of the week.

And if you are wondering, I do have some drafts almost ready to go from earlier in my trip.

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