Warning: Weirdness and personal details contained within. Mostly weirdness. You've been warned.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The vacation post that went on and on

And here we have Amy, live from her vacation in sunny Vancouver. Amazingly enough, it is sunny here. I came to BC and brought some sun with me. I hear that I left some -45 Celsius weather in Saskatchewan, so it's a fair trade. Very fair.

I've been having a pretty good time. The best part of vacation is that you don't have to go to work. Oh, and with the relaxing and all. You know, that thing I haven't done in months. It's a nice change.

The first part of my trip was with the family. My parents, my older brother and his wife and kids, and my little brother and his girlfriend all came along. We stayed for a couple nights at my aunt and uncle's place up near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. They retired a year and some ago, bought a gorgeous house on 5 acres of perpetually green land. I'm pretty green with envy over it. The house is in really good shape, all they're going to do is cosmetic changes. The inside was all rough white plaster with visible beams, the faux-rustic look, they plan on adding some colour and furnishing with Arts and Crafts period stuff. Let me be the first to say that I don't really know much about period decorating, and from what I know am not a fan of the period in question. I'm sure it'll fit very well with the style of the house though.

Anywho, nuff about that. We also went on a self-guided cave tour on the way out there, which was pretty cool. When I did a couple cave tours in New Zealand it was all pretty much over a tame path, with a no-touch policy. Nobody touches anything, nobody gets hurt, and nobody gets sued. This was more of a rough and dirty climb where you want for as long as you want with lots of water and chances to fall and crush bones. It was awesome. I was pretty much the only one who didn't get wet, but I was plenty dirty by the time I got out. A little dirt never hurt anyone.

Then we went out to Tofino and did some nature walks and wandering on the beach. When I say wandering, I mean I wandered with my 3-year old niece (at the pace of short legs) and my mom, and the rest of the family swarmed like monkeys over the rocks. We saw a whole whack of starfish and mussels and barnacles, and some eels. I've never seen eels out there before, it was pretty cool. I found the tiniest sand dollar ever (EVER - it's about the size of a dime) and some other cool shells. I have beach eyes. The beach is always the highlight of my BC trips. Hi, I'm a freak!

After Tofino we wandered back to Victoria, and pretty much the rest of my time there was spent getting ready to come to Vancouver. I took a bus and ferry over, then wandered around downtown all yesterday. On the bus I got sucked into talking to a nice elderly lady. I'm pretty sure I know her life story now. Sure made the trip over go faster though.

It may be sunny here, but it's also pretty cold. It got below zero and I wasn't exactly dressed for it, which was entirely my own fault since I was carrying around all of my clothes on my back. Let me tell you, wandering around with a heavy pack on your back isn't a whole lot of fun. However, my sore shoulders did take my mind off the cold, and the eerie feeling of being the only white person in Vancouver's Chinatown. Actually, that's not totally true, I saw two other caucasians - one was drunk and one was high. Since I'm just a little paranoid (and by a little I mean horribly painfully paranoid), I tried to boot it back out of there. The only problem was that I didn't really know where I was going and didn't want to stop and pull out my map. The only thing worse than being the only lone caucasian female in Chinatown is being the only lone caucasian stupid farmer tourist female asking to be mugged in Chinatown. Right, did I mention that paranoid thing? I was fine.

I finally found the chinese gardens there that I wanted to see. They were lovely. I paid to go through them, got onto a guided tour which wasn't terribly helpful, and then wandered through on my own. Then looked across the pond and realized the other side was the free gardens, which were the same minus the fancy rock floor. Ah well, killed some time.

I wandered downtown for a while, got a good view of the harbour from Canada Place, and wandered through Gastown for most of the afternoon. I wasn't terribly impressed with Gastown. It's really not much to see, just a bunch of tourist shops, nothing exciting. And then I sat around and read, since it was cold and my feet were tired, and there were wolves.

And then I met my honey. We had supper at a tasty little Italian place, watched an episode of Firefly and went to bed. I plan on being a bum today, doing some wandering and maybe a bit of site seeing, but mostly just relaxing. Ah, the beauty of being on vacation. I highly recommend it.


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