We May Be Some Time.....
5th Aug 2012 - 7th Aug 2012
Birthday in Vancouver
We’d planned our time in and around Vancouver in collaboration with our mates Carol and Kevin, who emigrated from England about 8 years ago. When we realised that, with a bit of careful organisation, we could be in Vancouver on the very day that Kevin entered his second half-century, we just had to do it.
For those of you wondering what Carol meant by her comment on the blog about “difficult time”, it was nothing as light-hearted and easy to handle as Kevin turning 50.
Just under a week before we were due to arrive in Vancouver, Kevin told us the very sad news that Carol’s brother, Jim, had been found dead in his home in England. Jim was a really lovely bloke and we were looking forward to seeing him again at Kevin’s birthday bash.
Jim’s untimely demise meant that Carol would be going to England the day after we arrived in Vancouver, to tackle all the officialdom and other unpleasant tasks that have to be dealt with at such times.
So I guess we did provide a bit of distraction for Kevin, or perhaps more correctly, give him someone else to talk to in Carol’s absence, apart from their two lovable hounds Sparky and Hannah.
Kevin met us at the Amtrak station, hot and excited (us, not Kevin), straight off our wonderful bus ride from Seattle. He drove us and our mountain of luggage to their very nice two-and-a-half storey house in North Vancouver, which they’d moved to from a little bungalow in North Harrow. No, of course we’re not jealous. Envious, yes…
Here, our chronicle loses chronological correctness, because we’ve already banged on about the cruise, and we’re going to talk about Vancouver Island in another blog entry. So if what follows doesn’t make complete sense, you’re not to blame, we are!
We stayed with Carol and Kevin for one night before heading off on our Alaskan Cruise, so at least we had a chance to see Carol before she went to England. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be returning to Vancouver until after we left for Hawaii, so we would only see her for that one day.
After Alaska, we returned for a few days of relaxation at the Capper household before going off again, this time to Vancouver Island. More of that in “Victoria on the Rock”.
We returned from our trip to Vancouver Island on one of the city’s hottest days. Fortunately, Kevin was there to meet us and guide us to one of the (many) bars he knows that serve real beer. A few of those, then it was home to indulge in THE BEST pork ribs we’ve ever eaten, cooked to perfection by the lad himself. The man can cook, as we already knew from the excellent salmon that he’d prepared on our first day with them.
Also on that first evening, we’d washed that salmon down with some of Kevin’s self-brewed wine. Thanks to the spirit (!) of Prohibition still being alive and well in Canada, meaning that, unlike most other countries we know about, wine, beer and hard liquor are only available from Government owned booze shops. Because they’re a monopoly, prices are about twice those in the USA. So people brew their own. Or rather, they don’t. They simply take some empty wine bottles to a little local shop where they’ll make, say, a gallon of Chardonnay, put it in your empties and send you off to oblivion. In theory, the customer is supposed to have a hand in the making of this stuff, but that’s unhygienic, so the shop does the lot. The resultant ‘self-brewed’ wine is nothing like the rough old crap that people used to concoct in the UK before supermarkets made decent wine readily available. It’s actually pretty good, not to mention very cheap! On Vancouver Island, we passed a brew-shop called “Great Fermentations” – so you see it’s not just us that comes up with dreadful puns!
Over the few days we were there, our tour guide took us round the major sights of the city and introduced us to a few of his friends. We also did what many Canadians do to while away a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, which is to have a look round ‘open houses’. These are properties that are up for sale where the owners go out for a few hours, leaving a salesman to hand out brochures and deal with time-wasters like us. They do the same for properties where the owners already moved out permanently; well, it saves the estate agent from having to see potential customers at their convenience...
We were in Vancouver for the long weekend before British Columbia Day, which with hindsight, was probably not the best day for a novice cyclist such as her ladyship to rent a bike and ride the sea-wall around Stanley Park. It was a bit like being in the middle of a nightmare Tour de France – all of the bikes but with none of the speed, skill or sense of direction. Still we made it to the finishing line without incident (apart from her chain coming off), so we were able to pretend that we’d burned off enough calories to have a pint of ale (and a glass of wine, Parker!) without feeling too guilty…
Celebrations for the Birthday Boy were naturally somewhat muted, but we did well considering. Another bit of grit had been thrown in our life’s Vaseline by Air Canada when they’d moved us to a flight departing at 06:15 the next morning - after bumping us off the one we’d booked for 4pm in the afternoon. You really don’t want to get up at Silly O’clock a few hours after a party, do you!
Starting the day with West Coast Eggs for breakfast (it’s like Eggs Benedict but with crab-cakes instead of English Muffin), gave us the strength we needed to pack our cases ready for departure the next day. Then it was in to the city for a bit more sightseeing before meeting up at The Keg for dinner. As we left the steakhouse, the heavens opened and treated us to a downpour and a pretty good display of lightning. We couldn’t have organised party fireworks like that!
Considering the unfortunate event which had just hit Carol and Kevin, we left feeling somewhat guilty that we’d had such a very good time in Vancouver.
|6th Aug 2012 Speak No Evil?|
|6th Aug 2012 North Shore, Vancouver|
|View of the bay near where Kev & Carol live - we had just walked a couple of miles with the dogs to this beautiful spot|
|6th Aug 2012 Kev & Sparky|
|Not sure who enjoyed the walk most!|
|6th Aug 2012 Kev in a compromising position - Stanley Park!|
|6th Aug 2012 More fun in Stanley Gardens!|
|6th Aug 2012 Roy & Kev North Shore pier|
|7th Aug 2012 After Kevins birthday dinner -|
|How do you get 6 people in a small car (incl the photographer) - yes, we put Kev in the trunk!!!|
|7th Aug 2012 Kev's 50th Birthday breakfast...|
|Cooked by Roy! Sparky & Hannah stand by hopefully|
|7th Aug 2012 Kraftwerk!|
|For sale - Sears showroom dummy's, honest!|
|7th Aug 2012 Steam Clock - Vancouver|
|1194 Words | This page has been read 64 times||View Printable Version|