This just in: Vancouver is still Awesome

By far the bulk of this past weekend was devoted to bringing userinforavyngyngvar up to visit Vancouver. Our main purpose was of course GREAT! BIG! SEA!, but my B’ys were hardly the only Awesome that Vancouver had to offer.

Details about the weekend in general, and pics as well, behind the fold!

First up, there was the weather. We were blessed with beautiful warm, sunny weather, perfect not only for outdoor concertgoing, but for sightseeing as well. Good weather to drive in too, even in a car with broken air conditioning!

Sign at the US/Canada Border
Sign at the US/Canada Border

Our first bit of sightseeing was actually before we got to the border: we stopped at Peace Arch Park so Yngvar could have a proper look around that. That was neat, with the sunshine coming down on the water, and various nifty bits of sculpture to look at, not to mention the actual arch. I think the most amusing bit of this for me was wandering around the very perimeter of the park, which is right on the US/Canada border, and seeing an actual residential street right there. With a sign to helpfully remind you where you are.

Crossing the border itself was mostly nicely uneventful, though I think we slightly startled the Canadian border guard by having a Norwegian in the car; he had a bit of a “well that’s different” air about him. He was quite amiable though and simply asked us all the expected questions, and got Yngvar a stamp for his passport. Once we got into Canada, though, we discovered that the usual tunnel Dara and I take to get into Vancouver was down to one lane northbound, so traffic was terrible. Also, since we were to meet up with userinfocow to crash at his place but userinfocow was still at work, we opted to go blow time looking at the Capilano Suspension Bridge instead.

Now, we’d been at the bridge before, Dara and I realized once we’d gotten there. After, that is, we got dinged for tickets for 30 bucks a head–which we didn’t know about in advance. But we went in anyway since the bridge is pretty awesome. Not recommended for people who are afraid of heights, though. I had a bit of a time going across it, what with the bridge not being exactly still. On the other side, there were all these treetop platforms and interconnecting walkways; that was pretty neat, and made me totally expect to bump into the Galadhrim or something. Dara for her part kept thinking Flash Gordon.

Gigantic Tree, No Seriously
Gigantic Tree, No Seriously

Also, there were huge, huge trees. Like this one that was marked with a sign that said it was the largest tree on the ridge, with a circumference of 14 feet and a height of over 250 feet. It clocks in around 300 years old, too. That, my friends, is a tree.

The high point of the bridge visit though had to be seeing this amazingly bold little squirrel–a brown squirrel mostly, but with orange along his underbelly, who most likely was a Douglas Squirrel. He sat there eating a pine cone as bold as you please while Dara crept up to him to get his picture, and then promptly scampered away when he was done. We caught up with what was possibly the same animal shortly after when we came back into the seating area and saw it trying to scramble into the top of a trash can. It couldn’t quite make it, and it fell down hard back to the ground.

And then it turned around, looked right at us, and I swear to god, let loose with this stream of chittering invective as if its failure to secure tasty treats out of the trash was OUR FAULT! I’d never heard a squirrel swear before. It was hysterical.

Anyway, that was all fun. Once we’d seen our fill we finally went to go meet up with userinfocow, and once we got everything unpacked and settled, we headed out again to Steamworks to meet up with userinfohsifyppah for dinner. On the way out Dara kept bouncing and chirping “GREAT BIG SEA!” so I said to her, “Great Big Sea tomorrow!”

This apparently amused the guy in the elevator with us as we were heading down to the ground floor. Turned out he was in fact from Newfoundland, and oh my yes, very familiar with Great Big Sea. I couldn’t tell if he actually liked them, or if he was being sort of indulgently tolerant at us while thinking “Oh god not more squealing fangirls.” I’ll say this, though; dude was kind of cute. ;)

Once we got to Steamworks and met up with yam, much tasty food and drink and conversation were had by all. The conversation was pleasant and the food was tasty! A nice way to round out the evening.

Saturday, at least the portion of Saturday not dominated by Great Big Concert Goodness, was mostly given over to visiting the Science Center near userinfocow‘s apartment and later to a walk around False Creek and the Granville Island Market. The Science Center was very kid-oriented but fun anyway; I particularly liked playing with the infrared harp they had in there, and the huge fulcrum attached to a 200kg hippo figurine to let kids play with leverage and weight. And the weather remained absolutely glorious, so it was great to walk around the water and over into the market.

We got some of the super-tasty bagels Dara and I always have when we go up to Vancouver now, since that particular bagel shop had a booth in the market. When we all sat outside by the water to eat them, this bird hopped up to us and let loose with this stream of trilling. We were quite amused and gave it bits of bagel to reward it for singing for its supper.

After that, though, it was time to scamper off for the concert. We hopped one of the small Aquabus boats to get across the lake to where Dara, Yngvar, and I would need to go and catch a bus to Stanley Park, and that was fun. There was a friendly lady who was one of two crewpeople on the boat, and she was of course asking us all where we were from. Yngvar got pleased reactions when we said he was from Norway, since one of the older folks in the back of the boat said his grandfather was Norwegian. And when I said we were going to go see my favorite band Great Big Sea in concert, two little older ladies standing next to me were all “oh hey we’re totally going to go crash that concert”. Hee! SEKRIT NINJA GBS FANS. One of ’em said her husband was from Newfoundland, even.

While we were on the boat, we got temporarily stopped at one of the docks by a wedding party who wanted to take pictures of all the participants looking out from the boat, which was rather charming. We all yelled “congratulations!” at them after they were done.

Then, of course, we headed off to Stanley Park for Awesome. This will be covered in its very own post.

Sunday was more of what we got on Saturday: sunshine and lots of walking and some journeying by boat and train alike. First up was some brunch at a tasty place that required us to hop on the Seabus, a big ol’ water-going vessel that held about 600 people. This was quite delightful once we started talking to this amiable Englishman sitting next to us, an older gent in his 60’s who’d been traveling around the world a lot with his wife and who was currently visiting Canada. He chatted with us a lot and told us about various places he’d visited, and when Dara and I said we’d gone to Japan for a science fiction convention, he laughed and supposed we must like Doctor Who. We staunchly affirmed this. ;) He said he quite preferred Doctor Who over Torchwood, since it was “more realistic”. Snerk.

Brunch: also very tasty, although damn it was also very filling. So we walked around the nearby market for a bit, and I was amused by one particular sign that made me think of userinfomamishka: “Screaming Mimi’s Seafood Deli and Steamer”. Then we hung out outside by the water. It was very sparkly out there.

Sparkles on the Water
Sparkles on the Water

We jumped on the train then to head down to Aberdeen and “Chibi Akihibara”, to show Yngvar the Asian shops there and to give userinfocow a chance to return a bunch of library books. This gave Yngvar a chance to buy toys for his baby nephew, so that was good; I popped into a bookstore called Sup (hee) there, only to discover that they had no English section so there wasn’t a damn thing in there I could read. I was however amused that they had a translated copy of World War Z, with a cover that looked significantly different of course from the US release.

Shot off the Olympic Bridge
Shot off the Olympic Bridge

Coming back, we got off the train at Olympic Village–where a lot of building is of course going on for the Olympics in Vancouver next year–so we could walk across the bridge back to userinfocow‘s place.

From there, it was pretty much down to getting ready to come home again. Yet another lovely weekend in Vancouver, though, and every time I go up there, I miss it when I have to leave again!