First Flights & Arrival (12/28/2015)
My short yet somehow life changing journey started bright and early on December 28th. I woke up around 5:30 after maybe 3 hours of sleep, got dressed and finished packing my backpack and I was off to Canada! Well… almost. Less than five minutes after leaving the apartment, I realized I forgot my wallet and told my uncle, we went back and I ran back in to grab the wallet just to realize I also forgot to pack my PJ bottoms. Oops! After I grabbed that, I was off. Uncle Jim took me to the Van Nuys Flyaway station and I took the shuttle to LAX.
At the airport, TSA was a breeze. I don’t know if it was because it was so early, but the line was super short and it was quick and painless. I found my gate and waited about four hours. In that time, I was tense. Not really looking forward to the flight, I was scared and building the fear up in my head. When I finally was on the plane and waiting for takeoff, I was just sitting there and wondering what I got myself into. As soon as we took off, all the overwhelming fear was replaced with excitement. Being up so high above the clouds and seeing how small everything was, it felt like magic. The world suddenly felt even more limitless… I felt like I could go anywhere and see anything. Flying might actually be my new favorite method of travel. I went to Arizona and flew to Vancouver from there. I didn’t arrive in Vancouver until 11:22 PM and didn’t make it to the AIrbnb host’s house until after midnight. I made sure to let everyone know I was there and safe before catching up on sleep.
Day One (12/29/2015)
The first day was definitely the most exciting! It started normally as I thought it would… I went to go get money exchanged, went for breakfast at Tim Horton’s because I was curious to see if it was as good as everyone says. (it was!) I then caught the skytrain and bus to the west end, where I would stop at La Belle Patate for my first real poutine for lunch! (I was actually so excited about poutine I ate a total of 6 throughout the trip. Oop.) That was the mark of the real adventure. After I finished the poutine, I took some time to study the map before moving on, but as I was getting ready to go, a couple friendly locals. They asked where I was from and offered tips on where to go and what to see while I was in Vancouver, then they proceeded to kidnap me and show me around the beautiful city. (Yes, I made friends with these kidnappers of mine… no, it is not the first time I made friends with my kidnappers. Makes for interesting stories though!) They showed me around downtown, Stanley Park, and Granville Island. They dropped me off on Granville Island where I saw a street performer from England and went through a few galleries and took photos of the scenery. Eventually it started getting dark so I stopped at a Starbucks so I could connect to the internet and find the best bus route back to the place I was staying. I finally decided to face the cold again and get on the bus. About 6 stops later, I realized I was on the wrong bus going the opposite way, then I realized I forgot my camera at the Starbucks. I immediately got off the bus and walked back to the Starbucks as quickly as I could, took me about 40 minutes, and my camera was not in the seat I was sitting in… but to my insane luck, someone had turned it into the barista so I got it back! Thank goodness Canadians are so nice. I got my camera and caught the correct bus and made my way back to the house I was staying at. I would have normally been back by around 8, but my phone died and I am a very directionally challenged traveler… I was lost in the correct neighborhood for about four hours. (Don’t judge! It was a very confusing neighborhood! :p )
Day Two (12/30/2015)
Compared to the first day of exploring, the second was tame. I was going to go explore downtown and west end, but I took the wrong bus and ended up in Chinatown instead. I spent several hours there going through shops, I found a couple galleries. I also came across the International Centre which is like a shopping mall that celebrates all cultures, that was insanely cool! Before I knew it, it was dark again. (Vancouver’s days are way too short!) Getting back to my lodging was easy this time.
Day Three (12/31/2015)
New Year’s Eve! I was actually not feeling well at all this day… I had a bad cough/sore throat/runny nose. While I loved Canada, my body decided it did not. Despite the illness, I had a good day. I took the bus/skytrain to downtown where I explored Georgia Street and felt like I was in New York City! I also saw one of the locations one of my favorite shows growing up was shot at, so cool! I only spent about an hour or two there before jumping on the bus to go to Stanley Park. I walked the seawall for a bit, I saw the harbor with all the yachts, then went to see the Totem Poles before getting lost yet again before getting to the aquarium. (which is actually another filming location of the same show I mentioned earlier… it’s really awesome to see places you’ve been on your favorite show.) I hung around the aquarium until it started to get dark, and I wanted to stay out until midnight to see the fireworks but at that point I was just too sick, so I decided to go back early.
Stay tuned for part II that will include days 4-7 + coming home!