WestJet brought me safely to Vancouver. These guys are the best: cheap, and a lot more fun than Air Canada, the crew is telling jokes and singing for people with a birthday.
After I checked in at the hostel and put away my stuff, I went down to the beach, and walked to English Bay. It was so relaxed, the weather was sunny and the view over the sea and the mountains is the best, now I know why so many people love Vancouver. Anyway, I got a hotdog at the beach, watched a show of a street artist, and saw the sunset.
Later on Saturday evening I went for a Saturday night drag on Robson street and to the Roxy, where the door policies were highly annoying, I’m talking 2.5 hours in line here. But there were enough people to watch in the streets, all the Saturday night going out crowds. The atmosphere in the Roxy was really good, and they had one of the best live bands.
On sunday April 22 I went with Rob, my English roommate in the hostel, to Gastown. Somehow we ended up outside of the tourist area and got stopped by a heroine junkie that tried to mug us. So we decided to get the hell out of there, and went to Canada Place, where the large cruise ships to Alaska dock. Along the way, we found the official entrance to the historical Gastown as well and checked it out. Then we had to cross through some streets with heroine junkies (there are a lot of them in Vancouver) to get to Chinatown, we surely were at our guard this time. The Chinatown in Vancouver is the largest in Canada, and mainly features a lot of Chinese grocery shops. We had a Chinese fastfood lunch in a small mall, really nice. After that, I got my bus tickets to Los Angeles at the bus terminal, from where we took the Skytrain (which was for free thanks to the bus strike) to downtown, making the walk to the hostel a bit shorter and less dangerous.
Since I had not biked in 4 months, I decided to rent a bike on monday April 23. Unfortunately it was raining, but Vancouver definitely felt like Eindhoven in that regard; there is almost nothing more typically Dutch than biking in the rain. So I biked to Stanley Park, North-America’s largest city park, on three sides enclosed by water and on one side by the city. There is a seawall that leads almost entirely around the park and is perfect to bike on. I would have biked it within the hour if it had not been for all the interesting stops along the way, since the Vancouver skyline is most beautifully seen from Stanley Park, and there is a collection of totem poles on the east side. On the north side an episode of the TV-series ‘7 Days’ was being shot. Quite interesting to see how many people and how much equipment is involved for just one shot. I was watching for about half an hour and I do not think they got more than 5 seconds on film, it was just rehearsals or “CUT”. So I continued biking on the trails within the park, which is actually a rainforest with huge trees. Because of the rain there were almost no people in the park, at least that was an advantage…
For lunch I got some sushi at this Japanese place near the hostel; Vancouver is the best city in North-America to get sushi, since there are so many Asian immigrants. After lunch I biked over the bridge to Granville Island. Bikers are definitely discriminated in North-America, I had to yield to pedestrians near English Bay, and I had to bike on the highway to get across the bridge, not particularly safe. Granville Island is mainly a collection of some artists’ shops near the river. I went to a small model trains and ships museum, I have always liked model trains in a miniature landscape. Afterwards I biked to Gastown to complete my collection of shirts with ‘Canada’ on it, and went to sleep early, since the bus to Vancouver Island was leaving at 7 am.