Akis has been to Vancouver several times, however the extent of seeing the city was limited to the pier at Canada Place. Embarkation for the Infinity was done here which is always the busiest time for the IT folks. So despite having been in the city over the past couple of years, this was the first time he was able to 'experience' the west coast ~ well actually what he experienced most was the rain.
So the decision was made that he would come and visit. He had a ticket from the company back to Greece, but we were pretty sure that we would be able to change that. Well that was the first assumption that proved to be incorrect. After consultation with Marc and his Travel Agent friends, conversations with the airline, it was revealed that there was no possible way to change the ticket unless the company did it. Unfortunately the corporate policy doesn't allow for variation of your ticket, which meant he had to purchase another one.
I headed down on the 13th of October to pick him up from Seattle. It was a bit of a stressful ride as we weren't sure what challenges the border may present. As it turned out, we provided the return ticket and declaration of goods that would be remaining in the country and we were off. The day was generally nice and had I known that we were in for rainy weather I would have insisted that we stay out longer and enjoy the sunshine. As it was we did manage to cruise around Kits, check out the beach and some of the houses out on Kits point. What I would buy if I had a million dollars!
Day 1 - Shopping on Robson.
We managed to visit the dualing Starbucks and take a tour of the main shopping district. Akis was concerned that he was going to freeze in Canada so his focus was on finding himself a warm winter jacket. His justification for wanting to purchase the jacket was that he would use it in Greece and that the temperature does get cold there in the winter. I'm not quite sure I buy that... Anyways, after a day of wandering we headed to Anton's for pasta and the culinary carb experience. Needless to say neither of us got the pen for finishing the entire plate.
Day 2 - Whistler here we come.
So we awoke to find that there was no rain, and the clouds were starting to break. In attempts to see what BC has to offer, we made a break for the mountains. Stopping for the required Starbucks before leaving, the drive up was good ~ although it is a different drive with the top up.
We stopped at Shannon Falls and I knew he would be in awe after hearing his comments about the small trickles of water that were coming off the rock cliffs on the side of the road. We spent some time taking photos and generally being impressed with the scenery. Available storage on the memory card prior to arriving at the Falls - 138. Available storage when leaving the Falls - around 90.
The drive continued up to Whistler and I can honestly say that it was the quietest I have ever seen the village. We were clouded in so we weren't able to see the tops of the mountains, but Akis saw his first Gondola and as I described what the base of the Gondolas look like at the end of the ski day, he seemed to be surprised that there would be so many people and that everywhere would be white with snow. We walked the village, purchased a few things and then headed for Lost Lake. Again it was a photo bonanza as we took photos of just about everything. After admitting that perhaps we could have driven to the lake instead of the 2km hike, we headed back home and ordered Pizza for dinner.
Day 3 - the Aquarium:
Now I'm not sure about other folks but I was definitely surprised to see that the cost of admission at the Aquarium was over $15 per adult. I was grateful at that moment that I had actually remembered the coupon from the Entertainment book. It was another dreary day and with the BC Teachers being on strike, it looked like parents were seeking anywhere to take their kids in hopes of entertaining them. The exhibits never cease to amaze me ~ in particular the whales and their ability to move their noggins. We stood outside under what cover we could as it was once again raining and watch these animals in action. We then moved on to see the dolphins and after a good hour out in the rain, Akis had enough ~ apparently they don't get rain like this in Athens ~ and it was time to go. We wandered then through GasTown and then went for a bite at Moderne Burger which is like stepping back in time. It has the laminate counters with the stools and old 60's diner bench seats. It has to be one of the only places I know if that is Cash only, but god, the food was good.Note there are no photos from the Aquarium due to us taking the 'cheaper' camera. Yes Akis, the new Camera is better...
Day 4 - Hanging out:
Met up with my friend Al for a morning coffee. She has switched to an afternoon shift so this was the one time that we were able to connect and get together. Akis and I then went about being Mall rats as we ventured into MetroTown to see what was there. Malls apparently aren't a big thing in Greece so to see 400 stores in one location was a lot to take in. After spending some time debating the merits of purchasing a $300 jacket to keep Akis warm in Canada, we decided to pass on the jacket and head back to the fabulous burger joint. Well it turned out that it was closed and we needed to go to Plan B. Plan B ended up being Sophie's which I love and had Akis in a bit of a panic when he saw the 5 page menu. What I didn't expect was Akis to declare that he heard someone speaking Greek. I thought he was full of it, but when the waitress came to the table, he asked her something in Greek and then proceeded to order when she obviously knew what he was saying. Can honestly say I never took notice of the Greek flag hanging quietly in the corner or the statue of Venus, but it seems that he was correct in his assumption that the owner must be Greek despite my insistance that it was Sophie who owned the restaurant. Jeepers, they seem to be everywhere!
Day 5 - We head east:
The day was relatively uneventful as I took my car to Beth's and caught a cab back to pick up Akis and then head to the airport. Although I was grateful that I didn't take my 'just in time' approach as catching a cab in Burnaby was more effort than I thought. After waiting for 50 minutes to catch the cab, I started to panic thinking we may miss our flight. If it was just me I wouldn't be so concerned but Akis is not the best in airports, so I needed this to be as painless as possible. Re-ticketing and potentially being stand-by was not going to do that! Dad met us in Toronto and we began the 3 hr drive up to our place. It was a long day, but it always is heading home ~ but there is something about sleeping in your old bed that is just so comforting. And go figure ~ the day we left was the day the weather broke in Vancouver, clear skies all the way to Toronto.