Tuesday, August 8, 2017

V-Town, BC: The Day I Became an Alien

For over a year I dreamed of Alaska and all of its yet to be experienced (by me) adventures. My mind was full of ideas, my heart full of anticipation.
Alaska lived up to every daydream, travel pamphlet, adventure blog and documentary I poured over in the last 15 months of planning.
I was meeting one of my best friends, Kerri in Vancouver and our friend Lisa was meeting us on Saturday. For over a year we had dreamed of this moment...and here it was.

I landed in Vancouver, Canada on Friday, July 7th. I was not prepared to love Canada the way that I did. One of the first things that jumped out to me is the friendliness of the people and their eagerness to assist. The Canadians are quick to engage you and even alter their direction to assist you (a stranger) in getting to where you're going.  

 There was one other thing that really stood out to me immediately in Vancouver. I feel compelled to share it because it was a big part of our experience and cultural learning process. We were not aware of the Asian population in the city. I felt like I landed in Tokyo or Taiwan.  Turns out, that almost 40% (although I would have gambled it was higher!) of Vancouver's population is Southeast Asian.( I think 90% of them worked at the Vancouver International Airport.) I regret not taking pictures, or making a video inside the airport because it really did feel like I was in an Asian country. Even the announcements over the loud speakers were in Korean or some other Asian language.

I was quite bummed to not get a Passport stamp upon my grand entrance into Canada. The security officer wouldn't let me go back to the Customs Desk once I passed some invisible line he guarded near the baggage claim.

Our first adventure was the Skytrain ride to the waterfront. We had to go across the city and to set the tone and pace for our adventure, we got from Point A to Point B by going under the bay through a big, underground tunnel!

Vancouver is a city of steel, glass and light; in fact, fittingly, one of the cities nicknames is City of Glass.

Kerri and I explored the city. We caught up (we hadn't seen each other in over 3 years) and of course, as with any true friend, your friendship picks up where you left off....there is no warming up or getting to know each other again. You're just happy and content being in the same space again! Some of my best adventures and gut laughs have been with Kerri. My kids love her, my family loves her and she is truly family to me.

One of the things Kerri and I both had in common was that neither of us had ever been "Foreigners" or "Aliens" before. We thoroughly enjoyed our first day as Aliens exploring!

Our first jaunt out of the hotel was to Canada Place.  You have to imagine weather from heaven with views of paradise! I couldn't stop gushing with heartfelt "oooooohs" and "awwwwws".

From the waterfront at Canada Place (which is also the Cruise Terminal) you can look across the water through Burrard Inlet.

Kerri and I were so excited to meet up with other friends in Vancouver at Top of the World. We started off with reservations for two, then 5, and much to our delight by the time is was said and done we had 10 of us at the table! The conversations, laughter and stories from previous weekend trips together was so fun and satisfying I can barely remember the meal itself!

Our reservation was for 6:30...and we didn't leave the restaurant until midnight. MJ (second on the left) and I are from the East Coast and it was 3 AM by our bodies time table! The friendship, scenery, newness and anticipation to begin our adventure made up one of the most perfect nights for me. I can't help but smile when I look back at the above picture.

Kerri took the above picture of the ship terminal at Canada Place during dinner. The peninsula directly behind the building is called Stanley Park and connects to the famous Granville Island.

Going to sleep on the 23rd floor, in a foreign country after such an amazing day I remember thinking, "I'm going to forever remember this day....this is one of my favorite days of my entire life....." Little did I know, I would think that every single night for the next week.....

To be continued.

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