Wednesday, July 03, 2013

West Coast Vacation - Vancouver Day 1

The weather forecasts in Vancouver seem to change often.  When we arrived it looked like Monday was going to be our only sunny day, so we decided to spend the day downtown checking out some outdoor sights.

Our first stop was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.  We found parking close by and walked over.  When I looked at the admission counter, there were a couple of steps to access it, so I wondered if the garden would be accessible (though I was sure I had seen on their website that it was).  We kept wandering and found the free park area and checked that out first, before I went and asked at the admission desk and found out the wheelchair entrance is through the gift shop.  So we paid our admission and spent a while enjoying the quiet retreat in the midst of the busy city.

After spending an hour or so at this garden we decided to go check out the waterfront area near Canada Place.  It was really neat to see the water and all the boats and water planes.  What I found especially interesting was that there were two cruise ships docked.  They were HUGE!  I still think that someday I would like to go on a cruise, so maybe we will end up back in Vancouver to hop on a ship to Alaska :)

We stopped for a quick lunch at a pub (before our parking expired, $12 for 2 hours!) and headed over to Granville Island to wander around.  Granville Island is an area with a lot of little shops and a big public farmer's market.  It seemed strange to me that with the set up there that you were allowed to drive down the streets at all.  I was also surprised that we were able to find some decent free accessible parking there.  It was a warm day, so we wandered through some shops, up and down some streets (though I am pretty sure we didn't see it all) and decided to call it a day.

After that we met my cousin, Rebekah, and her husband Scott for supper at a Malaysian restaurant called Banana Leaf.  It was really nice to see her, and to meet Scott.  Jay hadn't met either of them and said afterward that it felt like they were old friends.  It was easy to chat with them and the food was delicious.  After supper Bekah suggested checking out English Bay which was nearby and had some nice views of the ocean.  We headed over there and weren't disappointed. 

(Not something you see every day....a HUGE tree on top of a condo building!)

This brought a close to our first very busy day in Vancouver.  A couple of first impressions that we had.  We were confused for a while about the flashing green traffic lights, but then realized that they were intersections with crosswalks and the lights were controlled by the pedestrians who wanted to cross.  Also, I did not know what to expect for parking in downtown Vancouver.  I know that sometimes in Saskatoon, finding parking can be really tough.  I assumed in a city so big that it might be a similar situation.  However, we were able to find parking everywhere we went, it just came at a hefty price at times.  We set up an app on Jay's phone called 'Pay By Phone' which was really handy.  You just use the app and punch in a number that you find on the meter and it automatically charges your credit card for your parking.

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