City of crazy hockey fans!

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Jul 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Couchsurfer with Nicole Charles

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 147 May 30th continued - A short trip from Bellingham to Vancouver. I got grilled by Canadian immigration. Asking what job my brother does, what his wife does, where they met, how much cash I have, my assets, the size of my shoe! Crazy! But, he still stamped my passport as every answer I think I bored him! Can I really explain what my brother does for Graham?

I arrive into Vancouver, how exciting! Another city I've heard such great things about. When I collect my bag, it's covered in mud! WTF! I just assume the bottom of the bus was dirty, and walk off towards the bus/train station. Only a few minutes later I get a tap on my shoulder, I've taken the wrong bag! This other guy has my clean bag and I picked up his dirty bag! I guess, being used to travel in Latin America, sometimes your bag got wet or dirty, so I never thought anything of it! Crazy. Lucky I hadn't disappeared too far.

I had 4 hours to kill, so instead of finding a locker for my large bag, I figure, a walk around False Creek will be good for me. So, I head off to the Creek and spend the four hours walking around, very slowly. Stopping to rest, stopping to look at the stadiums, stopping to look at the yachts and other sites. It was a nice wander, I found a sandwich for lunch, but my mind was focused on just keeping the heavy bag comfy on my shoulders. I was very tired, my mind was tired, my body was tired. I was so looking forward to that last flight to Calgary, seeing my family and relaxing for a couple of weeks.

I crossed the Granville Bridge heading south over Granville Island, a beautiful sight when you turn around and see downtown Vancouver. I wandered down from the bridge and found a spot to sit and relax for a while, watching people run, cycle, walk their dogs, man this city is active! I head back along the south side of False Creek back towards the monorail line, but instead of catching it, I decide to walk to my hosts house. It might only take 30 minutes, plus I want to find a liquor store so I can get a bottle of wine, she was cooking for me, so I can hardly turn up empty handed.

Nicole lives in a very cool part of the city, a 30 minute walk east of the Creek. A funky little street of coffee shops and boutiques were minutes away from her home. I Beat her home, by minutes.

She lives on the bottom floor of 4 apartments in a large house. On her coffee table were lonely planets for Turkey and Europe, so I ask the obvious question. She was leaving Vancouver in 4 weeks to travel Europe and live with her sister in Australia. She has an Australian passport too, and her sister just had a baby, so why not go live there.

She cooked a mixture of some Mexican food, we drank beer and wine and talked the night away. We went for a walk around her neighbourhood, she showed me some places to check out.

Her sofa was not long enough for me, but I usually curl up my legs. These Canadians love shoes being taken off indoors, just wish my socks didn't have so many holes in!

Miles walked: 3.28
Temperature 18C

Day 148 May 31 - Nicole left early for work. Once she left, I got up to have a nice long shower and set off for a coffee shop to find some breakfast!

I didn't really have much of a plan for today, just to wander around the city some more, explore more of downtown, go to Stanley Park and see what I could find and where I could go.

So, I will not bore you with where I walked, instead I'll post the pictures of what I saw.

I spent the day listening to the Fleet Foxes and as my host was working I had all day to myself. I spent the day contemplating my trip, there's something about listening to the Fleet Foxes that sends me drifting out of reality. Before I started my trip, there were a couple of quotes that I had read that I had thought about for the early part of my adventure

'Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.' Marilyn vos Savant

'Ghosts are real. Monsters are real. They exist inside us. And sometimes they win.' Stephen King.

I find meaning in many things, but now I feel a million miles away from the person who dwelled on these quotes. This knowledge meant I was walking around Stanley Park with a satisfied grin, frequently lifting my head to the sky and feeling absolutely free.

Something I read recently has more prominence, 'life is not about how many breaths we take, it is about how many times our breath is taken away!'.

After all that nostalgia, I had a nap on a bench in Stanley Park. Man, I was so tired and had been walking for hours. It's amazing when the end of your trip is so close, well, I mean a comfy bed and familiar people are in sight, that your body starts shutting down and I was so looking forward to seeing Easton and giving him a big hug from his bearded uncle.

I had some Indian food in the city, found out I only got one ticket for the Olympics and went back to Nicole's. She was hanging out with a friend away from her home, so I got back to hers at 7pm and literally went to couch early!

Miles walked: 5.1
Temperature 18C

Day 149 June 1 - My bag is packed and I'm ready to catch the monorail to the airport. I leave with Nicole and grab a coffee on the way.

Unlike most Canadian cities, Vancouver has good transport links to its airport, I'm there within 20 minutes of leaving Nicoles and wait for my flight, excited.

When I land in Calgary, I don't initially find my brother, silly domestic arrival area, but am so happy when I see him and the little man in his stroller!

I made it, after forty thousand kilometres from leaving New York City on January 4th, I travelled around South America, through Central America and a crazy adventure across the USA.

Now, some downtime and relaxation.....oh and some rumskis!
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