Belugas and Otters

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 22, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, September 11, 2009

After a 15 hour flight I arrived in Vancouver at 7.30am feeling barely human.  As flights go, this wasn't too bad.  I had a three seat row to myself so could stretch out; unfortunately it seemed like every time I did the captain put the seat belt sign on and I had to get up again.

I'm staying at the YWCA Hotel which is clean and comfortable with excellent staff, atlhough not fancy.  I have a room with a shared  bathroom - shared between two rooms.  There is an electronic locking system so when I'm in there the person in the other room can't open their bathroom door.  Seems to work pretty well; the emergency button in the bathroom is a bit of a worry though - I wonder, do people often get stuck in the bathroom?

First impressions of Vancouver? The people are very friendly and helpful and its rather pretty.  About 2 million people live in Greater Vancouver and approx half a million live in the city area. Walking around yesterday, there didn't seem to be nearly as much traffic as the CBD in Sydney and that was a working day.  Of course they drive on the wrong side of the road which is a bit offputting but fortunately there are crossings on every corner.

I got up early this morning so that I could find a place that sells mobile phones before I went sightseeing.  Apparently my mobile handset is not compatible, a fact which Optus failed to tell me when I connected the Roaming (although she checked the model) and I didn't find out until yesterday when it wouldn't work.  Most of the mobile phone dealers only sell plans but on the upside, the people in the shops along Robson Street could not have been more helpful in explaining which shop sold unlocked phones and how to find it.  So I bought a new phone, swapped the SIM card and now I'm back in contact again.

My brother would love Robson Street.  There are all these designer shops - Armani, Feragamo, lots more I can't remember.  There's apparently a huge underground shopping centre as well which I might check out tomorrow, if I have time.

After all that, I bought a ticket on Big Bus, which is a hop-on, hop-off bus (like the red explorer buses back home) that takes you all over the city.  I got a two-day ticket so I can use it again tomorrow.  Check out the old fashioned lampstands with the flower baskets hanging from them.  I saw these all over the place.

Today, I only got off at Stanley Park so I could go to the Aquarium.  I watched a Beluga Whale show; two of the Belugas have babies, a 3 month old and 15 month old.  Sorry the pictures aren't better but they were really fast.  A video would be better but of course when I packed my bag this morning, I forgot to put a disk in the camcorder.

I also saw Sea Otters - these are the funniest creatures, I could watch them all day and frogs and jellyfish (I've included a picture because they were so pretty).  I'm going to try to book an Animal Encounter with the Sea Otters when I get back to Vancouver in October and I want to see much more of Stanley Park and the residential West End which is very attractive (and very expensive).

Tomorrow I'm going to get the Big Bus again and get off at the Granville Island markets and  Chinatown.  I also need to take a photo of the Vancouver Library which has to be seen to be believed.  More on that later.

Weirdest thing so far - there are all these ads on TV for prescription medications (not just Viagra either) including the possible side effects.  Very odd!!!  And last night while I was channel surfing, I found a Storm/Sea Eagles game.
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