Vancouver and Vancouver Island

Trip Start Oct 08, 2005
Trip End Oct 06, 2006

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, June 19, 2006

It was a long and arduous journey from Fiji to Vancouver. On the boat on the way back to the main island in Fiji to catch my flight I started to feel rather ill, got a really high temperature and started hallucinating whilst shivering and aching like hell. I managed to limp my way to the airport where Air New Zealand at first wouldn't let me fly in the state that I was in, but after I pleaded with them that I just wanted to sleep they were actually pretty good and organised 3 seats that I could lie across. So I slept for 8 hours, felt marginally better by the time I got to LA but I got absolutely grilled by the US Immigration about what I was doing there, how long I was staying (about 45 minutes), how I was funding my trip, how I'd got time off work etc. I guess I must have looked a bit dodgy - a sweating, shaking, pale mess in a football shirt - but its something I could have done without. When I arrived in Vancouver I checked myself into a nice hotel at the airport, had a bath and slept more but it took me about 4 days before I felt normal again. God knows what caused it but it wasn't nice.

Vancouver is a lovely city, another one of the places in the world I could live. Its compact, clean, and is surrounded by mountains and water. It does have a lot of homeless people, but someone told me thats because this is the only city in Canada where the homeless could survive the winter nights. On my days here I did a bit of shopping (I LOVE shopping in North America!), and walked the 10km wall around the edge of Stanley Park, the huge park in the north of the city. Its a beautiful walk, taking you all around the coast so you get the beaches on your left and the forest on your right. Very popular place for blading and biking too. Nightlife along Granville Street where my hostel was was pretty raucous - its not the most celubrious of areas (my hostel was between a kebab place and a shop with a sign outside saying "Yes, we sell Lube!!" Oh good) and I think I had every kind of drug offered to me at one point (Vancouver has quite a liberal attitude towards soft drugs) but still, its a good place to go for a night out and I buried a few Canadian beers one evening.

Then I took the ferry out to Vancouver Island, about an hour and a half away from the mainland. I spent my first night in Nainamo, a really small port town that looked like the Retirement Capital of Canada, but apparently has a huge crack problem! Still, I liked it. Then I went across to the Pacific coast and the little town of Tofino, which is popular for its nature and whaling trips. I took one of these trips out for the day, and saw grey whales right up close - amazing things, but they smell so bad!! I also saw a humpback whale do a dive and stick its tail right up in the air, never seen that before. Also nearby are some hot springs where I went and had a dip, but I got so badly bitten by mosquitos that I instantly regretted it. They are worse here than anywhere before, even Thailand. I didn't really get to see that much of Vancouver Island really, but what I did see was pretty spectacular, lots of mountains and rugged coastline. Good place to come and camp I would think. Stayed about 4 days there, then was itching to get back to the mainland and head out to the Rockies.
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