Bon Voyage

Trip Start Nov 06, 2003
Trip End Jan 24, 2004

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, November 7, 2003

Log booms make odd Mondrian designs on the working river as we fly into Vancouver. The mountains are green, but early in the afternoon the north sides of roofs are still white with frost. One morning soon, people will wake to the peaks cleaved sideways -- green on the bottom, the tops vivid white where the snow has fallen.

Despite the smog up the Fraser valley, Vancouver remains a beautiful city. The Olympics are going to really put it on the map -- and put Whistler right out of my price range.

Lucy actually speeds up air travel. We're whisked through security checks, detained just long enough for uniformed folks to oggle the smiling baby. Lucy also quiets Julie's fears of cabin pressure woes by happily snacking at her own milk bar the whole trip.

I can't imagine a nicer start to the trip than an evening with Brian and Anne Marie's family. I lived with them seven years ago and it still feels like a second home. Just before we get to their house in Kitsilano, the cab stops so I can acquire two Kinder Eggs for Hugo and Ella. This has become a crucial part of a visit from their perspective, and I magically make the treats appear out of their ears, as custom dictates.

Anne Marie and Brian are great story tellers. They've travelled everywhere we're going and know the friends we're visiting in New Zealand (many of whom stayed in their home) so the talk is non-stop. They add a couple more baby accessories to the arsenal loaned to us by friends.

Lucy brings on this trip: a folding playpen complete with sun-proof fabric and a canopy; a car seat with Snap-N-Go folding stroller attachment; diaper bag; sleep sacks; parts of a Jolly Jumper I've rigged up to turn the car seat into a swing; a Baby Bjorn snuggly; and a supply of diapers, cloths, outfits, medications and toiletries many times her own body mass. It's a good thing all my stuff fits in a carry-on.

Despite my drained batteries, I decide to play indoor soccer with Brian's group. Julie asks if I'm crazy, but leaves it at that. I hadn't realized how many connections amongst people began at these games. I wouldn't know several friends if they hadn't once played soccer with Brian. The group in Victoria is likewise a great source of new acquaintances. Although I play horribly, so weak from the flu that I hog goalie for most of the night, I vow to get back into soccer in Victoria. I've made such vows many times. Maybe it will finally stick....

Julie's imune system continues to defy the odds and protects her and the baby behind some super-human shield. Tonight is the real danger zone, because she could either become sick overnight, making a 5:50 a.m. trip to the airport a real challenge, or on the plane itself, which I wouldn't wish on anyone. It could be a long night.
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