We camped in an area called North Vancouver, which was almost right under the Lions Gate Bridge which is a main passage into Vancouver. There were several option to pass into Vancouver, however there was a safe bike lane on the bridge so we opted for the riding option. Our destination is Chinatown, where the girls have been looking forward to Dim Sum since Xiu told us that Vancouver's Chinatown is one of the best and biggest.
Even with the bike lane, crossing the bridge with all three girls is a little nerve racking!
They were all fine, but I was just nervous. Once we crossed, we entered Stanley park, which is an area that includes an aquarium , beaches, and several lakes within a perimeter that I estimate is about 10km.
The road coming off the bridge gave the option of turning right or left, or proceeding straight. Straight was the most direct path into the city, so we chose that option. The downside of this option, we learned, was that we rode on a sidewalk right along the main road with fast moving cars. There was plenty of shoulder, but it just leaves little room for error for the girls. In about 3 or 4km we were able to turn onto a smaller path, which made the ride much nicer. We then worked our way into the city, and rode along the eastern coast of Vancouver Harbor. This is the nicer part of the city, where cruise ships arrive and where you can see the city skyline on one side and the BC mountains on the other.
We rode along some small parks, hotels, and restaurants. We finally got to about the mid-point of the city, and decided to lock up our bikes and walk the rest of the way.
Once we turned into the city, it was not nearly as nice! It didn't feel very unsafe, but much more run down.
We started to pass some areas of concern, so we quickly changed blocks. After 10 minutes we found the edge of Chinatown, and asked some Chinese women where to go. We soon found the main stretch of Chinese shops, and a place that was recommended for Dim Sum.
They did not have the carts as the girls are used to in Philly, which the girls did not like. We ordered a bunch of food and a noodle dish, and everything was quite good.
Emma and Katelyn ate most everything, however Madison inspected everything and if it looked at all different than what she was used to, she would not like it. The noodle dish, which was ordered mainly for Madison, was also not to her liking! We filled her up with enough food so she was not hungry, and headed out.
The girls were not too impressed, and talked about missing the Philadelphia Chinatown!!
We went to the Chinese bakery so they could get some desert, and they all liked this better! We then continued to a number of shops that sold duck, fish, herbs, fruit, etc. We had a good time looking at all of the stuff. Gecko-on-a-stick was particularly interesting, and something I had not seen before. We saw much of the fruit we were used to in Thailand, including Durian, however the prices were not the same!
After about an hour of walking we started to work our way back. We stopped at a Starbucks to get a coffee and some water, and then back to our bikes.
We passed some interesting people...cross-dressers, transvestites, druggies. We were glad to be back along the protected waterfront, where the sun was out and the police maintained order!
The ride back was very nice, and we stopped to take a number of pictures. When we got to Stanley Park, we went around the outer perimeter rather than down the middle, which made for a much nicer ride. The only issue was that when we got to the bridge, there was not a place to turn onto it, so we had to ride several km past it and then turn back.
The markings were not very good, but we finally found our way, crossed the bridge with a great view of the city, and made it back to the RV.
The girls swam for 30 minutes while I made dinner. They ate, wrote, and went to bed at about 10pm. A long day, and in general we were all a bit disappointed with Vancouver.
It certainly had nice parts, but if you got outside of those boundaries it was not nice at all. We are excited to be heading back to the US tomorrow, and to be going back to some US national parks!