Hopping the border eh?

Trip Start May 31, 2010
Trip End Jul 11, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday, June 6th, a fine day for a trip across the Canadian border. The sun was tucked far behind an endless blanket of dark clouds, foreshadowing a wet road trippin' kind of day.  We woke up around 9 o’clock and took our sweet time getting ready as we had two hours before check out and only a three-hour drive ahead of us.  I made my coffee, we ate breakfast, and began loading up.  We drained our melted ice from our ice chest to our seven gallon water jug (why waste water right?) and made our way north once again.

We approached the border and waited in line only about 20 minutes before it was our turn to show our passports.  The woman at the gate was stern and seemingly emotionless.  She asked us questions like where we were going, why, who’s car are we driving, do we have guns? Her piercing glare made me want to break down and apologize even though I had done nothing wrong yet! Finally after what seemed like a lifetime she handed us back our passports and in a cold tone, told us to enjoy our stay.  For fear of her finding out, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of my stay. 

About an hour past the border, through narrow city streets (at least it seemed so in our giant SUV), and blinking green lights – which Alyssa will have to explain because I still don’t quite understand – we made it to our hostel.  This one is not as small as the last, its almost reminiscent of a prison, or old hospital.  But it does have all the accommodations the last one did, in one hallway there is a library, movie room, and game room with a 1980’s style pac-man table, billiards, and foosball.  In a completely separate corridor is the kitchen.  The hostel itself is nestled snugly between apartments behind Davie St., Vancouver’s very own "gaybourhood" as they call it. Riddled with tiny eateries, pubs, and organic markets it’s a happening little spot not just for the gay community.  As we walked through the city streets in the rain we came across a couple of tiny café’s that had lines almost half a block long… in the rain! When people here find a good place to eat, they’re committed. 

After wondering aimlessly for about 20 minutes in the rain we ended up walking to Granville Island.  Its about a 3 mile hike through city streets and across a long bridge. The rain made it just slightly annoying, but Vancouver wasn’t going to come to our hostel.  Granville island is a small shopping district with the “Public Market” being the main attraction.  The best way to describe this place is like a giant indoor Farmers Market with TONS of fresh produce, artisan cheeses and bread, lots of French pastries and meats.  Most importantly there was lots of fresh seafood that may have been caught just outside the doors of the market.  Alyssa and I planned on making dinner at the hostel so we grabbed a few clams and shrimp, some fresh cream from a local dairy farm, and a tiny loaf of bread, and took the sea bus across the strait. 

When we first walked into the community kitchen of the hostel the atmosphere was thick with competition.  Of course it was dinner time and everyone took it as an opportunity to show one another up. One lady was yelling at her friend to never ever wash mushrooms, but peel them instead, another seemed to be hogging the eight burners we had.  All I could think was “pff, amateurs.”  We stood there quietly and waited for our turn at the cutting boards and made a no frills dinner of whole wheat pasta, tomato cream sauce, clams and prawns steamed in white wine, and some bread. 

After dinner we retreated back to our room, planned for the next day and went to bed once again, in anticipation of exploring what this big city really has to offer.

Alyssa’s Anecdotes:

-       So the flashing green lights. On our way into town, it was a little hectic. The streets seemed FAR too narrow for our large car, the highway cut straight through town and the green lights flashed. But not all the green lights, only SOME green lights flashed.  We basically just followed the cars in front of us, but I decided to figure out exactly what it meant. Enter – Google.  So, the flashing green light means that the cross traffic doesn’t have a light, but instead they have a stop sign. So they can go whenever they think there is a long enough break to make it.  It also means that pedestrians cross there, so they can press a button to make the light red. Basically, it’s a permanent green light unless a pedestrian wants to cross. But other cars can cross pretty much whenever. Very confusing.

-       Our hostel this time is very interesting. It doesn’t have that small, homey feel our hostel in Seaside did. It reminds me much more of the ones in Europe.  We’re staying in a room with 4 bunk beds (a French couple is staying with us tonight) and each person has their own locker (thanks dad for the u-haul lock!).  People don’t seem to interact quite as much. ALSO. There is a HUGE variety of age ranges.  We saw a baby today, like…a 6 month old baby. Being held by a grandma.  Generally hostel guests are people in their 20’s to early 30’s, but this one has everything from 6 month old to people in their 70’s.  Definitely a different dynamic.
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Dad on

Sounds like you guys are having a good time - good thing the border person didn't find the shotgun I hid under the seat...:-) But glad the lock came in handy - go figure!

mom of yours on

I love it, and that pic is so perfect you look like your up to something, what mmm I guess that remains to be seen...

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