Published: December 6th 2007November 27th 2007
Ater packing and saying our goodbyes the journey the next day was pretty uneventful. We were all thinking of where we were going to next. Of course Miki had a little present and a special note for every one of us. Liz, Roland and I ate at the Quarterdeck Marina, and got on the little plane back to Vancouver. I had arranged to stay in a hostel recommended by Colin, at a place called Jericho Beach.
This definitely has to be the best hostel in Vancouver. The dorms are big, but are thoughtfully divided into sections of four beds. The place is spotless, the staff friendly and helpful. There is a huge kitchen and a separate cafe, serving simple, cheap meals and beer and wine. The beach is a few minutes walk away. It is a short bus ride into town, but you are away from all the noise and aggro of downtown. And all for £14 a night.
The next morning I had my first chance to do a bit of tourism in Vancouver. After doing a spot of shopping in Gastown, the 'historic' area, I went to the tourist office and negotiated a place on a whale
watching trip on my last day in Canada. I then went off to meet Cindy, Roland, and Kent as arranged before we left Port Hardy.
Miki was to join us, and so the motley crew set off for Stanley Park. It was weird being with these people who I had only known on a tiny island in a remote area off Vancouver Island. Suddenly we were in a big city being tourists, but I suppose it was something we had all done before, so we were comfortable with it. We got on the shuttlle trolley around the park; had a look at the totem poles and a little walk along the river/coast, then headed up to the aquarium. I wasn't sure about how I would feel about the aquarium, with animals in captivity, but it was very interesting. My favourite animals of all time are sea otters, which are now rare in British columbia, which is why these ones were being kept here. Having seen these wonderful creatures in the wild in California, it did seem sad watching these beautiful creatures swimming round in a relatively small space.
We ate in a steak house, and it did really feel like
a farewell supper. On the expedition I had not talked a lot to either Kent or Roland, but I really enjoyed that last day with them. They are both gentlemen in the true sense of the word. I managed to write a heartfelt message in Miki's journal, to let her know how wonderful she had been; she seemed to understand. She certainly had me and Cindy crying when she woudn't stop hugging us as she said goodbye.
The next day was the first time I had been on my own, since Port Hardy at the very beginning. I spent the morning at Granville island, a touristy market area; a pleasant place to wander round, drink a hot chocolate, and reflect on my canadian experience. In the afternoon I went up Grouse Mountain, another apparent must-do in Vancouver. This could be a complete tourist trap experience, if you follow the crowds and watch the lumberjack show. I took the opposite route and avoided the crowds, admiring the views, and watching the grizzlies when they chose to come out. These grizzlies are a couple of cubs, who had been found orphaned in the wild.They are being studied to find out if orphaned
bears can be released into the wild in the future. Yes, I know some people thought I had get really close to a wild grizzly, but if you get the right angle through a cage you can make it look that way.
I met up with Cindy for tea, and we found a really nice brewery to eat in. I found out some interesting things about americans. Apparently they really do find it difficult to say the word 'toilet' AND they really do say 'freakin'. Well I was amazed in my own quiet way.
There are more photos below