Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 2 Canada, 22/06, Around Vancouver Pt 2

English and French are the two official languages in Canada. Not a lot of French was to be seen in Vancouver but the earlier mentioned area of Granville Island is on Federal land and so all signage there was in both languages. Language drove me crazy during the trip. The flights with Cathay Pacific had announcements in both English and Cantonese (I think). The aircraft live map on the back of the seats went through the English display and then the Chinese display. Our internal Canadian flights were the same, except the other language was French. Most hotels and public transport displayed signage in both French and English, adding to the time it takes to find your way. Many information boards were in both languages.

As for English English or American English spellings, there seemed to be no consistency. Centre/center, harbour/harbor etc. Possibly there was more English English used in British Columbia.

We were left to our own devices in the afternoon and of course we wanted to see the main tourist area of Vancouver. Off we wandered and the weather was pretty warm so we had slipped into our slow stroll mode.

An odd building.

Canada Place and the Convention Centre are on the harbour edge and attract many people. They are near to this area called Burrard Landing.

This stage like building seemed to always have people inside but I don't know what they we doing. Note the whale (orca?) sculpture. It is not out of focus but was made to look like it is made of Lego. The Women's soccer World Cup was being played in Canada with a couple of matches scheduled for Vancouver. One evening we came across a couple of girls in red soccer outfits having a pash in the street.  Australia's own Matildas did not fare too badly in the competition.

This was quite near our hotel. The gardens were just lovely almost everywhere we visited in Canada.

I remember finding out why Australia is dominant on this map. Ummm, maybe Canada's first timber export went by ship to Australia.

Pretty tree sculptures.

Good roof insulation.

Cruise ships come and go, don't they Victor.

Bagpipes were invented by someone who heard the noise made by an asthmatic pig being carried under a farmer's arm.

Look! A trolley bus. I have never travelled on one and still haven't.

An articulated trolley bus. My city of Melbourne and Vancouver vie against each other for the title of the world's most liveable city. Good public transport is part of being a liveable city and I believe Vancouver's public transport is very good.

I was very impressed with hanging flower baskets in Europe and England but they have nothing on the hanging flower baskets in Canada.

A steam powered clock? What an extraordinary thing. It is not old, being built in 1977 and dealt with a problem of a steam vent in the street. We were now in the historic area known as Gastown, named after 'Gassy' Jack, an early town pioneer who talked too much.

While we did not hear it, apparently  it plays music and whistles at the appropriate clock striking times.

Here be Gassy Jack.

We were now in Water Street, the prime tourist area. We found a quiet cafe for lunch in a cul de sac with a nice view of..........train yards.

It was quiet and restful off the street and in the shade. The weather was very warm and so far we had only worn short sleeved shirts, although we had packed an equal number of long sleeves expecting to need them in Canada. I kept my jacket nearby for a couple of days but then packed it in the bottom of the suitcase, never to be worn in America. We were cold only twice. Once on a glacier but we were only there for fifteen minutes and once when I turned the room air con down too low when we went to bed.

This one is just for you Fen, the John Fluevog shoe shop. Btw, my feet soon adjusted to my newish shoes and so I was able to throw away my old shoes I had brought along in case I had issues with the newish shoes.


This amused me in a shop, which had the same name as Sister. We strolled along the street but it had been suggested to us that the street was not so nice after a certain point. We had been along the street in the coach in the morning and certainly Japantown and Chinatown were not the most spotless of streets. I think we walked as far as Columbia Street and returned mostly along West Cordovia Street. Homeless looking rough types were pretty obvious.

Vancouver's own little Flat Iron building.

Some attractive buildings.

A mist of water emanating from and for what reason, I do not know.

A place for premium APT travellers to stay.

Sister warned me about Canadian coffee. Surely, I argued, with the French influence the coffee will be ok. It wasn't, not anywhere we came across in Canada or New York. I even tried a double shot espresso but even that was not to my taste. We did kind of get used to the coffee though.

Yes, I can well  imagine people would hang things from sprinklers.

We had pre dinner drinks at our hotel bar and the service was desultory, to say the least. We did not feel like tipping but we did. We received some helpful advice from someone. If you are unhappy with the service, don't just walk out without tipping and be thought of badly by staff, or just another bloody Australian. Leave a small tip, say 5%. That tells the staff something. But we weren't taking on the system and tipped the normal amount.

We strolled down to the waterfront and had a nice dinner at Mahoney and Sons and again R did battle with the card machine when paying. Hard life, what!

We would have liked to stay in Vancouver for another couple of days, but tomorrow it is suitcases outside the hotel room by 6.30 for collection and be ready to board the coach at 7.00 to begin our Rocky Mountaineer train trip.

Day 2 Canada, 22/06, Around Vancouver Pt 1

Too many photos for one post, so I have split the day into two.

As part of the tour, after a supplied buffet breakfast at the hotel, our coach which we came to know very well, collected us and took us for a morning tour of Vancouver. We were soon at the very well known Stanley Park. Look how dry the grass is! British Columbia was quite short of rain. Later after we finished our tour there were bush fires, as we call them, and a smoke haze covered Vancouver, so my friend Victor informed me.

The Prevost was nearly brand new from the Quebec factory. It was very comfortable. A friend who knows about buses told me they have a wide central aisle which makes the bus quite wide, too wide in his opinion.

Ah, Victor in Sydney. Co-incidentally he and a friend were travelling a similar path to us a week later, with the biggest difference being that we were in steerage with Travelmarvel and he was with the more upmarket parent company APT. He has already posted a little about his trip. Also coincidentally, Marie in London had been in Canada travelling with a friend a few weeks before us. We did not find the time to visit the very famous Calipano Bridge, but you can read Marie's account of it here.

I forget exactly what these are but obviously something related to the native people who are generally referred to not as aborigines or indians, but First Nation people.

I thought this was a water feature.

After closer inspection, it was just a garden sprinkler. We saw rather a lot of these non fixed portable sprinklers in Canada. Most of our Australian sprinklers are fixed systems buried in the ground. It was nice to see the water spraying from a rotating sprinkler.

Stanley Park is located on a small peninsula jutting out into the harbour, so in our coach we progressed around the park perimeter. You can see the rather grand suspension bridge linking Vancouver to North and West Vancouver.

A diagram showing the far shore.

This is the Lions Gate Bridge, linking the south with the north. It is very impressive.

A lion needs to guard the Lions Gate Bridge.

I had a bit of a look on the net but was unable to establish exactly why the Guinness family, of which I know a little as Bryan Guinness married the Mitford sister Diana, had such an interest in Vancouver. I can only conclude it was for financial reasons.

R stepped into this tree hollow and made a silly face. He would kill me if I showed you.

Right in front of our eyes a car broke down on the bridge and the single north bound lane was blocked.

Some form of ghastly tourist conveyance.

Probably Third Beach. Do people lie on the timber or are they sand retainers, I wonder.

This First Nation totem in known as an inukshuk and they can be seen all over Canada. I bet our Friend in Japan knows more about them than I do.

We toured on to Granville Island, which is not an island but may have once been. It is a creation for both local and foreign tourists at an old industrial site.

It was a pleasant area and we wished we had more time there.

I was surprised at the number of apartments in Vancouver. No doubt as you move away from the inner area, more houses are to be seen.

Not all industry has left Granville Island. It is beneficial for a concrete plant to be near the city where all the building work happens, so the concrete plant has remained. Nice of the company to decorate their silos. Note the concrete truck wheels up in the air. I had never seen such a thing and I think it may be related to the trucks carrying more mixed concrete and are bigger than our local trucks.

This was supposed to demonstrate the workings of the concrete plant but not very much of it worked. It reminded me of the board game Mousetrap.

I can't remember what this orb structure is, but I have seen photos of it illuminated at night and it is quite spectacular. With it not becoming dark until about 10.00 pm, we did not see much in the way of lighting.

I believe this stadium is known as BC Place.

The French are coming. Man the cannons.

I think this was taken in Robson Street, a major shopping and eating street. New high rise buildings are compelled or encouraged to have businesses on the ground floor, a few floors of residential above and then above there, offices. This should ensure there is always activity on the street. Note the overhead wires, not for a tram, but trolley buses.