STORY – Travel Day

Got up early today to catch the plane to Vancouver.  I realized yesterday that it had been a long, long time – better than ten years – since I had flown. This was brought home to me when people at work started asking me if I had stocked up on little bottles for my shampoo, etc.

Y’know, it’s a good thing that it was people at work telling me these things. If it had been my friends, they would have taken terrible advantage of my ignorance.

That said, the flight was pretty routine. Security took a little time to get through, and they swabbed my computer to test for “bad chemicals,” and the airline didn’t have any free food or drinks, but I got a window seat and I spent the flight listening to Night and Day by Robert B. Parker on my iPod. It was good.

And wow, was it something of a challenge to find my way out of the Vancouver airport. But I did. And then got a ride in a cab to the hotel, along with an earful about how much the Olympics are costing the taxpayers, and how expensive it is to operate a cab.

At the hotel, my room wasn’t ready. I hadn’t expected it to be, as it was only 10:00 a.m. and check-in time was 3:00 p.m. I really just wanted to drop my suitcase off and take a walk around the downtown. Still, they were very apologetic, and I wound up (when I returned from the walk), upgraded to an executive room, free of charge. Nice folks here at the Ramada. They also loaded me up with a tourist map and pointed out some things I should see.

And then on to my walk. I first scouted the venue for the seminar, to make sure I know where I’m going tomorrow. It’s about a three-minute walk from the door of the hotel, and looks pretty nice, though the actual auditorium was closed and I couldn’t check it out. I like being that close to it.

So, then on to a walk. I saw Chinatown, and the Steam Clock in Gastown, and the waterfront, and lots of the downtown area of the city. On the way in from the airport, I had been surprised at how much greenery there was everywhere. Less of that in the downtown area, but still some nice little parks*. The streets seem more claustrophobic than Winnipeg, mainly because there’s more tall buildings and hills.

Oy, the hills. Living in a city that’s flat as a table doesn’t prepare you for walking the streets of Vancouver. And it’s pretty hot here, today – it was about 28 C around noon. That made me pretty happy when I got back to the hotel and found out about the upgrade, which includes free water in the room.

So, now I’ve been resting up before meeting my cousin for dinner. Apparently the restaurant is about seven blocks away, which is a pretty nice walk. I’m meeting him at 6:30, so I’m gonna jump in the shower now and head out at 6:00.

And then back to the hotel to bed. Another early morning tomorrow.


Just got back from Sanafir. Three things to know:

  1. My brain keeps wanting to call it Sarafin, blending seraphim and paraffin into some sort of wax angel in my head.
  2. Tough to find. I walked past it three times, and finally had to ask someone. No real outside signage.
  3. The food and the service are both amazingly good. Heartily recommended.


*I almost got high on the pot smoke coming off Victory Park as I walked by.

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