August 3, 2018
Yesterday was a really long day, and we got in so late at night that we didn’t have much chance to see Vancouver. What we did see was from the back seat of a taxi on a mission to time the lights perfectly to ensure that he could hit as many green ones in a row as possible. He did pretty well, but about all I got to see of Vancouver was a blur of shops and neighborhoods. There seemed to be plenty of pot shops in town, at least I noticed several as we cruised through.
When we were deposited at our hotel, we were too tired to do much besides fall into bed after a very long and dramatic day. What a wonderful surprise to wake up this morning and look out the window of the 14th floor of the hotel and see the harbor, a whole lot of tall buildings, and a stadium right next door. As soon as we were dressed enough to not evoke the attention of other 14th floor residents of Vancouver, I threw open all the curtains and enjoyed the view from up high. Eventually, we decided to venture out and take the walk to meet Dan’s daughter, Alicia, and grandchildren Moses and Talia at their hotel. Ever the good sport, Dan and I wheeled our dorky plaid suitcases through the western edge of Vancouver, stopping at a terrific little coffee shop for some coffee and Mumbai Chai tea (highly recommended).
Vancouver felt a little bit like Boston, but that’s just my very limited opinion. I always liked how Boston seemed to embrace the unique and offbeat, and that’s how it felt at first blush this morning wandering around Vancouver. After about the nineteenth person dressed in costumes ranging from something like a hopped up Tigger from Winnie the Pooh to very suggestively outfitted girls in kimonos and satin shorts, it became obvious that we happened to make our first visit to Vancouver on the same weekend as a big animé convention. There were interesting characters everywhere you looked, and it made for a lot of fun people-watching. I’m glad we ended up being here on a weekend when the whole city seems to be letting its freak flag fly.
The process of boarding a ship is never much fun because it’s like one extended and convoluted cattle call. So I’m not going to dwell on that part of the day because, even though it felt like it was a substantial portion, I think that’s just because I feel like it’s such a numbing process designed to make everyone conform and get used to following instructions. Just when you think you can’t take any more, suddenly you’re walking up the gangplank, and someone is handing you a glass of champagne. The rest of the day is a happy blur of exploring the ship, playing with the kids while Dan and Alicia selected excursions to keep the adventure going nearly every day, and lots of chances to laugh and relax. There was red wine, a chance to cuddle with the grandkids before they get too old to want to hang out and cuddle with me, and a moment when the man in charge of the mandatory lifeboat safety presentation put one of the kid-finder bracelets on Dan in case he has trouble finding his way to the appropriate muster station in case of emergency.
Tonight, Alicia took us to dinner at the sushi restaurant on board, and even though I’m not a big sushi enthusiast, it was a really delicious dinner with lobster ramen and some chicken pot-stickers that were simply delicious. We finished dinner just in time to head up to the outer deck to see a beautiful sunset, and then we all gave up on trying to keep our eyes open and retired to our rooms.
The very best part of the day for me is this part because, while I usually have a tendency to cut corners when it comes to something for me, I insisted on a balcony room for this trip, and I’m so glad I did. Here I am, sitting on the balcony off our room, remembering all the fun moments from a wonderful day, watching the last shadows of the mountains become one with the evening sky post-sunset, and listening to the sound of the water below. If I could figure out how to sleep out here, I’m pretty sure I’d do that, but since the bed looks so comfortable, I’ll just settle for wrapping myself up in the big, soft bathrobe I found hanging in the closet and sitting on the balcony enjoying a little downtime for a change.
Tomorrow is a day at sea, and we’ll be passing through the inside passage on our way to Ketchican, so I’m fully expecting to be spending a good portion of my day out here on the balcony, sipping glasses of wine, taking pictures, and enjoying every minute of the realization of yet another bucket list item. And as a bonus, Alicia is treating Dan to a massage in the morning, and I can’t wait to see how much he enjoys it, especially after I’ve dragged him around and forced him to walk more than seven miles today. And since we’re not in Vancouver, I don’t expect to see too many animé characters…except maybe in my dreams tonight.