Vancouver visit

Vancouver Travel Blog

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Back in Canada now. The flight was a long red-eye, but they had a large selection of free movies to watch. I watched Evan Almighty, some unknown one in the "teacher inspires lower-class kids" mould, and The Little Mermaid (hey, the songs are catchy). The flight was on Oasis HK airlines and it was very comfortable. Considering the price was only about $350 Canadian total, it was definitely worth it. I would recommend it to anyone. We landed shortly after noon in Vancouver and I found my way through immigration. When I picked up my bike, they pulled me aside for an extra-thorough inspection. The woman opened the bike box and was shocked at how dirty Rusty Jr. was. She explained to me that we don't have certain diseases here in Canada and we don't want them. They can be carried by microorganisms in the soil from other countries, so bringing back large quantities like those which were caked on Rusty Jr. was definitely a no-no. She sent me to "Agriculture" for decontamination.

The staff at the Agriculture desk were also shocked to see my bike. The lady there said, "this bike is definitely not going to fit in the sink." The boss eventually decided that the only thing we could do was to wrap all the bike parts in plastic bags, fill the bags with an anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-etc. spray, seal the bags and then put it back in the box. I helped them as they did this. The anti-everything stuff smelled strongly like Kool-aid. Eventually they were satisfied, so I taped the box back up and got my stamp saying Rusty Jr. was now allowed on Canadian soil.

I left my luggage at the airport and headed into town to visit my friend Jeanie. The bus from the airport was exceedingly slow (I later found out that there was an incident at the airport and the bridges into Vancouver had been closed). I got off and walked 16 blocks to Jeanie's house. I hadn't seen her in two years since we both biked with the Otesha Project BC Tour. It was great to see her and it put a smile on my face after a few rough days. She and her Mom took me out for dinner and then to a Christmas concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. It took place in a nice church downtown and there were even a few "sing-along" songs where the audience helped out. The conductor was also the piano player and he would periodically jump to the piano to hammer out a few chords. It was definitely a big change from what I was used to in China, but I had a very nice time. Afterwards we headed to a house party where I was happy to see and chat with Brook, another friend from Otesha. I also spent a long time decorating gingerbread cookies with a little boy. An unexpected way to spend my first night back in Canada; Thanks Jeanie!

Today I slept until who knows when. I'm still on China time and I'm only in Vancouver for one day, so I'm not too concerned about readjusting timezones until I'm back in Toronto. I hear news about a big storm in Toronto, so I'm a bit worried about my flight. Hopefully I'll make it home on time!
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