One day trip to another country.

Vancouver Travel Blog

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While driving to work on Saturday afternoon, I hear an ad on the radio for cheap train tickets from Seattle to Vancouver to "see what all the buzz is about" in reference to the Winter 2010 Olympics. Then I had this brilliant idea:why not drive up there an see. I immediately called my sister and asked if she wanted to go to Canada on Sunday. She said yes and that was that.

Early Sunday morning (I'm talking 4 am) with only 2 hours of sleep under my belt we left Tacoma Washington and headed north on Interstate5. My sister proceeded to recline the seat in my comfy Toyota Camry and fall asleep with a blanket pulled under her nose.  The night before after work (I got off at 11 pm) I had bought an iTunes card to download some new music to listen to during the drive. My new favorite song by Kutless was blasting so I didn't think my sister Irene could enjoy too deep of a sleep. The drive was 1 hour to Seattle and another 3 to Vancouver.

As we appraoched the border, Irene woke up and began to work up a case of the giggles. She had never traveled before so this was a special trip for her. As we pulled up to the booth, she insisted on behaving slightly loony. The guard asked us if we had guns, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, what we planned to do, ect. When he heard that this was our first trip to Canada he became even insistent on his drill questioning. Who were we, what do we do for a living, how long we plan to stay. Once he heard "just one day" I think he became suspicious of us. "Are you traveling with the guys in the other car?" What? What car? I told him no. He told us to pull over into a stall and enter into the building.

Ok, I was wondering why. Once inside we surrendered our passports and sat down to wait. I guess the "guys from the other car" we also asked to wait inside. Then a women with a child entered and sat next to us. It became obvious that the guy were Moldavian, also the place of birth of my sister and I and the women was speaking Russin to her child, a native tougue of my sister and I. Irene became irritated and after receiving the go-ahead to leave she proceeded to question the border officer what was the process of deciding which travelers to inspect. I didn't want to be part of that and walked off hoping she would follow. No, Irene stayed behind to have a chat and get to the bottom of her alleged discrimination. Finally she emerged and once in the car I asked her what happened. She accused him of questioning only immigrants and he assured her that that wasn't the case and their screening included "many different things". Irene was not convinced.

We stopped at the first visitor information stop and got maps and directions on where to park our car and how to get downtown Vancouver. We exited on 39 and parked our car in a parking garage, then took a train link to downtown. It was only 9 am, but the streets were packed with people. Many people we wearing red and white Canadian jackets, scarfs, mittens, etc. Many had Canadian flags drapped over them. Irene was wearing a red coat so she fit right in. Vancouver is very modern with many glass skyscrappers and tall buildings. The streets where wide. Police helping tourists and controlling traffic were on every corner. I was pleased to find that they were extremely freindly and helpful.

Upon exiting from the metro/link stop we searched for the ticket office hoping to score some tickets to the free skating event that day. Sure they had the tickets at $450 a piece!!!! The line was a couple hours wait as well. Hmmm we wanted to see something, but not at that price. Forget it. We decided to see the city and buy a few souvenirs. Wecould watch the skating on TV for free :0)

(to be continued....)

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photo by: Browser