Day 15: Vancouver

2008-07-23

09h00 Kelowna
13h00 Vancouver
400 km

Small trip today. It’s amazing how hundreds of kilometres seem small now. The road is winding and very high in altitude but it’s a major highway (4 lanes). I drive at 130-140 km / h very comfortably because the route is not so busy.

Now that I’m back in civilization, I must face one of our great inventions: traffic jams! I’m stopped few minutes an hour before Vancouver. I take a chance nad look at my cell phone. I have signal!  What happiness! Bluetooth connection with the GPS and the headset and while stuck in traffic, I’m able to chat a bit with my girlfriend! What a beautiful little thing that the cell phone!

My destination is Whistler (BC), but I decided to do a little stop at MEC in Vancouver to buy gas for my stove. The Mountain Equipment Co-op shop is huge and the selection much more elaborate than in Montreal! What a joy travelling by motorcycles! No place to buy anything, big savings!

Then a stop at the BMW Motorrad dealer. I’m well received. We prepare my visit next week by ordering the necessary parts (seat torn), and I also replace the bulb for my headlight.

Then, I’m reluctant to leave because the vibrations of the city are good. I call some hotels in the area and find a room for $ 100, but all of a sudden, I remember that a colleague of my friend Nigel works at the Chateau Fairmont. At first, she tells me that it is full but I’m asked to recall in a few minutes to be sure.

I head slowly towards the city center. Beautiful and vibrant. Finally, she found a room for 2 nights! At the Chateau Fairmont ! A few minutes later I arrive and she greeds me in a very friendly ways, as if she knew me for years! As the room is not ready, she introduced me around to the staff and gives me a coupon for a drink at the hotel bar. It was funny  to see faces of all these rich people in suits looking at me, the tourist with it’s BMW motorcycle jacket and helmet in his hands! The beer was particularly cold and appreciated!

The hotel is simply superb. It’s located in the heart of the old in the most beautiful building (in my opinion!) of the region. Very nice to see, and most importantly, to visit! After a few minutes, I find myself in my room … No words can describe the happiness of being in a room so luxurious and so comfortable! It was quite nice outside so no time to lose. Quick shower and go, Vancouver, here I come!

I headed first towards Burrard Street and then English Bay where the first fireworks of the season was taking place. The park is packed! Also, I realize that there are so many police officers that I wonder if the full force of Vancouver PD is here. It’s obvious that alcohol is not allowed.

There are 3 areas of protection:

  • In the park: flooded with police officers. Aggressive teams of 3 walking around
  • People check at the entrance to the park and bike patrol
  • Downstream, the presence of police on bikes stopping people and asking to see the contents of the bags

All this for fireworks! We are far from the celebrations of Montreal, where people arrive with their coolers, food, wine beer, without major problems. In addition to being unfair and illegal, I thinks it takes away a bit of the charm from the event. Different mentality I guess and it must be a reason for all this I guess.

Because it’s 20:00 and because the fireworks don’t begin untill 22:00, I decided to literally walk against the tide and return to the hotel to get me some warm clothes but I come across a restaurant with beautiful terrace on the lawn and I cannot resist the smell of Italian food. After a good pizza in the garden patio (!!!), I headed to the hotel slowly (Wine having slowed a bit!).

Back to the luxury of my hotel room, I can’t shake the culture shock. I decide to stop for short rest in my sweet and watch TV on my plasma screen … As for the fireworks, it will be for another time I guess because of course, I fall asleep in 5 minutes! ZZZ ZZZ!

2008-07-24-Vancouver-322008-07-23-Vancouver-92008-07-23-Vancouver-8


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