From that sleepy town of Bozeman it was off to Vancouver, to a new city, and for the first time in a long while, a new country.
Once again Salt Lake City was the depressing hub, and once again, a small Canadair Regional Jet was the mode of transport.
But, this flight was like no other. Flying over the Rockies and experiencing turbulence in a small 50-seater plane was very scary! At one point the Pilot came on the speaker system asking us to please remain in our seats and fasten our belts as the weather was much worse than they had expected. Soon the single air hostess was called into the cockpit… for about 20 minutes. Then another announcement about the weather not getting better. My knuckles were white! But, after another few minutes, the air hostess surfaced and started applying make-up – this was indeed a good sign 🙂
The flight into Vancouver was amazing and the scenery below was unbelievable. Heavily forested islands dotted in a tranquil blue sea trafficked by lone passenger ferries and container ships.
Eventually landing, I hurried through a very intimidating customs and more ridiculous questions that makes South African’s very much appreciated overseas! Not! When are they going to leave us alone??
Anyway, I found my way to the HI Hostel on Granville Street. It was big! In fact, the biggest hostel I’d been in. I was on the 2nd floor of 3 I think. There was a reception floor, kitchen/tv room floor and rooms on the other 2. The beds were actually very comfortable and the amenities by far the best. But, like most of the hostels in North America, this one was lacking a little something!
Nonetheless, Vancouver is a very fun city. Very pedestrianised and full of friendly people. Except, I still find it hard to grasp the concept of all the homeless people! The streets are full of current, and ex-junkies. And, people that just choose to be homeless – it’s a bit disturbing.
The food is good! Actually excellent! Sushi in Vancouver is a must and is by far the cheapest I’ve ever had. Try Kisha Popo on Davie street for an excellent all-you-can-eat sushi experience for a pitiful CA$12. Free tea and the friendliest waitresses make it superb! In fact all around Granville and Davie Streets, you’ll find extraordinary sushi. Cheap pizza slices abound, and my favourite, falaffel restaurants by the dozen! There’s even a Chinatown, like most North American cities have.
There’s good shopping around Robson Street and the Sears shopping centre. Take a trip down to Gastown and the beautiful passenger ship terminal to look across the Bay. It really is impressive.
And, of course, thanks to some really cheap tickets at the Hostel, I managed to go see some good old Canadian ice hockey. The Vancouver Canucks against Minnesota Wild! Very exciting, but not enough fighting for my liking!
Next stop Whistler for some snowboarding and R&R.