Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vancouver Day 1

Once again, for the third time in a row I arrived early at my destination (this time in Vancouver). Chris, a local who rode in front of me on the train, all the way from Toronto as well, helped point me in the right direction, and then I walked about forty five minutes along the False Creek water front to David Street, and then up hill to get to my hostel.

(Patullo Bridge, on the way in to Vancouver. That's the rest of my train on the lower bridge.)

(Have you ever seen a train wash? Also, there's a ghost on the left hand side of the picture.)

(As you can see in this picture, the sky was depressingly dreary and grey.)

(There are very few free ways in Vancouver, if any, but if there is a road that needs to be built, it certainly is not going to get in the way of a children's park.)

(The Roundhouse Community Centre near Yale Town has a collection of neat restaurants, and was actually an old rail roundhouse.)

(The actual street in front of my hostel.)

After taking a shower I had planned to walk aimlessly around downtown, but it soon dawned on me that I had been gifted with an extra day of sight seeing, and I should not waste it unnecessarily. So, instead I turned north and walked to Stanley Park to see the Vancouver Aquarium.

(Old buildings nestled amongst the modern one; a Vancouver trademark.)

(Keep this statue in mind, because it will come up in a later post. Bonus points for anyone who can spot it when it does.)

(Don't you wish your city had interesting architecture too?)

(Near the entrance to Stanley Park. You can see the masts of the ships in the background in Coal Harbour.)

(Boats in front of the Vancouver Rowing Club - Vancouver's oldest athletic club.)

(Looking out at downtown Vancouver across Coal Harbour, from Stanley Park.)

(Spider tree, spider tree...)

(Giant cactus tree, giant cactus tree...)

(I'm still not sure how this statue stays upright.)

Once at the Aquarium I was excited to see the animals, but disappointed to find that today was yet another school holiday (I just had one last week in Montreal), so the Aquarium was filled with school children getting in my way and putting their greasy fingers on the windows. At least these children had some parental control, unlike the wild children in school groups.

(There aren't just marine animals at the Aquarium.)

(Have you ever seen a Beluga spit?)

(Incredibly smart dolphins showing off for the crowd.)

Built in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium is home to over 70 000 animals, and even does its own on-site animal research studies. My favourite part though is the amazing "4-D" IMAX theatre.

Today's film was a 3-D showing of Planet Earth's "Shallow Seas." It had been edited down to only 20 minutes in length, and cut out the epic Great White Shark hunt for the squeamish seal lovers. The fourth "D" though comes in when water from hidden jets sprays you in the face, or blasts of air "shock" the back of your legs. There were even rods that poke you in the back through your chair. Now, if only these theatres could figure out how to make the chairs move and shake a bit more....

With Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium out of the way, I went home to rest and plan what I would do tomorrow.

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