Sunday, September 05, 2010

Vegging out in Vancouver . . .

Well it’s overcast Sunday morning in Vancouver. Neil and I got home from “dinner” at about 4:00 a.m. Timmins time. I figured I would stay up as long as possible to beat the lag. Woke up this morning feeling great… it was nice that Neil took the couch and I got his bed.

So, ... Some notes of the thing you notice on a four and a half hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver.(I wrote this on the plane Saturday)

There are only four washrooms on this plane, but 280 people all seem to want to go t the same time. Sit and wait patiently. Kind of sorry I ordered the two beers, but the wait wasn’t so bad.

I haven’t flown in ten years. The technology has changed. Each seat back has a small LCD screen loaded with movies and TV shows. You have to bring your own headphones. Luckily I had some in my laptop bag. Saved the $3 rental fee. I didn’t watch any movies, but I enjoyed two episodes of Two and a Half Men, a really funny sitcom. It’s embarrassing to laugh out loud on a plane where no one else knows you.

Not as bad as having a quick snooze though, and then snoring, and then being awakened by my own snoring! Oh well, it was a nice nap somewhere south of Saskatoon.

After a bit of TV, I found the audio library on the seatback screen and so have been enjoying some amazing John Coltrane jazz for the last hour or so.

The flight is not too bad, but my butt is numb. The view from 32,000 feet is nice. One nice feature of the seatback screen is that Air Canada has a GPS map unit you can check whenever you like to see where you area. I enjoyed flying just south of Lake Winnipeg. I could see Delta Beach where my mom and dad took us as kids during a blistering hot Manitoba summer in the 1960s… back in the year my sister Deb was born.

I also got a kick out seeing the twin strips like an II or the crossed strips like an X that indicated a small airport on the landscape. It’s interesting that as much as the railroad built and connected the country during the mid to late 1800s, it was aviation that did it from the mid to late 1900s.

Got a kick out of seeing bits and pieces of the east-west Trans-Canada Highway which reminded me of my last trip out here in the 1970s when I rode my thumb all the way to the Pacific.

Flying over Banff was nice as it was the first time we got a real good look at the amazing Rocky Mountains.

My watch is still on Timmins time, showing that it’s shortly before 7:00 p.m. but my cell phone has picked up on the local time out here. We will be landing in about 20 minutes, at 4:00 p.m. Vancouver time. Unfortunately, it’s all cloudy skies below us right now so I can’t enjoy too much more of the view.

Will be nice to see Neil in a few minutes.

--- Neil met me at the airport baggage carousel with a nice hot cup of Tim’s Tea, which is funny because I felt so dehydrated after a four and a half hour flight that I was thinking about tea just to get refreshed.

Instead of cabbing back into the city, we rode the new Sky Train thing in. It’s like a single-unit subway train and El-train all in one. The interesting thing is that it works on the honour system. There is no driver. Everything is automated. People buy tickets from the machines that look like ATMs at each station then you get on the train. Neil paid $15 for the two of us. At that price, I think he paid for a few other people who got on without paying! LOL

Got to Neil’s place which is in the heart of the downtown. He moved from his apartment near the beach, but still has a nice view of Vancouver harbour from his kitchen window. There were several ships moored out there this morning waiting to get into the port of Vancouver.
By the way, Neil looks great and says he is doing well. He really loves this city. Last night he and I went out to dinner and instead of cabbing, we walked for a good 40 minutes. He works as a manager at two different restaurants, owned by the same company. I felt guilty ordering a halibut encrusted with macadamia nuts as an entrée, because Neil just put it all on the company tab. It was excellent!

My guilt began to slide away as the evening wore on and Neil insisted I try several of the beers they make right on the premises. I had two types of India Pale Ale, then a super espresso flavoured stout, then pumpkin beer which was really good, but sometime after midnight I settled on a few big glasses of wheat beer. I really got rid of the guilt when they began pouring shots of Jamieson’s Irish Whiskey!

It was a hoot meeting Neil’s co-workers. People kept coming up to say ,Hi Mr. Gillis!’… Jeez I felt old, but there are a lot of nice people at the restaurant. Interestingly, a lot of the young people are from Ontario, places like Ottawa, Kingston, St. Catharine’s, London and Huntsville and they all swear that Vancouver is the place to be right now.

Sending this out from an internet cafe at Hastings and Richmond Street... near Gastown.

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