For the first time, I kept up with my photos and journal entries while on a trip! Here’s a preview and a summary.
Day 1: Travel By Train Across Provinces
Currently, I am sitting at the Pacific Central Station, here in Vancouver! The evening was a blur and it was a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps a sleeper train would have been better. That said, I found the shared spaces in our cars to be filled with many interesting people and personalities. I learned and heard a lot of stories.
Our stop in Jasper was a bit chilly. It was raining and a bit gloomy. Perhaps the scenery would have seemed better, had it not been raining. Regardless, we passed by lakes, fast-flowing rivers, mountains, trees, different kinds of rocks, and multiple towns. Definitely a lot of green! It felt like you were surround by nature, yet boxed in by the confines of the train.
Highlights of this VIA Rail experience would definitely be meeting Alyah and Ashley in the dome car and chatting for 3 hours straight?! They were on the last leg of their 18 day cross-Canada trip. Another highlight, would be the dining car. For a 4-course meal, the pricing was phenomenal. The food was also very tasty and the views were great! We happened to stop for a bit of time to allow a CN Rail train to pass by, so it wasn’t too shaky. (Not that it would be a problem had it been moving. Images outside just seem to move quickly… a psychological thing, I guess.) I really enjoyed being able to sit in the dome car and getting a nice view of the mountains. We passed by multiple farms and saw some animals too! The town of Jasper was a nice treat and we had about 1 hour to roam about 🙂
Speaking with the girls, I felt that I learned a lot more about the geography of British Columbia and the towns within the province! Yay for the valley and northern BC! A huge shout out to all the people I’ve met from Williams Lake this past month.
For an overview of the VIA Rail, just ask! (I have a separate doc.)
Day 2: Walk ‘Til Your Feet Drop
We woke up at 5am to watch the sunset and we caught a bit of it before the clouds rolled in. Hopefully the skies clear up today and the sun pops out!
[Time to meet up with Miss Sonam and a dog named Milo :)]
The day was packed and filled with adventure. After touring the “scenic version” of New Westminster, we picked up a 10-ticket pack for $21, then headed to freshen up. (On weekends, Fri after 6pm – Sun, fares are the same for all zones. Travellers can use a 1-zone ticket to travel to all zones; there are different ticket packs you can purchase.) A shower after 28hrs feels really good!
After a quick bite (with chai), we hopped on the bus > Sky Train, and went straight to Waterfront Stn. We checked out the cruise terminal, convention centre (Tickets Tonight booth!! 1/2 price tickets listed on www.ticketstonight.ca 6pm the evening before. Buy at booth – in person – starting at 10am for that’s day’s showing. Right under Pan Pacific/Convention Centre.), Olympic Cauldron/Seawall, saw cool buildings/food carts, and ventured to Gas Town… eventually reuniting with Meat & Bread. So happy my mother finally got to try it. Unfortunately, the porchetta was sold out, but Fentiman’s Rose Soda made up for it. (FYI. Donald’s Market at the River Market in Westminster Quay also sells other Fentiman drinks! $2.75 vs $3 at M&B.)
Our evening ended with a trip to Aberdeen Mall (Richmond), where a HK celebrity was supposed to appear but was 2 hours late due to a flight delay… We browsed around, then headed to the night market for some tech goods and bubble waffles! Late-night sushi, after 9pm, at Matsuyama was yummy and worth every penny. (The salmon sushi was fresh, but lacked the unique sweet taste salmon usually has.)
A long day of walking, eating, and venturing. All with my mum and S!
Day 3: Relaxing River Side Exploration
A very relaxing day! (The polar opposite of what we would have endured had we decided to do the Grouse Grind. It rained in the AM, so we didn’t go. Plus, we slept way too late the night before and decided to change our plans.) Our new schedule was pretty awesome — venture out on our own and explore! (Sometimes you just have to let your feet do the talking…)
Check out the River Market at Westminster Quay — so many quaint little shops and food places. There was a child’s birthday party and a Magic Show run by Art Starts (an NPO that raises awareness/promotes the arts to young people. They have programs on the last Sunday of each month at the market right now.)
Sky Train, on our own (so proud of us! haha), to Richmond. RUN INTO Joshua Sunga at a Sky Train station. Have a yummy lunch together and catch up, then jet to Oakridge for coffee dates with fam friends. Dinner (Chinese cuisine on Granville Street), then headed to Port Coquitlam. More food and laughter with the funniest Serbian man (Uncle Nash) everr!
Day 4: Rainy Day in Chinatown with Family Friends
Although I had a full 8-hour rest, the rains persisted the entire night. Their soothing sounds put me to sleep and followed me throughout the day…Dim sum, Chinatown, and some errands. Winding through road construction, we made it home and had a quick BBQ dinner. Uncle N continued to inspire me with his stories. He’s such an inspirational man and a true “Jack of all trades!” I even learned about Tina Turner’s inspiring story from him, after he made me an tasty cup of espresso.
In summary, this weekend was filled with friends and family friends, scenes from the past and present, and days spent simply living in the moment. A spontaneous, flexible weekend being satisfied with every moment. I managed this entire trip with 1 pair of flats! (Highly not recommended. Totally doing my own packing next time – all of it!) Above all, it was so neat to CHILL with my mum – even when it was such a packed weekend. I really enjoyed it and feel blessed to have had this opportunity to meet with new and old friends. Flying home was definitely a good idea, after such a packed weekend. (YEG keeps impressing me each time I visit! The expansion is progressing very quickly.)
Next time, I’d like to chill on Commercial Drive, Steveson, Yaletown, do the Grouse Grind (take the chair lift at the top), get last-minute tickets to see a show (improv?), take a foodie tour, bike around the sea wall at Stanley Park, and spend more time with friends I missed out seeing this time!
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*New buds = That’s you Alyah and Ashley!
Vancouver buds = Sonam, Joshua. (Thank you for trying to meet up with me, Kody, and for all your help with my trip Hifsa, Ivy, Yanni, Colleen.)