Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thursday, 09/12/13

Thursday, 09/12/13

Jet lagged, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. ready to start my day.  I planned to walk the downtown area of Vancouver, getting a feel of the city.  However, after I took my shower and got dressed, I was feeling very groggy, and decided to lie back down for a few minutes.  I woke up FIVE hours later!  I was totally exhausted from the travel and the time difference.  This time, after getting up, I went downstairs to an underground food court and got some breakfast -- an apple fritter from Starbucks and coffee from McDonald’s.  Then I began my walk at noon, local time. 

The concierge at the hotel had mentioned that one of the most interesting sights in Vancouver is an area called Yaletown, in the far Southeast section of the downtown area, so I headed in that direction.  It turned out that the hotel was located in the financial district of Vancouver, and it reminded me of the financial district in New York, with many tall banks and other financial buildings.  Like Lower Manhattan, this financial district is also located on the tip of the peninsula by the cruise port, the ferries, and marinas.  Vancouver had also built an elegant convention center on the water front, with five tall “sails” on the building, denoting the five provinces of Canada.  The convention center is also the cruise terminal, and a Silver Sea ship was in port. 

Slowly, I made my way south, turning when I saw a building that looked interesting.  When I got to Robson Street, I turned east, toward a large indoor stadium.  It turned out that Robson Street is one of the most important streets in Vancouver, running east-west through the entire peninsula.  Businesses line the street from one end to the other.  Along the eastern part of the street, most of the businesses were Asian -- Asian restaurants (Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and others), and Asian stores.  Throughout my stay in Vancouver, I was struck by the large Asian population there; it seemed that almost half of the people were Asian, and I will have to look up the percentage when I can.  Many Hong Kong residents came to Vancouver when Hong Kong reverted to China from Britain. 

After reaching the large stadium at the east end of Robson, I turned south again and walked through an area of high-rise apartment buildings until I reached Yaletown, which turned out to be an area in which old warehouses along two streets had been turned into upscale restaurants and shops.  The area was very interesting in appearance, although I did not enter any of the shops or restaurants.  At one end of one of the two streets, a farmer’s market was underway.  I was pleased to have visited the area, although I was not sure that it had anything for me.  I was told that the area is very lively in the evenings because of the restaurants.

I made my way back in a northwesterly direction, passing hundreds of small shops, which were everywhere in Vancouver.  I noticed that everywhere I had walked, everything was neat and clean; there was no trash on the streets, and no graffiti.  The entire downtown area was very clean and neat.  Slowly, I made my way back to the northwest until again I arrived at Robson, where I decided to turn west.  Again, Robson was filled with small shops, many of which were Asian, as were many of the people walking on the streets.  And so many young people everywhere -- people in their 20s and 30s.  Vancouver seems to be filled with young people.  I walked almost to the end of Robson, stopping once for gelato. 

Toward the end of Robson Street, I turned to walk along the waterfront all the way back to my hotel, and that turned out to be a really wonderful walk.  A wide pedestrian sidewalk zig-zagged along the water all the way back to the convention center near the hotel.  All along the waterfront, high rise apartments had been built, and the area reminded me of Naples Florida.  I could easily imagine living in that area.  It was really beautiful, and the green park areas all along drew people into them to sit on the lawns or benches next to marinas and all of the activity on the water.  As I walked along, the Silver Sea ship pulled out of the port and made its way out to sea.  People lined the walkway to watch. 

After the long walk, I arrived back at my hotel at 6:30 p.m., having walked for 6 ½ hours.  I did not have my pedometer with me, but I guessed that I must have walked 8 or 10 miles.  It was a really great walk, and I felt that I had really “been” to Vancouver.  Later, I went out to eat in an area called “Gastown”, another old area that had been renovated and is now an upscale area filled with restaurants and shops.  It was a really lovely area, and I stopped to eat at an Italian restaurant that was filled with people, indicating a good restaurant.  After eating, I went back to the hotel to pack up and get ready to leave the following morning to go to Vancouver Island, to visit the Butchart Gardens and Victoria.  I was notified that my bags would be pocked up at 7:30 a.m., and the bus would arrive at 8:00.  I asked for a 6:00 a.m. wake up call, and went to sleep.

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