Monday, January 18, 2010

Canada Trip

I forgot to blog about this when it happened, so here I go. Over Thanksgiving Break I visited Vancouver, Canada to see The Vinyl Cafe by Stewart McLean on Saturday November 28.
Trip to Canada with Grandmere and Grandpere
November 26-29, 2009
Vancouver, Langley, Tsawassen, Canada
Point Roberts, United States of America
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Olympia, Washington, United States of America to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
I went to school and did my two classes of the day after an hour break of walking around the school. We then started to drive up I-5 towards Canada. I had packed everything the night before with Grandmere. It was an easy drive up, quick and speedy, even through Seattle there was no delay. We went up past Bellingham, the furthest north I had been in Washington, and through the farmland to Blaine. We went to the border. We waited about 5 minutes, and went through. The farthest north I had ever been. It is White Rock, and lots of farms in the lower Fraser river valley. We went up easily, and went to our hotel in Vancouver. We went shopping at the Burrard Street mall to get some things for my grandfather. We went back to our hotel and watched a special on the geology of the Great Lakes. I went swimming in the hotel.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 26 November 2009
Vancouver, Stanley Park, and University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada
We started our day with a nice breakfast at our hotel. We then went to Stanley Park where we drove around the perimeter of the park. We first stopped at the totem poles, of course, where we took pictures and got some souvenirs. We continued to drive along the perimeter of the park and took pictures of Burrard Inlet. For an inlet surrounded by city it is very pretty. We went to the northernmost part where there is the lighthouse where we read the signs on its history. We finished going around the park and then came back to our hotel where we saw an escort of police cars going past our hotel. We then went out to the University of British Columbia. It is a very big campus. We went to their museum on First Peoples. An excellent museum, smaller than but definitely as good as the Royal BC Museum. We went around the campus looking at what was happening. There was a graduation happening, so the place was very crowded. We went back into Vancouver where we had dinner on Robson Street, which has a lot of restaurants as I discovered through Google Maps. We walked there and ate a delicious dinner of lamb, and when we were coming back we looked in some shops. I stopped in a bookstore where I saw a book my science teacher has, Pocket Reference by Thomas J. Glover, which is now going to go with me when I go overseas. When we came back to the hotel I drafted a letter concerning the lack of economics in high school and the excess of PE. I went swimming in the pool.

One thing that happened was my grandfather while talking to the person at the front desk said, “Oh, you Canadians,” in a sneering voice. I was embarrassed.

Friday, 27 November 2009
Vancouver, Ladner, Tsawassen, British Columbia, Canada, and Point Roberts, Washington, United States of America
We started today by going south to Ladner, where my grandfather and I looked at a boat he was interested in. It had some problems which he didn't want to fix, so he said he wouldn't buy it. However, that boat could go around the world, is comfortable, and the cabin is about 5' 5” tall. It would have been a nice boat to work on, but he didn't want to repair something he just bought. We then went south to Point Roberts. We started by going to the Tsawassen Ferry Docks, but we realized when we were on a narrow spit of land that we were in the wrong place, so we turned around. When we were driving down, we realized that we didn't have the papers allowing me to go overseas with my grandparents. However, we decided to try it anyways, a bit risky in my opinion. We got onto the right road and drove to the 49th parallel, the longest unfortified border in the world, where we showed our passports to the American and he said he didn't know if we would be able to get back across without them, but we decided to go anyways. We went to the marina. It is a nice little place. We drove around the western shore and drove back to Canadian customs. We got through easily despite not having the papers. We were lucky the customs official understood it was a simple mistake. We ate at an excellent restaurant in Tsawassen where they served Fish and Chips. They were inexpensive, were prompt, and had excellent food. I will go there every time I am in Tsawassen. We drove back to highway 99 and back to Vancouver. We went back to our hotel and dropped our stuff off. We walked to the art museum that is a short walk away which had an exhibit on American and Canadian landscape paintings on the first floor. We saw the entire museum and then went back to our hotel where we had some drinks in the coffee shop. We spent the rest of our day in our hotel room, and I went swimming a little bit too quickly because I had some tummy trouble.

During that day there was a group of girls from Kootenay on a school field trip that arrived.

Saturday, November 28, 2009
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
We woke up and I finished my Thanksgiving dinner. We then went down to the restaurant where we had our breakfast. We went to the room, got our materials, and then drove across False Creek to the Maritime Museum where we went to see the first ship that circumnavigated North America. It was a great exhibit, I got some flag pins for me and my brother, and we then went to Granville Island. It is a very nice market, and we got lunch and some items of course. While talking to a person who worked at a stand, he said some hateful things against the president. It is okay to speak out against someone in power, I personally have some concerns with the fiscal issues. But he talked of him as if he was talking of Satan, and I was so embarrassed to be related to him that I walked to another stall. We went through Granville Island and bought some more things, and we then went to the hotel. We had our dinner in the hotel, got showered, and dressed. The theater where the Vinyl Cafe was was sold out. Stewart McLean uses his arms and voice very well, and the musicians were really good. There were three stories, one having to do with punch and alcohol, bicycles, and one other.

Sunday, November 29, 2009
We ate breakfast at the hotel. We ate breakfast at the hotel, got out of the hotel quickly, and were leaving at the same time as the girls from Kootenay. We got down to the 541 border crossing promptly and waited about 15 minutes. We got through with no problems, the customs official was nice, and we drove to a rest stop. While there I suggested that we go to Bellingham so that I could share Western with Grandmere and Grandpere. We ate a snackat a local bagel shop, which felt a lot like Bagel brothers. While in Bellingham Grandpere made snide comments about some High schoolers labeling them as Western Students. That was the last straw. We drove through the campus, but didn't stop anywhere. I will go back with Grandmere and Mom at some point, but Grandpere will not come along. The drive back to Olympia was easy, and the conversations were small. I was quiet in the back seat until we reached Tacoma where I took out my little black book. When we got home I talked to Grandpa, and put my things away before taking my math test.

I have told Grandmere and Mom how much Grandpere embarrassed me through myself, my family, of my nationality, and intelligence. This is the last time I go outside Washington with him willingly.

Remarks on destinations
Vancouver is very pretty for being such a large city. It is clean, most of the people are young, athletic, and there are few people on the corners. There are some, but not nearly as much as Los Angeles. However, there are a good number of sirens through the city from police cars because it is such a large city. About 2 blocks from our hotel there is a garden where people grow food, which gives a nice feel to the downtown area.

Stanley Park is a truly amazing park because of the foresight the people who created it had when it was created.

The Canadians of southwestern British Columbia are so excited about hosting the Olympics. This is wonderful, and the pride of their country I have seen from them is wonderful.

Point Roberts is a really nice little peninsula, it is very unique, having a fair sized amount of people and being a practical exclave of the United States while being so close to Bellingham by boat. As we were driving through Tsawassen going down I wondered why you would live there. We assumed that they probably wouldn't be working because of the long border waits on some days, so I thought that it would probably be a retirement community. It is sheltered from Tsunamis by the Gulf/San Juan Islands, and gets cool breezes being on the Strait of Georgia. It is a nice little community with a nice marina and a little park. My grandparents were thinking that it is a wonderful place to retire. After being there, the border is best left how it is because the Americans who live there live there because it is somewhat isolated yet close to large cities, and people haven't moved there who still work because you have to cross the border twice in order to get to the rest of Washington by car.

The University of British Columbia is an excellent school with a very wide variety of coursework they offer. It is one of the school I am considering going to, mainly because they have a phage lab I learned about a while back.

Other remarks

I will definately go with my grandmother on many trips in the future. She is one of four people I will travel with, the others being my father, and my other two grandparents who live in Chicago. She is fun to be with and I love her dearly. I hope the two of us can travel the world together, with no one else to darken the trip. That would be wonderful.

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