Our first day touring the city. We decided to take a trolley bus tour, with an option to hop on and off the bus at any stop. The beauty of it was that it stopped right across from our hotel, located at the unique colliseum shaped Public Library.
The driver on the bus was a very friendly fellow. He let the kids tug on the bell just before we started on our tour. Threatened to take Ian's coffee as drinks are not allowed on the bus (but he was just kidding).
It was a great way to go through downtown Vancouver. We drove through Gastown, and Chinatown, which surprisingly was NOT bustling just yet. Surprising because I've never seen Chinatown in TO that quiet. It was about 11 am, and most shops would be open by that time back at home. A quick drive through the East end which is apparently being revitalized by the city. This part of town looked truly sad; you could see some people walking around aimlessly, obviously troubled. A very sad juxtaposition next to the opulence of Canada Place and its white sails, which was the next stop.
I continue to be amazed by the amount of construction in this city. A lot of money is being spent putting up condo after condo. I had thought the building boom had peaked back in the 80's but that was nothing compared to this. The 2010 Olympics are putting a push on everything. The real estate has always been so expensive here. When we drove through Kitsilano, the part of town closer to UBC that used to be the home of hippies way back when, we drove past 3 brightly coloured tiny homes that looked more like pastel shacks. Our driver told us that those would sell for about $800K each in this market. I thought Toronto was ridiculous, but this is insane.
On with our tour. We drove through Stanley park, got a glimpse of the Aquarium, Totem Poles, huge outdoor pool with human dryer...all of which we will experience in a few days. By this time Giselle had passed out; Liam was quite enthusiastic. But at around the 1 hour mark, he started complaining about being tired, then he started turning green ... uh-oh! So we took our crew off the trolley at Granville Island to get some fresh air and a bit to eat.
We had a lovely lunch at Bridges by the dock. Gorgeous day, lovely family, crab and halibut cake burger and fries for lunch. I am such a lucky girl. Even luckier when I was onto my second Corona. Are you detecting a theme here? But I can more than handle it, after all, according to my husband, I am my own Liquor Control Board.
After lunch, we took the kids to the Kids Market where the boy played Arcade games while the girlie rode the fun toddler rides.
And shopping. I reluctantly admit that I finally succumbed and bought my tot the ubiquitous CROCs; complete with the CROC charms (those tiny rubber buttons were a bargain basement price of $2.99 a piece - major rip-off but then I was on vacation so had the big "Sucker" all over my forehead).
Giselle chose her lavender pair, put them on and refused to remove them. "Mommy, buy them, pleaaaaaaase!!!
Of course, anything you buy for one, you have to buy for the other...
The lady was a great salesperson. She tried to get me to purchase the mary jane style. Though Crocs are cute on kids, I still find them butt-ugly, no matter how trendy they are. My imitation ones at $6.98 back at home work just fine.
Got back to the hotel, kids wanted to go for a swim in the outdoor pool. Poor Liam, was so anxious to get in there he jumped right in and it was FREEZING! Luckily there was hot tub there; he warmed up (albeit slowly) in there with me and the princess. I'm not a great fan of hot tubs and all their accompanying bacteria (yup, I'm married to a microbiologist). But it was the only pool around, and it was too hot for G to put more than her feet in. We made fast friends with little Savanah, who is just around G's age, and visiting Vancouver from Chicago. Her mom was very friendly, a lady from Korea who married and moved to the US 7 years ago. She, like me feels very much at home here in Vancouver. There is such a huge Asian presence here, whether you're Korean, Japanese, Chinese or Asian Canadian. Savanah shared her Korean snacks with Giselle and Liam. Giselle didn't like them (surprise) but Liam loved them. So we'll be off to check out the H market on Robson, which is just around the corner and apparently houses all sorts of Asian food goodies.
I'm taking the kids to Science World today while Party Papa does some work. We'll take the ferry across the water to get there. Should be a blast. Will report back later.