Feels Like Home

Right. I was at the part where I went off to Vancouver. What I didn’t mention, however, is that I left San Francisco on a 6 AM flight, arrived in Vancouver at 9 AM, and I was up on top of Cypress Mountain by 2 PM on the same day.

I had already gone snowboarding up at Whistler in January when I was back, but being away makes me so much more eager to hit the slopes at every chance I get. Besides, all my gear is just rotting away at home, longing to be used. I enjoyed a very beautiful day up at Cypress.

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A full day lift ticket at Cypress is $66. We got there after 2 PM, so it’s $56, and the park is open till 10. Compare that to the $120 I spent at Whistler, and it’s only open until 4 PM too… I swear, on a clear day like this, even just the view is worth it at Cypress.

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Most of my time spent in Vancouver was actually just either alone time or running around town carrying out random errands. I had already done everything I wanted to do when I visited in January. The real reason why I stopped by Vancouver at all was because I was heading to Seattle, and if I’m going to be that close to home, then I really should drop by.

It was nice to just live at home and relax. I visited my friends. I slept in most days (one day I even slept till 3!). I ran into people that I didn’t plan on seeing, and other people that I haven’t seen in something like 10 years. These are the things that make up the meaning of ‘living at home’ for me. Without these small things, Vancouver would be just another city.

One small challenge that I did conquer was the Urban Grind. It’s been happening in Vancouver for a few years now. During the month of March, every Tuesday, you can pay $5 to hike up to the observation deck of Vancouver Lookout. When you make it, they’ll reward you with a free cup of beer and a $5 coupon to the food court downstairs. Every year, I see this on Vancity Buzz (now Daily Hive) and I would wish that I were living in Vancouver to be able to do this. Finally, 2017 comes along and somehow I find myself in Vancouver in March!

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I’m quite surprised that this hike was not nearly as challenging as I expected. The building is only around 30 storeys high. In less than 7 minutes, I was already at the halfway point. I stopped to help people take a few pictures and fix up my things, but even so, I was at the top at 15 minutes after my first step. Compare this to the Grouse Grind, which can takes around 90 minutes for me… Okay, I know you can’t compare a building to a mountain, but still..

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This was the day right after my gorgeous afternoon up at Cypress, and immediately the gloomy rain fell upon the city. It was still quite nice to be able to see so much of Vancouver, but of course it would be more enjoyable if there was less fog and more sunshine.

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Speaking of rain. This day was also the day that I noticed the yearly carnival arrive in town. I’m talking about this one:

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If you’ve never lived in Vancouver, you would not know the back story of how this carnival sets up in the parking lot of Lansdowne (a big mall with an even bigger parking lot) every year around Spring Break for a week or so, and literally every year it rains that entire week that it’s here. People joke that it’s cursed, or that the carnival causes the rain. Don’t worry, we’re just kidding. We all know inside that it’s rainy season in Vancouver 9 out of 12 months in a year, and even more so in March/April. The real punch line is the fact that this is an outdoor carnival, and it’s bound to be unpopular during rainy season… yet year after year, this carnival pops up in the same place, expecting customers just the same.

As an exclusive to this blog, I will show you a picture I dug up from 2008 – a picture of the carnival under *gasp* blue skies and sunshine:

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Better bookmark this one. You’re not going to find many of these pictures out there.

Anyway. That’s pretty much my Vancouver adventure. On my last night in town, I caught the Canucks vs Islanders game, and I was surprised to see Rogers Arena quite full for that one.

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I’m a Canucks fan and always will be, but I am a bit ashamed to say I barely know anyone on the roster by now. I kept up with the games and I was quite up to date with the team, up until I finished university. However, once I started working in Hong Kong, there’s just too much on my plate to follow the news as closely as I used to. Recently, my favourite player (Jannik Hansen) got traded too, and that gives me even less incentive to keep up.

(As an aside, if you’re a fan, this Alex Burrows article will get you good.)

Finally, I drove down to Seattle on Friday afternoon with a group of girlfriends, and we had a fun getaway weekend there. It was more of a ‘spend time with each other’ kind of trip rather than the eating/shopping/doing, so I don’t have many adventures to share. You can just have some pictures of Pike Place Market and the Gum Wall instead. The weather was still gloomy and mildly rainy, but we all had a fun weekend nonetheless.

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I flew back to San Francisco on Sunday night… and the next two days after that were the real adventure of my trip. Stay tuned!

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