Vancouver, Sept 2015

We switched cars in Bellingham, WA as requested by the car rental company. By the way, when I originally looked into rentals, it did not look like we could return a car in Canada, so we scheduled to return it to Bellingham. But always ask! When we asked in San Francisco, the office suggested we ask Bellingham directly, so we did and it worked out well. This saved us from one parent having to drop off five of us in Vancouver, return the car in WA, and take a bus to meet the rest of us, crossing the border three times on the process.  Also, we ended up with a giant minivan…for the last 70 miles of the 4500 mile trip!  

   We passed massive, snow-covered Mt. Rainier.   

 We crossed the border into a lovely Canadian sunset. We were kind of bummed that they don’t stamp US passports when you enter Canada. We were leaving the country! If you have to show your passport, you should get a stamp! We asked but no dice. Ah well.
 

We drove through the glittering city to the Strathcone neighborhood and our hotel. Budget, historic but not hip, with a pub attached and a homeless encampment a block away, the Patricia Hotel suited us fine. It was built 100 years ago and is known for jazz music, notably Jelly Roll Norton who performed and stayed at the hotel around 1919-1921, as well as for a boxing ring it once housed in the basement. The neighborhood was just what I love- within a few blocks we could check out Chinatown, downtown, the homeless scene which seemed to involve streetside vending of used items (we donated some things we were getting rid of from our luggage), a few parks, old hotels, and neat-as-a-pin middle class neighborhoods. We even walked back from the port where our ship leaves tomorrow! We dropped off the rental car there and hoped to catch a glimpse of our cruise ship, but a porter told us it doesn’t come until later. First, the port:

   
Then downtown: 

   
Chinatown:  

 Above is Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese classical garden

 By the way, that insurance building is in the Guiness book for being the narrowest building in the world! It ends where the color changes to a bluish color to the left.

We went to 2 playgrounds: 

    
   Nice houses! 

 And Hastings St.area. Our room was near the ‘T’ in Patricia.

    
 Views from our room:

   Candy bars from Canada! Apparently we have a special interest in local candy bars.

I liked the electric buses and the alleys full of wires 

  

  

I would love to bike this city! It is not too hilly, there are bike lanes, and walking is just so darn slow. But this day was not for biking for us; we still had errands and winnowing down our luggage and such. 

And that’s it for a while! We’re about to board the ship!

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