A Travellerspoint blog

"It's not that far..."

(or the last few days... sponsored by London Drugs)

semi-overcast 22 °C

Wednesday, August 1st

(Jenn)

Quiet morning around the house. Anica and Lauren had had a sleepover. Needless to say very little sleep was had and Anica walked around complaining that her cousin had woken her at 6:30 am :P

In the afternoon, we went to a splash pad at the nearby park and the inevitable meltdown finally came during a family game of soccer. Rob and I took Anica back to the guest suite and one "rest time" later (which consisted of quietly watching a movie and enjoying a small snack) we were back in action.

Had a lovely BBQ dinner. Ken and Leslie from next door joined us. Ken brought a pitcher of incredibly delicious margaritas and Bruce did up some huge pork chops and snapper on the barbecue. Dessert was fresh berries with whipped cream. The kids played with Bailey - Ken and Leslie's English Springer Spaniel - and Anica /loved/ being able to play with a dog for hours on end. Another late night but the kids were in good shape when it ended.

Thursday, August 2nd

(Rob)

Another nothing-but-sun day, perfect for our beach outing. First, as part of a leisurely morning, Jean took Jenn and me for a little walk around Ladner. We saw the part that's still a fishing village. In the afternoon, we met some of Bruce's work friends at spectacular Spanish Banks beach. The panorama stretched from the ocean to West Van, across to Stanley Park as a green tip, to the whole span of Vancouver's high-rises. And mountains all around of course. This was best viewed after we'd walked a half-kilometre-plus out into the low tide. The swimming began there. Lots of spots all the way out for Will to practice his skimboarding. I made no progress on that in my few feeble attempts.

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I'd never seen so many VW vans before. When I set our car alarm off, the woman next to us covered her ears and said: "we hippies sure live differently from you technos." For dinner we met up with more people: 14 for dinner (6 were kids) at a patio overlooking the marina opposite Granville Island. "Is this Yaletown?" I asked Fun Pete. "Why label things?" was his reply. The kids were up late, but had lots of fun. It was a day of babies, dogs, and great, great views.

(Jenn's version of same day)

Another quiet morning. Kids stayed with Bruce while Rob and I took a walk with Jean around Ladner. Lunch at home. Afternoon spent at Spanish Banks - low tide again. Everyone walked out, William skimboarded and tried to teach his uncle. Gord joined us with Lola (same age as Lauren) and Otis (six months). His partner Robin joined us later and then we all separated, went to Pete's condo (overlooking waterfront). Met Darcy and Jane (originally from Ottawa) and their baby Jesse (11 months). Girls had a great time entertaining Jesse. Dinner at Marmalade. Kids ran around. Robin and Gord have done a ton of travelling and shared some stories and advice with us. Asked if we were out of clothes yet which showed they really knew what they were talking about. Dinner was Pete's treat (thanks Pete!) and the kids /loved/ him. He let them hit his hand as hard as they could and you could tell by the gleam in Anica's eye that she'd always wanted to do that! Late late night. Anica had a bath at 10pm. Passed out the second her head hit the pillow.

August 3rd

(Jenn)

Morning began quietly again - Anica still asleep at 8:45. Went to walk-in clinic (kidlet having problems with allergies or something along those lines and way better finding doctor here than there). Gave us an appointment for afternoon. Went to Wellington Point, saw the houseboats on Westham Island and visited the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Had a lot of fun feeding the ducks and geese. Saw a Blue Heron and chickadees but the chickadees wouldn't come anywhere near us. Might have been the noise :P

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Spent afternoon doing laundry, uploading photos, and seeing doctor. Anica's tonsils are a bit swollen and it's likely she's allergic to something that's pollinating out here so we now have eye drops and a nose spray to take with us. Whee! Love the London Drugs store here - they have /everything/!

Boys have gone to get Indian takeout for dinner and I'm busy getting us ready to go tomorrow. It's been a fantastic visit (thanks to Jean, Bruce, William and Lauren) and we've had so much fun but wow! Singapore, here we come!

Posted by jennrob 22:04 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Running around Greater Vancouver

sunny 27 °C

(Rob)

The first full day of being away!

Another cloudless day in B.C., and Bruce and I set out to rent a car. After going to the wrong Budget rental first, I'd seen a lot more of the greater Vancouver area than we'd intended. Finished the morning with all 7 of us in Steveston, a quaint, upcscale fishing village. Lunch was fish & chips at Pajo's, dockside. Mount Baker emerged more fully on distant horizon today.

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Next was going downtown, parking where Bruce works, and exploring Granville Island. We had an "Aquabus" ride. "This is my daily commute," one rider told us. It sure beats the DVP in Toronto.

Word then came that Bruce's boss has loaned us his Jeep for the rest of the week, but that led to the second car fiasco of the day. He told us he'd dropped the keys off inside the gas cap of Bruce's own car, except he hadn't. It was some other white car in the same lot. And whichever one that was had gone! So Pete left a spare key at the concierge at his condo. Except when Bruce and I went to get that, the concierge was awol. Tired of waiting, Bruce took me on a car ride through Stanley Park. Great views the whole way. I've never been around mountains like these. Concierge spotted later; Jeep now ours. Dinner at "Earl's" in big booth. Anica's "sleeping over" with Lauren tonight, so Jenn & I took off on a mini-date: a romantic walk to the Ladner Starbucks :P

Posted by jennrob 14:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Off to a good start...

sunny 22 °C

(Jenn)

Got up at 4 am. Airport limo came at 5, on plane at 7. Security barely checked our passports which was weird, even though it was a domestic flight, given the hullabaloo over increased security. Westjet was great -- individual tvs on backs of seats, cookies and juice, departed and arrived on time. Jean, William and Lauren picked us up. Went to guest suite and their place, Rob went grocery shopping, had lunch.

After lunch we went to Boundary Bay. It was low tide and there were a lot of kids skimboarding. William had fun showing me the jellyfish:

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Then we went to Westham Island and picked up some fresh new potatoes and herbs for dinner at Herb's Place. The kids checked out the path through the flower garden:

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Bruce barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and Jean made up the new potatoes with fresh herbs. Everything was delicious. I had my first drinks (2 Bacardi Breezers - whoo hoo!) in 7 months or more. We stayed at the house til 7:30, then went back to the guest suite, put Anica to bed, looked for a connection but everyone was locked up tight (good for them! bad for us) so I just wrote up this entry in notetab, read for a bit and crashed at 9.

Posted by jennrob 14:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

All packed up

and raring to go...

sunny 27 °C

( Jenn )

Well, mostly. We are all packed up as evidenced by this photo:

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(everything that was laid out on the futon the other day in 2 backpacks, 2 small daypacks and Anica's daypack)

It was tough though. We'd already done a run through but it still seems like so much stuff. We've chopped at our list, read through dozens of similar ones, listened to advice on what we can and can't get over there (so much of it conflicting). Finally we've decided that the packs will just have to go as they are and once we're overseas, we can assess the situation and see if there are things we can jettison or send home. Ideally we'd like to travel even lighter but, as we keep reminding ourselves, we are 3 people traveling with 2 carrying the majority of the weight and with a kidlet, there's a lot of things you carry because you can't chance being without them (pediatric versions of meds, etc).

We're very excited. Our airport limo (oooh, sounds so much more thrilling than it is when it's simply a flat rate Lincoln Town Car) comes at 5 am and I know I'm going to have a tough time sleeping tonight but I'm going to try because I'm terrible at sleeping on planes.

First stop is Vancouver, British Columbia to visit Rob's sister Jean and her family (husband Bruce, son William and daughter Lauren). Anica can hardly wait to see her cousins (it's been over a year) and we're looking forward to just spending some quiet time with them all and having them show us around Vancouver (Anica and I have been before but Rob hasn't) before we head to Singapore.

Posted by jennrob 16:52 Archived in Canada Tagged packing Comments (5)

Random Musings Before Departing

22 °C

(Rob)

-we were getting our last immunizations and Dr. Wise asked Anica if each of us have different roles to play while traveling. I wasn't sure if she understood the question, but she answered immediately: "Mummy plans, Daddy drives, and I play." Yep. That's about right...

-our passport now contains four visa pages: China, India, Egypt, Vietnam. We haven't gone anywhere yet, but it makes for a lovely collection.

-can you learn anything about a country from its consular services office? (Or is it like judging a city by its airport, a useless exercise.) If you can, Egypt would win: leather couches, lots of brochures, and the guy working there gave Anica candies. China, however, was standing lineups only, and a continously looping propaganda video. When it finished a loop, the Chinese woman in front of me snorted, turned around with a laugh to me, and rolled her eyes.

-biggest worry before leaving? My back. I hurt it just testing out my backpack. Not a good omen.

-our little two night trip to Ottawa last week reminded me that even "ordinary" travel can lead to frustration and squabbles. I have a more realistic picture in mind again about what we can handle and expect.

-here's something I joked about with my friend Chris at work:
"All We Really Need to Know About Traveling We Learned From The Amazing Race"
1) Either learn to drive standard (we didn't) or insist on an automatic (we did for Europe)
2) If you're not sure what to do, ask someone at a five-star hotel
3) Ask for directions sooner rather than later
4) If you and your spouse dress the same, you look dorky
5) When you're lost and arguing, it's not a pretty sight, but when you reach your goal, all is forgiven
6) For most people, being yelled at is not a form of encouragement
7) Don't make bad karma!

-after all these months of dreaming and planning, we leave on Monday. Like Anica said: "I wonder how it will feel in these places. Like India. How will it feel? We'll be touching India's things!"

Posted by jennrob 06:29 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

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