May 27, 2007
The first day of our vacation . We started the day quite early by waking up at 4:30 am. An hour later, brother R and SIL A were on our doorstep to drive us to the airport. Brother offered to drive us because they were getting up early that day anyway to visit and sympathize with a friend who just returned from his mother’s funeral in the Philippines. They were going to the opposite direction, but insisted that it would not be any trouble at all to take us to the airport. We were grateful. We had plenty of time to catch our flight. A slight delay was experienced when my stash of toiletries were meticulously checked. Apparently, I am clueless with regards to the current dos and don’ts of carry-on toiletries. I was quite pissed because some rules make no sense really. These rules should be available to all airline websites (I found out later on that they did post these requirements) so it could easily be accessible to online reservationists. Anyway, alls well that ends well. I, however, lost my brand new St. Ives facial scrub. No big deal, you say, hey, I love that product, $3.50 or not.
The saving grace for the day was the smooth and relatively pain free flight to Vancouver. I have never been on a “domestic” flight before and have no clue whatsoever what to expect and while at first I was dismayed upon seeing how small the plane really was on the inside – it looked humongous on the outside – the ride was quite fun. The clouds were aplenty and were cotton like. The little girl on the seat behind us even said GOOD MORNING GOD quite loudly when she saw the clouds. And that put my mind at ease and my heart stopped pounding and returned to its normal rhythm (I am one of those who could not remain calm before a flight).
Vancouver greeted us with the most pleasant weather. While the forecast called for drizzle, it was all sunshine as we landed. We had – we believed – enough time to kill to see the famed Stanley Park before boarding the ship (that is until we saw how big the park really is). We had a choice to take a taxi, which would cost us about 40 bucks or just take the airport shuttle that would take us to the Bayshore area; this information was from the airport info center. So, we tried to save a few Canadian dollars and take the $15.00 airporter shuttle ride to Stanley Park. The fine print of this deal was that a transfer was required since there was no straight trip to the Bayshore area, where Stanley Park is.
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s answer to our Golden Gate Park. However, with our carry-ons with us, we had very limited mobility. We did, however, found time to snap some shots. On this day, there was a huge walk benefiting the Rape Relief Program and a huge number of people were in attendance. We saw the mass throng at a section of the park close to the water where the eats were being served. We saw this on our taxi ride to the ship terminal.
Vancouver has a feel that is so San Francisco like. Stanley Park is so much like Golden Gate Park, at first glance. The city is so green, which I truly liked. And I have not seen a freeway. Is there no freeway in Canada?
Our cruise ship was docked at a pier in a place called Canada Place, which again has a vibe that is reminiscent of Pier 39 of San Francisco. We vowed to check it out on our way back.
There was very little hassle on boarding the ship, except for a short moment when we could not find our tickets. And when my passport won’t scan necessitating a manual input of information at two different checkpoints. Again, all’s well that ends well and we were on the way to climbing on board, and we did with no delay whatsoever.
For the next seven days, home is stateroom 9305, which seems to be always on the wrong corridor or at the end of a very long corridor. I don’t mind really, the extra step I take will be more beneficial after all the caloric intake I will surely impose on my body.
Upon arrival inside the boat, I noticed that it is better than the first cruise ship I had, Carnival. For one, this is a freestyle cruising, no schedules to follow with regards to eating or other activities.
When the mandatory safety boat drills were over, we hightailed it to the deck 12, where it was announced that a welcome bbq and some entertainment await us. It was still early; we did not see the bbq set up so we thought we’d try GARDEN CAFÉ, where they have a buffet style dining, with different stations for rotisserie, desserts, breads, salads and greens, and voila, an Indian food section. We could not pass up a free Indian food. We had two slices (these were the size of a ¼ of a whole size Nan) with some curry and another veggie dish. Raitha is something I wont pass up either. This we enjoyed on deck 12 just outside the tapas place LAS RAMBLAS, which we checked if we could get something to eat. But alas, they were closed still. We made a mental note to come and eat there when they open at 5:30.
The ship finally sailed out of Vancouver port around 5:30 and we found ourselves still on deck watching it sail away along with a lot of our other shipmates. Like me, they were keen on snapping shots of the Lion’s Gate Bridge, which outside of the color, reminds me of Golden Gate Bridge.
More eating followed. Well, actually we tried to really just snack our way around the restaurants by trying a little of this and a little of that. We went to get a cocktail, whose name has escaped me for a moment, because it came with a souvenir cocktail glass. We sampled the bbq offering with three different kinds of sausages, some coleslaw, a roll, a serving of American potato salad (yes they called it that). We caught their show at 9 pm where they featured all their entertainment from every restaurants, bars, etc. Two of those were Filipino groups, the guitar-playing BROTHERS AND FRIENDS and the band called KENOSIS. The cruise director was very funny and nicknamed one man, SEXY.
When the show was over, we again made a beeline to the GARDEN CAFE for some fruits and a raspberry mousse, which if I know my desserts is of mediocre quality. Well, can’t win them all. One of my pet peeve is that all the drinks are for sale. The food is free but the drinks will cause you an arm and a leg.
Tomorrow is sea day, which means we will be sailing all day and with our room service order already filled out and the form hanging outside our door, we will have plenty of time to catch up with some needed zzzz. Hubby is presently snoring in bed while I am typing away a couple of feet from him. It is 12:05 and I am still up, has taken that much needed shower – I could smell all of San Francisco and Vancouver on me- and the boat starts to roll. I just wish that I would not get sick just like I did the first time I went cruising. Hoping for a great day tomorrow with just lazing around and hopefully win one of those darn raffle. I never win any of those; I wonder why I even stay when I know that the odds will never be in my favor each time.
I guess it’s time to catch up on my beauty rest too. I had a very long day, literally. It was a very good day, though. Can’t wait to see how my photos turned out. Unfortunately, we brought this laptop where I am typing away now, but forgot to load the new soft ware or bring the cable. Well, you can’t win them all.
Rach (Heart of Rachel)
May 12, 2008 at 4:14 pm
Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time in Vancouver. Lovely photos and looking forward for more. Enjoy the rest of the week. Hope you win in the raffle.
May 12, 2008 at 4:27 pm
So cool! MegaPop and I have been discussing this particular cruise for sometime now. Are you eventually going to Alaska?
I will await your posts and hang on to every word, and take notes too. 😉
May 14, 2008 at 3:51 pm
Glad to know you are having a good time in Vanc.
Vancouver is a very pretty city and you’re right, they don’t have freeways ! Unlike Toronto where we have 6 lane freeways 🙂
If you have time, you must visit beautiful Whistler – about 2 hours up in the mountains and check their “sea to sky highway” 🙂