HELLO Vancouver!!!! Muwah.

A open-armed ‘HELLO’ I said to Vancouver at the end of April during my first visit. Three thousand plus miles and an easy 13 hour travel from Fort Lauderdale to Houston to San Francisco to (finally!) Vancouver. The time difference helped, but still arrived in the late afternoon. A combination of mountains, ocean, and influences from native peoples, British and French make Vancouver unique and nearly downright cozy. The drive from the airport was largely on one single road traversing everything reaching downtown. Too vain and afraid to look like the first time Vancouver visitor that I truly was the occult video is all I could manage. Observe the bridge the approaching tallness of the city. HELLO Vancouver.

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Very nice. Complaints were made by a few people in the group I joined. I witnessed the complaints and luckily couldn’t join; my room was fantastic. Loved every minute of being the room. The details were everywhere. More than once out loud I’d say “I could live here.” and many more times I silently thought the same. Sure, the room had old world charm what with the wood flooring, the large windows, the heavy wooden doors with brass doorknobs, the very high ceilings, top and bottom moldings – everything just fit nicely and cleaning – a symphony of decor. Room 1209 with a view of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Perfect.

Room 1209 The Fairmont Vancouver
Room 1209 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Art Gallery View Room 1209 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Art Gallery view from room 1209 at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

Sadly, the visit to Vancouver was work related, but desperately snuck off like a night bandit for a bit of exploring. Yes, I politely ditched some co-workers. The nearest museum is a must explore. Read somewhere, I don’t remember where or when, that the museum is a barometer of the city. This law of travel has never proven wrong. And a wonderful and grand museum the Vancouver Art Gallery is. Just look at the building’s architecture! What a crowd outside on the steps and in the outdoor cafe and in the admission line. On a Tuesday!? A promising sign even if admission was by donations only. A $15 donation can make anyone feel like a real benefactor of the arts especially compared to the $1 donation of other chaps. On exhibition: Myfanwy Macleod Or There and Back Again.

Main Entrance of Vancouver Art Gallery
Main Entrance of Vancouver Art Gallery.
Rotunda Stairs Vancouver Art Gallery
Rotunda stairs leading to second floor in Vancouver Art Gallery.

Yes, the inside just as impressive. A  pleasurable layout and environment. You just want to be there. All. Day. Four floors. From the first floor enter and up the stone stairs of the rotunda. Take the escalator up to floors three and four. But aaahhh, no photography except for in the rotunda. They don’t seem confident. Let’s ask someone else. “Excuse me. Is photography allowed?” “No, sir.” A blank look. Turn and walk away. But I like taking pictures in museums. It was for the best that I not. Old habits triumphed with a cinematography-esque clip.

With a dinner promise to co-workers weighing on me, I left after a much too brief 90 minutes of therapy. Approximately mid-50s and clear skies made the walk to a restaurant called simply “C” on the water’s edge bliss. And boy did arrive quickly as the video can attest to my quick step walking pace.

And some de rigueur pictures of the flight. In San Francisco en route to Vancouver.

Right Wing of Plan on San Francisco Tarmac
Right Wing of Plan on San Francisco Tarmac
Window Seat Floor After Landing in San Francisco
Window Seat Floor After Landing in San Francisco

Day 4, 5, 6, 7 of 7 – Back to Toronto for the First Time

So yeah, this hasn’t gone very well. And this post experienced a mighty delay. But in any case sometimes it just must happen even if out of sight and out of mind. Next time I’ll be more consistent in posting, but right now I feel guilty for not doing this earlier as I had planned. So anyway, the final days of this trip were pretty good. The highlight was a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum. Separate post for that and hopefully not too delayed.

Here are some random picks for the last few days there. Good luck.

Two root beer or rancinette aluminium cans
Free pop at the office. Had my fill of root beer.
Dirty snow on side of road.
Neatly piled snow on side of road.
Hilton Garden Inn coffee cup to go
Walk from hotel to office showing off with coffee cup in hand
Striding with right foot in the snow.
Right foot stride wearing gray corduroy pants and dark brown leather shoes in snow.
Walking out of bar called Arizona near the office with heavy snow.
Walking out of bar called Arizona near the office with heavy snow.

Day 3 of 7 – Back to Toronto for the First Time

Update: Life has been busy and just now publishing this long delayed post.

Day two and events were as expected. Finally worked from the office today though not before walking through snow and ice from the hotel to office building; roughly half a mile. I could feel each snowflake land on my face, hair, and eyelashes. Attacked. And don’t expect keeping your shoes clean. The ice and snow and slush simply take them over.

Never having lived in cold weather I still am not over my initial expectation of feeling exceedingly cold. Fact is, it feels nice.

Turn Around and See How Far You've Come Through the Snow
From hotel to office building. Hotel in far left with glass windows. Footprints on right.

Day 2 of 7 – Back in Toronto for the First Time

The morning began with leg lifts and the day continued on just as interesting a note. A day immersed in front of a laptop seated at a hotel desk glancing away from screen only to see myself in a mirror.

Building High Leg Lifts + Toes in the Shadows
Morning routine of leg lifts facing a veiled window.

Even with snow piled a couple feet high outside, it bested the inside of the hotel room. Lunch was no more interesting. The day halted enough to watch the second half of The Fockers, the second in the series, while grazing on baby spinach salad and a decent three layer chocolate cake.

And so the night continues in the same manner that the day began; in front of the laptop. Fingers to keys. Arcade Fire will keep me burning the midnight oil.

Back in Toronto for the First Time

A decent job, I thought, of packing and preparing for a week long trip to Toronto. A week’s worth of clothes perfectly curated. Counted socks and underwear. All of it folded and packed well before the middle of the evening the night before.

Only in the morning did I realize forgetting travel medicine to kick back the nasties picked up by unclean and ill travelers. Having almost ruined the trip by forgetting something, this travel checklist, my first, should help. The list grew so much that it got its own post – Travel Checklist of an Intermediate Traveler.

With Global Entry no need to remove shoes or belts or liquids. Nice. Fast. Flight departing Fort Lauderdale for connecting flight in Charlotte was nothing out of ordinary except for the snorer to my left by the window and the newspaper reader with the light permanently on to my right. The light normally wouldn’t bother me but a 6:30 morning flight should have norms. Lights should not be one of them.

The flight is going well. This plane is only two seats deep. The seats are leather and views from the window seat are nice though my window seat didn’t have a window and I had to pear through the window in the rows in front and behind me. Also, I met a mathematician. She was doing what appeared to be tick tac toe or graphing. So I asked and she said graphing theory. Not that I knew what that meant , but it looked interesting. That’s what I told her. She smiled, continued more math work and stuffed orange ear plugs in both ears. She obviously takes her math seriously.

Charlotte to Toronto Flight Window View Departing Charlotte
Window view of US Airways flight from Charlotte to Toronto, February 16, 2014, leaving Charlotte, North Carolina.

Read the introduction to the Art of War. Slow moving and expecting really useful wisdom starting with the first chapter.

Minus 12 degrees in Toronto says the captain! Yeah very cold. Plus everything is covered in snow and ice. A long sleeved undershirt plus a long sleeved casual shirt plus a sweater and a fleece. About to find out if that is enough to keep a Floridian warm in the bosom of a Toronto winter.

Charlotte to Toronto Flight Window View Nearing Toronto
Window view of US Airways flight from Charlotte to Toronto, February 16, 2014, approaching landing in Toronto.

Definitely cold, but not extreme. Breathing and exhaling is exciting. Plumes of steam or vapor or whatever it is billows out each nostril and mouth. I see my breath disappearing and giving a last breath of its own. First time in Terminal 1 and boy was it empty.

Toronto Airport Terminal 1
Pickup station S5 in Toronto airport Terminal 1. Quite empty.

Next stop is the hotel for lunch a visit to Kolher, a friend, and a day’s finish up with light work and a dripping of Tzu.

Check-in at Hilton Garden Inn
No lunch served today. Pffft. On a Sunday. Cookies reserved for evening check-in arrivals and shuttles only, well shuttle, to and from the airport. Jolly poor start Hilton. By this time my immune system is at record health and the Airborne plastic bottle of chewable tablets is empty. Subsisting on chewable vitamins is not recommended.

Took a nap. Lost headache. Awoke and room serviced too much food. Broke my vegetarian streak by ordering a gourmet hamburger. Guilty weighs heavy. The Greek salad was a disappointment, but at least I completed a proper girls’ night with turtle cheesecake and The Wedding Planner. Jennifer Lopez is great in that.

Evening View from 5th Floor Hotel Room
5th floor of Hilton Garden Inn Toronto airport. An evening after room serviced dinner.

Time to end the night with work. One downed cup of coffee. Several more to go. Now where’s that pitcher?