Vancouver Part Three: Wreck Beach & NYE

I bring you the final installment in my Vancouver series.

The 31st was mostly laid back… we got lunch at Sushi Bella then Laura took me to her favorite beach, which she discovered by accident after exploring the mystery staircase opposite one of the UBC buildings in which she studied when she first moved to Vancouver a few years back. In the summer, from what I hear, Wreck Beach is flush with, well, a bunch of naked people engaged in various forms of revelry (that link informs me it’s North America’s largest naturist community), but on the last day of 2014 there were only a handful of people (fully clothed) and a few dogs. It was peaceful and beautiful and a great venue for the type of reflection generally associated with that time of year.

joy joy all the way through wreck beach1 wreck beach2 laura wreck beach laura wreck beach bird wreck beach bird wreck beach flying bird wreck beach burnt log

wreck beach coach

by “the type of reflection generally associated with that time of year” i meant reflections of sunsets in sunglasses, of course.

wreck beach shadow

wreck beach staircase gif Our New Year’s Eve happened sort of funnily. We’d determined early in the week that we wanted to go see Goldroom at Electric Owl, but, clever girls that we are, only decided to buy our tickets the morning of the 31st. Or rather, attempt to buy the tickets, because it had been sold out for days and while tickets to many other NYE events were turning up on Craigslist for whatever reason Goldroom was scarce. Laura messaged them on Facebook and got a response informing us that they’d be selling a limited number of tickets at the door at 9 for a higher price, so we decided we’d do our best to take advantage of that. Which meant we geared up to get in line SUPER EARLY to lessen the possibility of of missing this opportunity. “Eight?” I suggested. “I don’t know… this seems to be pretty popular. I feel like seven would be safer?” “YEAH, YOU’RE TOTALLY RIGHT.”

So we ordered pizza (from a different Bella), got dressed up, put on sweatpants and leggings OVER our dresses, picked up some supplies (read: Fireball…), and hopped in a cab, at which point we were whisked off to the venue. “Wait, here?” the cabbie asked. It was 7:15 and the place was absolutely desolate. But hey, we had sweatpants and booze (brownbagged and all… the epitome of class), and it didn’t take too long for someone involved with the venue to show up. We asked him if it would be possible to get tickets right then, and it wasn’t, but he put us on a list and said if we got there right at 9 we should be fine. So we warmed up at a nearby bar then did just that. We were there awkwardly early, but at least it gave me a chance to take the pictures whence this gif was made:

dance floor

goldroom electric owl new year's eveAnd yeah, had a good time and went home at the [relatively] early hour of 1:30 because, again, inconveniently timed flights are a lot cheaper.

flying2In summary Vancouver was nothing short of wonderful, and of course the trip was all made possible thanks to the generosity and hospitality of my dear friend. Miss you already, Laur!!

Vancouver [et al] Part Two: Whistler & the Sea-to-Sky Gondola

The one firm item on the agenda for my stay was an overnight trip to Whistler on the 29th. Though both a bit out of practice, we decided we’d try our hand (feet?) at some skiing. In my case, “a bit out of practice” meant it’d been a solid 14 years since I’d braved any slopes, in Oberammergau on what I recall being a slushy day. My only real memory of the affair is careening down the mountainside without any control over my motion whatsoever shouting “RYAAAAAAAAN!” at my brother as I passed him, when he clearly was in no position to offer assistance as he was in process of being dragged up the mountainside by the T-bar on which he’d not managed to get a firm seat. Still, I was hopeful.

We got up early to make the 1.5 hour drive from Vancouver before the crowds hit, and were setting out from (having geared up at) Whistler Blackcomb by 10 or 11. The park is enormous with an impressive spread of lifts and gondolas to get you to all sorts of different runs, and we found plenty of green ones (haha) to keep us at it for nearly the whole day (with a few breaks for the sneaky Caesar and bowl of yam fries [Canadian for subtle variations of “Bloody Mary” and “sweet potato fries”], of course). The conditions were great and I only think I wiped out once. Or. You know. Maybe twice… Anyway, fun as it was, I think the best part was definitely the scenery. We hardly even noticed it was -18º (Canadian for “0 degrees”) at the top.

whistler

whistler view

alas, i had to use my best judgment and only bring my phone for photo purposes

whistler view2 whistler view3

Laura had booked us a place just outside the village where we intended to rest up, shower, and lounge in the hot tub (not necessarily in that order) before HiTtIn ThE tOwN later on; but the hot tub wasn’t as hot as its name might lead you to believe, and after the shower and the resting and the Chinese leftovers we didn’t feel much like going out so we just drank a bunch of wine and gabbed, as us womenfolk have been known to do. The next morning we went back to the village to walk around a little bit, but found it much colder than the previous day, so we really just grabbed a bite at Earl’s and headed back to the car.

view from the condo's parking lot

view from the condo’s parking lot

whistler village

home of the 2010 olympics

home of the 2010 olympics

laura whistler olympics

whistler mountainsWhereas the drive up had been dark, we were coming back in daylight and got to take in some more gorgeous scenery. We stopped a couple times along the way, including a stop at the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish, which is exactly what it sounds like.

tantalus lookout

laura tantalus lookout

sea-to-sky gondola gif sea-to-sky gondola laura sea-to-sky gondola sea-to-sky gondola gif2 sea-to-sky gondola2 sea-to-sky gondola viewpoint sea-to-sky gondola viewpoint2 sea-to-sky gondola viewpoint3

i think this may have been the first picture an older british lady had ever taken. not bad!

i think this may have been the first picture an older british lady had ever taken. not bad!

sea-to-sky gondola viewpoint5 sea-to-sky viewpoint6 sea-to-sky viewpoint7

the trip needed more suspension bridge

the trip needed more suspension bridge

sea-to-sky gondola3 sea-to-sky gondola gif4

sea-to-sky gondola gif4We caught a nice sunset on our way back into Vancouver, where the fun continued with a super dank meal at the Oakwood Canadian Bistro and a nightcap (or… two)/cover band at Guilt & Co.

british columbia sunset vancouver moon lions gate bridge sunset vancouver sunset2 vancouver sunset3

Vancouver Part One: Lynn Canyon Park & Third Beach

[Requisite New Year Greetings]

2015 is off to a SuPeR exciting start for me: I made the fiscally sound but logistically dubious decision to book my return flight from Vancouver at 9 am on New Year’s Day and am currently laid over in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. And considering that I caught my flight with no problems (correction: there was a minor problem in that I braved the massive Tim Horton’s line knowing boarding time was drawing to a close, and, finding myself fourth in line when the final call was made, had to bail at the last minute. SORRY MARLON, NO DONUTS FOR YOU.), maybe it wasn’t such a dubious decision after all.

I know talking about how quickly time passes is pretty tired, but it truly is a little unbelievable to me that it had been just over four full years since I bid farewell to Laura in a dingy Delhi hotel room after our exciting year+ of China-living/Asia-traveling together. A reunion was long overdue, and a break in her busy med school student schedule made New Year’s an opportune time. The six-day trip went– dare I go there?– quite quickly as well but she was a terrific host and my first excursion to our friendly northern neighbor (America’s hat, you might say) was a success.

so... my new weird fixation is making gifs (and particularly time lapse gifs). stay tuned?

because the ‘serial’ podcast only took up so much of my attention on the plane…

Mar was excited for, if not a little envious of, me and had showed his support in the weeks prior by sharing some of the stunning photos that have recently popped up on Uncrate‘s Instagram. Notably, this one:

uncrate suspension bridge“Notably”, because the first thing Laura had lined up for us on my first morning was “the suspension bridge.” Apparently this generally refers to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, but a quick search left Laura informed of the existence of the lesser-known, free, Lynn Canyon Park, which also boasts a bridge. We were not disappointed.

lynn canyon park1 lynn canyon park2 lynn canyon park3 lynn canyon park4 looking up lynn canyon park5 lynn canyon park6 lynn canyon park7 lynn canyon park8 lynn canyon park9 lynn canyon park10 lynn canyon park11 lynn canyon park12 lynn canyon park13Unfortunately we did not experience the same solitude on the bridge that the good folks at Uncrate were able to enjoy… It was heavily trafficked (though the park itself didn’t feel crowded).

lynn canyon suspension bridge lynn canyon suspension bridge2 lynn canyon supsension bridge3 me laur gif lynn canyon suspension bridge4 lynn canyon park14I guess it stands to reason that we weren’t Parked out because our next stop was Stanley Park, where we grabbed a bite at the Teahouse and then checked out Third Beach.

third beachOh right, where we spotted this coyote just taking a casual stroll?

me: "aw look, a dog!" laura: "i... don't think that's a dog?"

me: “aw look, a dog!”
laura: “i… don’t think that’s a dog?”

vancouver coyote2 coyote gif

third beach vancouver

TRICK PHOTOGRAPHY  LOLZ

TRICK PHOTOGRAPHY LOLZ

laura high five2 laura high five3 third beach vancouver2 third beach vancouver4 third beach vancouver5 third beach vancouver6 third beach vancouver7 third beach vancouver8 third beach vancouver9 third beach vancouver shellsWe rounded out the day with a stroll to Granville Island, then got dinner with Lily, a former student of Laura’s (yes, from China!) who’s in her senior year of high school in Vancouver now. A fantastically gluttonous meal at Peaceful Restaurant only seemed appropriate.

sunset at granville island

sunset at granville island

Alright well, perfect timing. Time to board. Don’t cry for me, East Coast! And yeah– happy new year, y’all. I’ve got a good feeling about 2015.