Travel across the continent

4am does exist.  I don’t think it should.  Nor do I think I should have to get up then.

Up at 4, quick shower, dress, and lug all our stuff out the door.   We booked our flights quite soon after we decided to go, so we booked an 8am flight.  8am seemed like a reasonable hour.  Getting up to be at the airport 3 hours before for an 8am international flight is not so reasonable.

Waiting in the subway, with all our lovely bags
Waiting in the subway, with all our lovely bags

We managed to check in with the lady, after our online checkin didn’t work, then our kiosk check-in didn’t work.  She took a while – the computer was going slow, but she was very lovely and helpful, especially for it being 5am in the morning. She even sorted our seats so we were sitting together instead of separate.  I want to send her chocolates.   After that, we had to go through security.  Shoes off, belts off etc etc.   Forgot that custard counts as liquid, found out after we had gone through security, so we had to go back one at a time and eat as much as we could, otherwise we would just have to throw it out.    After eating, we then had to go through USA Customs.   I was taking an orange through (I thought it would be ok, as it was an orange from the USA, but no siree, not good), so we ended up going through extra screening to make sure we didn’t have anything else.  Also, because we had been on a farm, they had to go find our checked bags, get them from wherever they were waiting, bring them to the special screening place, then scan them again.  We had to sit around a lot.  Then they had to send the bags back off to the plane.

Finally made it through, to sit and wait for our plane.    First flight was 3-4 hours. Tea and cookies, and we watched Top Gear.

Mountains
Mountains

 

All the planes
All the planes go through Minneapolis
Snowy highway near Minneapolis
Snowy highway near Minneapolis

Changeover in Minneapolis (everything was snowy), then onto a little plane to fly to Newark, New Jersey.  It seems that so many planes go through Minneapolis on their way to other locations.  On the plane  I slept for a bit, coz just soooo tired (my travel pillow immediately proved its worth!).  We arrived at Newark Airport on time. Dale’s bag arrived, my bag, and the snowboard bag didn’t.  After being the only one waiting alone, forlornly, by the empty carousel, I asked baggage services.  Luckily my bags were only an hour behind me, on the next flight.  Better than the people ahead of us in line, whose bags weren’t arriving till the next day.  The thought of wearing the same smelly travel clothes for a couple of days made me sad.  They also gave us free food vouchers while we waited.   I bought a salad, knowing I should eat some veges at some point.  Bags finally arrived, and Dale got the snowboard bag and ran off with it, and some poor guy came and took it off us..coz it was actually his.  Turns out we had exactly the same snowboard bag.  Our one came out soon after

We had booked to fly into Newark when we thought we would be staying in Manhatan, which we didn’t; ended up staying in Brooklyn.  It meant a bit of travel once we arrived.  We caught a sky train, then another train, then another train, then another train, all the way through the city to Brooklyn, where we only had a 2 block walk to our hostel.   We are staying at NY Loft Hostel, which is really quite nice, it is a bit more of an upmarket hostel, although the shower next to our room is a sad one.

We grabbed dinner from the mexican food cart around the corner, and it was filled with delishuz.  We sat down to briefly plan the next day, before falling asleep.

Totes quesadilla
Totes quesadilla

 

We have 6 days in New York, and need to make sure we do all the things we want to!

 

Bonus pictures of messy poutine from Vancouver 😀

 

Hot mess II - Nacho version, with guacamole, sour cream, salsa
Hot mess II – Nacho version, with guacamole, sour cream, salsa
Hot mess  - poutine with mushrooms, pork, peas,
Hot mess – poutine with caramelised onions,  mushrooms, pork, peas,

Last Day In Canadia

I enjoyed Vancouver more this time.   I think cause we weren’t trying to buy or sell a car.

Monday we slept in late, and eventually got up and went outside.  It was quite nice, even occasionally sunny.  Must be awsum type weather for Vancouver though, as we saw at least 3 convertibles with their tops down.  I guess they have to make use of the sun when it comes out.

Harro bikes!
Harro bikes!
I got excited about one of the very few roundabouts in the American Continent.
I got excited about one of the very few roundabouts in the American Continent.
A black squirrel
A black squirrel

We wandered down the road towards Stanley Park, and hired a tandem bike.  Much hilarity ensued, and we cruised around the waterfront, checked out the totem poles, and the views along the waterfront.

Totem pole
Totem pole
Totem Poles
Totem Poles
At one with the totem poles
At one with the totem poles
Tandem bike!
Tandem bike!
Vancouver
Vancouver
On the back.. very tricky to take a photo
On the back.. very tricky to take a photo
A lighthouse and a sulphur pile
A lighthouse and a sulphur pile
Rocky shore
Rocky shore
"A girl in a wetsuit", and two gulls
“A girl in a wetsuit”, and two gulls

We then went to Beaver Lake, then through all the red cedar trees.  It was pretty.  Near beaver lake, some birds sat on our hands.  We talked to the park rangers, who were digging out a drain in the lake.  Turns out they have to dig it out every day, due to the beavers that live on the lake.   Every dawn and dusk, the beavers are out, filling up the drain and anywhere else they can hear running water..  We could see the beaver lodge out on the lake, but no beavers.

A real beaver lodge, made by real beavers!!!!
A real beaver lodge, made by real beavers!!!!
Beaver Lake
Beaver Lake
A tiny bird that wanted food from me
A tiny bird that wanted food from me

I wanted to see beavers.  Even though it meant we would be up late packing.  So we zoomed off around the rest of the park, then home, spent a wee bit of time planning our next city.

Tandem
Tandem
Lions Gate Bridge
Lions Gate Bridge
The leftovers of a really huge cedar tree
The leftovers of a really huge cedar tree

 

At about 6.30pm we caught the bus down to Stanley Park.  There were already two people waiting, one with a MASSIVE camera, and one older guy on a bike.  They were staring at the lake intently, so we joined them.   With quiet conversations we learned that the beaver had poked his head out 10 minutes before, but had gone back inside.  We were super excited.  After 20mins of watching, no beavers.  I was disappointed, but not particularly surprised.  The moose didn’t come out when I wanted to see him either.    We started talking to the guy, and suddenly I saw a little head bobbing in the water – Thats not a duck!!   with his little nose poking above the water, and his body floating along behind,  he took a lap around the front part of the lake near the drain.  Very cute.  He duck dived over by some reeds, and we didn’t’ see him again fro a bit.  He came out again as it was nearly dark, took another lap, then cruised over to the far side of his lodge, and sat there digging up roots and eating them.  So cute.  Once it was nearly full dark, we could jsut see him on the other guys camera screen, even though he was just a black blob in reality.  Amazing camera.  The photographer was nice enough to offer us a copy of a photo he had taken.  I personally didn’t get any photos of him, as it was pretty dark, and our little point-and-shoot just didn’t cut it.

 

Beaver.  Photo by Bruce Moffat
Beaver. Photo by Bruce Moffat
Sunset over Beaver Lake
Sunset over Beaver Lake

We were just in time to catch the bus home again, where we quickly made dinner, made a variation of trifle for breakfast the next day (muffins, chopped up, mixed with jam, and then the whole lot smothered in custard…it was all left over food we were trying to eat), packed everything in our bags, and planned to get up at 4am the next day.

 

Don't actually need two people
Don’t actually need two people
Looking towards the Strait of Georgia
Looking towards the Strait of Georgia
Cycle lanes
Cycle lanes
A small house in amongst the massive apartment buildings
A small house in amongst the massive apartment buildings

Vancouver Take 2

We got lost trying to leave Kamloops (gmaps doesn’t work well if you’re driving in anywhere that has highways and ramps, and you leave it on walking mode), then had lunch in the small town of Hope, before finding a place called Chilliwhack, where we examined a museum. Vancouver surprised us by being warm when we arrived, like 15 degrees, and a little bit sunny.   has rained since then though.  It likes to rain a lot in Vancouver.

The town of Hope is very specific about what goes on in its' parks.
The town of Hope is very specific about what goes on in its’ parks.
Baer in Hope
Baer in Hope
Bear carving in Hope
Bear carving in Hope
A bagpiper statue in Chilliwack
A bagpiper statue in Chilliwack

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The Chilliwack Museum
The Chilliwack Museum

We spent Friday sorting out the car, which we sold and sorted that day.  We also sorted our New York accommodation, and my flights back to NZ.   A very productive day.

 

All the Flags
All the Flags
Last car huggle
Last car huggle

Saturday was time to see some more sights of Van, and we took a walking tour of Granville Street and Gastown.  It was very interesting, and the tour guide was interesting and seemed to enjoy what he was doing.   The main thing I took away from the tour was that Canadians like to drink, they like hockey, and they occasionally like to riot.   Once, they rioted after they lost a hockey game (a very important one), but it is ok, because the next day they all helped clean up the mess. The town as a whole seems to like neon signs (they show up well in the rain).

The Art Museum.  Protesters protesting outside
The Art Museum. Protesters protesting outside
Fairmont Hotel
Fairmont Hotel
The first neon sign
The first neon sign

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The "Steam" Clock
The “Steam” Clock
An alleyway
An alleyway
A statue
A statue
A well painted city thing
A well painted city thing

It was a bit chilly, and it rained a lot on the tour, but it was still good.   We went out for good poutine with our roomate Emma, who was having her last poutine before heading back to Australia.
Sunday was just gonna be relaxy, but we heard bagpipes outside, and remembered that there was some sort of parade on, so we threw on some clothes and ran off down the street, where we watched the St Patricks Day Parade, (which had 6 different pipe bands playing!) and then wandered through the food stands and irish stands.. They had bands playing during the day, and people dancing in the streets (which were closed especially).   The guy who was introducing the bands amused me greatly, by exclaiming that the weather was good!  It was actually overcast, and the ground was wet.. but it wasn’t too cold, and most importantly, it wasn’t raining! The only sad thing about parades, as an adult, no one gives you candy or balloons.  Even if you are wearing a fox hat :<

One of the six pipe bands playing
One of the six pipe bands playing
Mounted police
Mounted police
Irish Dancers
Irish Dancers
A show of power
A show of power
A dragon
A dragon
Unicycle bagpiping with flaming drones (not shown)
Unicycle bagpiping with flaming drones (not shown)
Singers
Singers

After lunch was stocking up on maple syrup, sorting photos for blog posts (boo), and discussing packing.   I finally gave in and bought one of those bean filled travel pillows. The silly one you wrap around your neck.  I’ve always thought they were a bit silly, and annoying.  But in light of the last long flight I did, and knowing how much plane travel I’m doing in the next couple of months, I totally gave in and bought one.  It has black plush on one side, and red and black smiley face Canada Maple leafs on the other. We have to pack tomorrow.  Boo.

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We got free yoghurt!!!!
We got free yoghurt!!!!