I start to miss work when I haven't gone anywhere for a few weeks. I was looking through some old pictures this morning to reminisce about the good ol' days when I used to go to work every week. Not to worry...this is historically a time of year that most meetings are scheduled in Phoenix, so quite often the airplane isn't needed every week. Who would want to leave 80 degrees to fight blizzards or floods in the rest of the country? It simply means I end up having a few weeks at home. I never know when I have time off...but when Friday night rolls around and I still haven't been called to go to work, I correctly assume that I had that week off and didn't even know it. Surprise! Anyway, I found some pictures of a wonderful trip almost two years ago and thought I would share. It reminds me that I DO travel for a living and DO have a job that I love!
We were in one of my favorite Canadian destinations of Vancouver, British Columbia. I love most destinations in Canada, but only from about June to about August when the temperatures are humanly tolerable. All other times of the year, it's uninhabitable! I lived in North Dakota for four winters, so I am entitled to make such harsh statements about crappy winter weather. This particular trip to Canada was in April, so still rather chilly. I think the high for the day was 52 degrees, which is pretty cold for my now-Phoenix standards. But I had a whole day off in the city and couldn't wait to start. My co-worker and I, Terry, had rented a car to use during our stay in Vancouver. This is not a normal occurrence for us, but we knew our passengers were working in the city for several days that week, and we didn't want to be car-less when it came time to find a place to eat for four days! With our car rental came an unexpected treasure...a free coupon book to the city! It gave us free entrance to several popular attractions like the history museum, space museum, art museum, aquarium, and a free ride in a horse-drawn wagon. For someone who likes to watch where her pennies are spent, this was an indescribable treat...I now had access to so many fun things in an incredible city but had to dish out very little of my own money to do it! After the day was over, I counted what the cost would have been had I not used coupons galore. It would have been over $200! For some reason, free is always better.
The Vancouver Science Museum was my first stop, and I admired the neat-o shape of the building as I arrived. It was fun to wander around pretending that I was a kid again. Then I visited the Vancouver Aquarium, where I spent several hours enjoying otters, seals, beluga whales, and overflying airplanes. Since the aquarium is located in Stanley Park, I enjoyed my free ride on the horse-drawn wagon and completely ignored that I was the only person on board. The driver gave a tour of Vancouver over a microphone, and it was a great way to learn about the city while basking in the smell of fresh manure and sweaty horses. I was around those aromas during most of my childhood, so it was fun to relive some memories! That big and beautiful green bridge was built by a local beer company to connect Vancouver to the North Shore, an exclusive community built back in the day to provide extravagant living to the wealthy of Canada. This Lion's Gate Bridge took over forty years to construct, thanks to constantly-changing city ordinances that made retaining a building permit nearly impossible. See? I was listening to the driver! I learned so much as I sat bundled up in a blanket that had been used by at least three million previous riders. Maybe that's why it was so warm?
I had been slightly camera-happy that day, so the batteries didn't last for the duration of my Vancouver exploring. After Stanley Park, we went to see the Museum of Vancouver. Although I have been able to patronize many museums in North America, this was certainly one of the best museums I had seen! The displays were amazing and informative...just the way I like them! The museum also had a little space centre upstairs where I watched an almost-3D movie about the origination of the stars according to the local Native Americans, the Nahane. Did I mention this was all free? I love learning (Nerd Alert!) and certainly found several happy places throughout this day.
After the museum, we found a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a yummy dinner as evening quickly approached. Vancouver is such an incredible city to visit and certainly one of my favorites. It was fun to experience so many things the city has to offer but without spending much of my own money. I can deal with colder temperatures if it means I get spoiled like this!