it was just me, my camera and my music yesterday on my trip to vancouver. you might say, what? are you crazy? why would you go yourself? well the answer to that is because i had a list of places i wanted to visit and i didn’t want to feel like i was dragging people around. besides, i don’t want to participate in stupid chit chat 😉

this short road trip was a perfect chance to test out my new ipod fm adapter and to put my camera to good use (oh, btw did you know that i got a new camera? it’s good). and i ended up taking almost 300 photos. i’ve posted up the ones that turned out not crappy.

my plan was to leave bright and early so i set my alarm for 5:30am. i managed to get out the door, into the car and on the road by 6:15am (only hit the snooze once) and made it to the border by 8am. i wasn’t too worried about the border because i had been through here before and it was even easier than i thought; the guy only asked me two questions: 1) where are you going? and 2) how long are you staying. something interesting i noticed is that i couldn’t get t-mobile coverage on the american side of the border while waiting for canadian customs, however on the way back i was able to get signal on the canadian side of the border waiting for american customs (no roaming).

first stop on my list was UBC. i had looked at the map before and UBC must have the best location for a university ever. they are right on the coast! i wanted to visit their campus and get reminded of how depressing waterloo is. also, they have a clothing option beach along the coast.

so i got to UBC by 8:45am and walked around. it is a decent campus, with some old buildings and many in-progress buildings. it’s not as old as u of t and definitely not as garish as waterloo. however, i was disappointed to find out that while UBC is “on the coast”, there is a national park along with a steep incline between the university and the coast. so it feels more like a little university in the middle of nowhere than a party on the ocean.

after visiting the campus i went to two additional places on campus, the nitobe japanese garden and the museum of anthropology. i didn’t feel like paying for the museum, nor using up my time there; but since i parked there i figured i might as well take some pictures of it.

the japanese garden was nice, especially because i showed up almost right when it opened so there were hardly any people there. i found it to be somewhat bland in colour, maybe i came at the wrong time of the year. when i visited the japanese garden in seattle, it was a lot more lush. at one point, a very large bird, not indigenous to japanese gardens flew in, landed on an island and soaked up the beautiful scenery for several minutes before i scared it off (oops).

by this time it was about 11am (i know, i work quick) and i headed downtown. after some circling looking for all-day parking (i now know the secret place to park for cheap AND close to the action) i dropped my car off and headed out into the unknown. there were a couple of places i wanted to visit downtown and fortunately they were all within reasonable walking distance. the first thing i visited was the vancouver art gallery. it’s unique in that it has an old fashioned facade while maintaining an modern interior. i didn’t have the opportunity to take pics of it on my previous trips (which was one of the reasons i decided to come back). i also walked around in a couple of circles to see most of the core downtown while saving robson street for later.

then it was off to dr. sun yat-sen classical chinese garden. i thought i had visited this place before a couple of years ago but when i looked at the map again i was pretty sure i didn’t goto chinatown to visit it. so i guess i’ve never been there. this place is near gastown and i definitely remember that you weren’t supposed to cross the tracks if you were visiting gastown. well i walked from downtown and i think i was walking on the wrong side of the tracks. oops, but then again, it wasn’t worse than downtown seattle.

i actually ended up making my way through chinatown first because it was somewhat interesting. finally i went into the chinese garden. it was for some reason free? well i found out later that there is a chinese garden run by vancouver parks & rec in addition to the classical chinese garden. i think i pretty much saw what i wanted to so i forwent the classical one. the problem i had was that i arrived at a public park around mid day so there were a lot of tourists, kids, random people running around getting into my shots. so note to future self: go do tourist stuff early in the morning before anyone’s awake. hey it worked well at ubc. also, going early is beneficial in that you can find parking, and if you forget to pay for parking the parking enforcement people haven’t woken up yet to tow your car.

next was gastown. my feet were starting to hurt so i didn’t do any cycling or back tracking here, i just walked through and took pictures of the relevant places. there was a crowd gathered around the steam powered clock, which i think is kinda dumb because it doesn’t seem too special. i got there around 1:30pm and heard it go doot dootdoot doot doot…doot doot or something like that before i went.

i followed the waterfront and went through the canadian pacific building. it’s basically like union station except without all the different routes. on my way there, i spotted a parking lot which had an incredible view of something really weird. so since i was a tourist, i had to go find out what it was. turns out it was canada place (what, did they not like british columbia place?), vancouver’s convention centre/cruise liner stop/imax theatre. it was not as cool up close.

after a quick walk down robson street (been there, it’s boring) i grabbed the car and left downtown. it was only like 3pm and i had pretty much finished what i wanted to do. the only thing left was grouse mountain which jeb recommended to me. i drove up there and, well there really is nothing to see there unless you pay the $30 general admission. wow that’s a rip, but seeing as how i hadn’t really spent any money yet i figured i’ll splurg.

after a five minute ride up in a tram i realized, there really isn’t anything to do up here. i came up hoping for a good view, but the plateau that we were on was really high in the sky so everything was really far away. even my zoom didn’t help me! it was that high up. so anyways, i quickly realized that to make my trip worthwhile i’d probably have to go hiking. so i walked around their pre-made trails and then figured, that i might as well go up to the summit so i could say that at least went to the top of some mountain. plus, it couldn’t be THAT far away. so off i went up to the top, 4100ft above sea level.

this was an incredibly bad idea considering how whimsical my decision was. let’s see:

  • inappropriate shoes
  • no water
  • no sunscreen
  • no idea how high it was

well at least i didn’t try it at night. so after a long time, i reached the top, and well the view wasn’t much different. after awhile i figured i was starting to burn so i decided to hike back down. now one would think that it would be pretty easy to come down, but it wasn’t. the trail was too steep so i had to watch out that i didn’t fall down the mountain. anyways, the trail was mostly gravel which i don’t think is the best thing to pave the trail with since the rocks can be loosened and so your footing isn’t stable. oh one cool thing was that at the top there was still snow! it was 30 degrees outside and snow on the ground! that’s wack yo.

after that i was bushed so i figured i would get some food (and drink) and then head on my way home. as i was driving towards the border i passed through downtown again and spotted one of the public library which i had meant to go see but forgot where it was. it’s a pretty unique structure in that it was built to resemble a roman coliseum. after a couple more photos i headed off home. again the border was pretty easy and i got home before it was too late. all in all, took 279 photos for 300mb.