Little Miss asked me today which city I love more – Vancouver or NYC – and I could not answer. All I know is that – I have to come right out and say it – I’m completely gutted that we didn’t make it to Vancouver sooner. My heavens, what a city.
If Montreal is all about the arts, then Vancouver is all about lifestyle. Everywhere, the healthiest of healthy bodies bike, run and/or rollerblade their way around the place – suffice to say that there are paths everywhere and I do mean everywhere, which are actually LABELLED as to whether they are for pedestrian versus rollerblading versus biking use. But that’s not even why I love it. It’s just so damn gorgeous. It feels safe. And the beaches! Granted, we’ve had beyond gorgeous weather for our entire stay (from what I understand the frequency of rainfall here is the ‘catch’ as such) but even so, it has won me over independently; so much character and charm, such an incredibly rich tapestry of cultures mixed into the one city, so much soul! Agh! I LOVE this place. I don’t want to leave it! Yesterday was the one plan on the itinerary which I felt the most determined to do while here weather depending: bike around the seawall in Stanley Park. We met up with our friends from Canmore, Sabina and her two little ones, and set out to rent bikes only to find that we were heavily advised not to take Littlest Boob in a burley til he’s at least one. So Mister Boob very graciously offered to take Littlest in the backpack on their own inner city adventure, while the rest of us geared up and set off.
Poor Sabina’s pair, a bit over-tired methinks, were proving a bit tough to take during the ride which she dealt with so gracefully – as I’d only just said to Mister B that morning, I think my new favourite sound is other people’s kids having meltdowns. Comforting, normalizing and with no action required on my part. Perfection. The views were spectacular and it just felt so great to complete it! Sabina and kids had to head off shortly afterward, but we hung around Stanley Park a bit longer, where the kids pounced on the pool and slides, before heading home via the beach.
It was around this point that Master Boob – in his defence, after a day of otherwise exemplary behaviour – completely cracked it. I have a whole entry, nay a book, that I wish to devote to the subject of ‘tantrums on tour’, so will save it for then. In short, we divided and conquered for dinner again, a common strategy which seems to be working well thus far. I highly recommend it. So there you have it. Then took Little Miss out in the late evening to meet up with Mona, a friend of mine and producer who I met last year at Banff World TV Fest. She took us for a very eye opening – and at the risk of sounding trite, moving – drive through the eastside dodgy part of town, where apparently the police have basically herded all of the marginalized population of Vancouver into about six well defined blocks of the city. So crazy, the transition from poverty to opulence is as dramatic as the change of seasons in this country. I mean, really, you drive through parts you’d be scared to leave your vehicle, then a minute later you’re in a part of town that’s so ritzy you’d happily sunbathe on your car roof and breastfeed. Or something like that. Anyway, we had a great evening reconnecting and then crashed to bed. I’m happy to say that Littlest Boob, while still waking for feeds in the night, seems to be understanding now that the feeds are coming in due course and he no longer needs to cry his head off until he’s got absolute unequivocal proof that this is the case. Very handy development seeing as we’re staying in a hostel with thin walls.
This morning we got out the door relatively early and jumped back on the tour bus and went pretty much around the whole thing, then hopped off for a ferry ride over to the very famous markets at Granville Island.
We bought some tasty morsels for lunch (note to family travelers: we’ve discovered rather quickly that picking up some picnicky goodies at markets or the like is pretty much the most fun – and cost-effective – way to feed a family on the run.)
Then, just as the trip looked likely to be cut short due to overtired everybody (another note to travelling parents: pace yourself. Puh-lease pace yourself. Take it from those of us who don’t. Travel is exhausting. And cranky parents + cranky children = not cranky times two but cranky SQUARED!), out came the street performers and the coffee, with the first distracting the kids – and the latter us – into a much better mood.
Little Miss and Mister set off into the city on a mission to score some random chess games, Master, Littlest and myself conked out in the hostel for what might well set some sort of record for the best mid-afternoon nap ever. Woke up in time for dinner, some knowing smiles from a fellow parent traveler in the hostel kitchen, and then topped up Littlest so that Miss and I could head in to check out the Vancouver Theatresports League early evening show!
It was a fun format, very gag-based improv, but what they do, they do well. Little Miss absolutely loved it – it was pretty clean too, which I thought was awesome.
Then we sauntered home via the beach and enjoyed our last views of stuff like this: Now excuse me while I go cry into a barrel of jogger’s sweat.