Wednesday, August 26, 2009


i took a LOT of photos during our 3 weeks overseas. i narrowed them down to a large selection and put them on facebook. here are a few of them and some stories of our trip (i've divided it into a few posts).

the second night we were in vancouver was the celebration of light (fireworks display) finale so we went to see that with a friend

the burrard street bridge after the fireworks (a bit glow-y from the smoke haze in the light): a friend of ours and his australian wife (he came down to oz to visit us/see the country, found a melbounre girl, married her a year ago and they live in vancouver) had some kind of tour passes that get them and 1 guest free entry to a lot of tourist-y things. they hired a share car for an afternoon and took us up grouse mountain and capilano suspension bridge.

there are grizzlies on top of grouse. the 2 bears were taken to live in a large enclosure when they were orphaned (in 2 seperate incidents) as cubs. i think that was about 6 years ago because we saw them when they were cubs when we did a hike up the grouse grind (the tour pass got us in the gondola for free)

this young bird was practicing for the bird show they do on grouse: we also took the free ski lift up to the very top from the main tourist-y area (the second mountain i've ridden a chair lift on in the non-ski season this year-- did it at buller during atp. seems like a weird thing to do. especially twice in 8 months)

the view coming down the gondola (it was a bit hazy from the heat):

the share car had to be back not long after we got down from grouse but we did make a quick stop to the capilano suspension bridge, ran across the bridge and through the treetops walk and gift shop and stopped only momentarily to have our photo taken with this bear (we managed to get the share car back only 3 minutes late and no one was waiting):

english bay as seen from the burrard street bridge (we walked that bridge several times):

the cool bike lane on the burrard street bridge:

its a bit hard to tell from the photo but to the left of the yellow line is a raised sidewalk/footpath. on the right is a road level bike lane blocked from traffic lanes by cement barriers. only problem is the start of the bridge is a bit dodgy for bikes not to get hit by cars merging onto the bridge from a side street.

we were also in vancouver for the pride festival. we decided to watch the parade. my favourite bit (the dog has doggles on his head!!!!):

we also got to go to under the volcano festival. a good day of music and relaxing. it's at this great park on the beach in north vancouver. the day started out a bit rainy but cleared up a bit and was nice (not too hot or sunny to be out all day but not cold either). the view from the beach:

we went to portland for a few days to see a friend (i LOVE portland). i didn't get many photos (and most of the photos i took were of our friend's roommate's dog tanner-- he was sooooo cute!). i did get this one. it's not really funny in america, only australia.

our one incident we had happen in vancouver (there's always one) was at our favourite hostel. we love this place cuz we can get a private room with a double bed and its right downtown (although right on the edge of the seediest area of the poorest suburb in canada) and it's got a great pub downstairs from the hostel rooms. the private rooms are all on the second floor with windows overlooking this courtyard area that's only a couple meters or so across (and no doors to actually get into the courtyard at ground level). i woke up one nite to the sound of a lock being played with and then a creaking noise like our door wasn't shut properly and was just creaking slightly in a breeze. i thought that seemed a bit weird (cuz i'd seen zac shut and lock the door) so i tapped zac and said "i think our door is open". when he responed with "what?" we saw a silohette of a person diving under our bed!!!!! zac jumped up and grabbed his tough plasic nalgene water bottle (he's still convinced he could have done some damage with that) and i jumped over to the light and flicked it on. a guy crawled out from under our bed in his underwear! zac kept asking the guy what he was doing and the guy just kept repeating "just creepin around man, just creepin' around." our wallets and passports were sitting up on the desk with some of our other stuff but he hadn't touched it (where was he gonna put anything he took anyway). he crawled over to the window, hopped out and onto a pipe that went across the courtyard. he then jumped to the women's bathroom window (which was kind of a big leap) and went out through there. zac went down to the desk and got told the staff on duty (which unfortunately the night shift is done by this guy that doesn't seem to speak or understand english very well at all and is rude on top of that). he came up and took a quick look at our room and our the window (the guy had long gone) and then told us to go to sleep. the hostel is pretty secure and you need a key card to get to the stairwell to the rooms and then another to get into your floor's hallway and a key for your room. non-hostel guests are not supposed to be brought into the hostel so we were pretty sure he was staying there and had a room he'd taken his clothes off in. the next morning zac went down to the desk and the woman there asked zac right away if he was shook up about the last night. she said they'd looked at the security footage and saw him go into the women's bathroom and 15 minutes later come out again. when he came down in the morning they told him he was evicted (he only had 1 more night to go but he actually asked if he could have his money back for that next nite!!!). he claimed he was drunk and trying to scare a friend but got the wrong room. we're pretty sure he wasn't actually trying to take anything or do anything to us but you can't just crawl into someone's room!!! the hostel got barbed wire put over the pipe that day and i think bars on the window too but we didn't want to stay there anymore so they refunded our money, gave us extra coffee vouchers and some vouchers for the bar. fortunately our friends micah and stephanie live close by and were willing to have us stay for a few more nights with them then we'd originally planned (we were only going to stay with them the last 2 nights since they have a fairly small 1 bedroom apartment). i'm a bit sad that hostel has been ruined for me cuz that was the only hostel i ever really liked.

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