September 5, Seattle -> Vancouver

*ppffbt*. My tongue is fuzzy.

But that's my own fault, I know.

The bus to Vancouver left at 1pm, so we took the bus over to the Space Needle, but didn't go on -- they wanted $8.50 for it! I think not. The park -- City Centre -- was nice, but because this was after the main tourist season all the rides were closed! But it might be nice while open.

We then took the monorail for the 90-second ride into downtown (Westlake), which stops on the 3rd floor of a full-scale mall; the bus stations are 2 levels underground directly below the stop. But it wasn't time to go yet.

Dan and I then walked over to Pike's Market again, and stopped by one of the flower/plant shops right at the 1st St/Pike St. corner and said hi to Alex, who worked there. We got a late breakfast between the second Russian place which I hadn't tried earlier and the homemade pie place, and wandered around a bit more, because this time I had a tour guide.

Dan showed me the original Starbuck's location, which still had the original logo over the door -- I hadn't known that they'd changed it! Turns out the logo used to be a full-frontal of a dual-tailed mermaid who wasn't wearing a shirt, or shoes. She probably wouldn't have been let in most restaurants. So when Starbuck's went public, apparently the breasts and nether regions were decided to be unattractive to shopping mothers, so the current close-up of the mermaid's face became the new logo. Hmmmm.

Well, we walked back towards the bus, and on the way there passed a curb-renovation site which had about 6 construction people doing various things with cement -- and 1 construction dog. Seriously, this was one of the little dogs I normally don't like, but it wasn't yapping uncontrollably, looked like it had a brain, and was even wearing a hard hat. A small hard hat. Very, Very cute. Another picture.

WE then boarded the bus for the International District, where the Amtrak station was, arriving at 12:45pm -- perfect timing! Dan and I said our goodbyes, and I boarded the bus soon thereafter. The driver checked the main compartment of my backpack (it separates into a large pack/daypack combination -- vrrrry fancy) and made sure I had proper identification to get back into the U.S. ; I had been warned to take my birth certificate along because they were getting stricter about customs: a driver's license alone wasn't good enough anymore.

I still had a headache. ugh. And my knee was hurting again! hurumph.

It was a 2 hour drive to the border, at which it was raining fairly heavily when we arrived. Customs proceeded fairly quickly, however! 30 minutes later we were in Vancouver. I took the SkyTrain for two stops (Granville Exit?) right into downtown, exiting below street level in -- fancy this -- another mall!

I walked up to the street, and took the bus to the Jericho Beach youth hostel. This is a nice town. The downtown area was in that post-rain bright-sunlight-through-clouds mode, murals all over the walls of the mall, so I didn't mind that my bus took 20 minutes to get there. I did notice something though...everyone was smoking! It turns out this is something Californians get spoiled about; most other places still have smoking as part of the culture. *sigh*

On my bus, also going to the hostel, were Robert and Lisa and Jean-Francois (who for some reason went by the name of Scott). This was fortunate, because I didn't recognize the stop! The sign for the hostel was actually in the trees just after the stop; I'd have never seen it if I was alone.

We walked the kilometre or so to the hostel, talking. Scott works in a foundry in Montreal; he used to be a security guard there, and now he does a little bit of everything, and is one of the few who can do any of the jobs there. Robert and Lisa are from Melbourne, Australia -- they thought I sounded Irish!

I checked in, got my bed assignment, and headed downstairs for food. Lamb I ate with Scott and Lisa and Robert. We talked for a bit, then I headed off outside to explore some of the neighborhood. I planned on finding a drugstore which might have knee braces, but the main recommended/nearby one was closed! bummer.

I kept walking, stopping in a sporting goods store which directed me a block over and several forward, 10th and something (this was on 4th and something, the original drugstore being on 4th and Alma). I noticed that the houses all around were what I still think of as University architecture; the University of Vancouver was just on the other side of Jericho Park up a hill, apparently. I cut over to 5th street, and was about to go to 6th when I saw a soccer practice/scrimmage in progress. I like soccer. So I went over to watch.

I met one of the players; he'd arrived late from work so he wasn't playing in the scrimmage. Also named Scott, he worked 7am-7pm 4 days/week at the maximum security prison in downtown Vancouver. Nice guy, though.

The practice ended, so I kept walking, but I got back on 4th, then took the #7 bus up 4th, and followed the driver's suggestion of what bus to transfer to once we got downtown (to the theatre district) to take me to the far end of the nightlife center strip: the #3 down Robson. However, on a thursday night, the street practically closed up at 10pm!

I had a late snack at a good but uninspired sushi bar, then found "Cows Ice Cream". I didn't have the ice cream, but anyplace with a large cow in front of the door gets my patronage. So I got an awesome sweatshirt and t-shirt. By this time things were really slowing down, so I caught the bus back to the hostel, arriving around 11:30pm. I'd set up my sleeping back earlier, so I just snuck in (this hostel was dorm-style quarters) and crashed.