August 24-31, 2021
After getting our COVID-19 test results in the nick of time, the three of us piled into Erik’s car and departed for the Canadian border for our first visit to Vancouver, British Colombia. It was quite a few hours in the line at border control, but we made it through with our tests, ArriveCAN, and vaccination cards and were on our way.
Our first stop was finding lunch, and we found a pho restaurant. This was my first experience, and I can’t complain! I got the vegetarian option while Erik and Nisha informed me of the proper way to eat it.
The first stop on our list was the Gastown Steam Clock, the first steam clock built and one of the few remaining in the world. It is run by steam engine and releases steam by the quarter hour and hourly intervals. Of course, Erik was particularly intrigued by the engineering of it. While waiting for the top of the hour, I got some Starbucks (with my name spelled terribly wrong) and we saw two dogs in a remote-control car.
We walked about 20 minutes to the waterfront to visit the iconinc Canada Place and Vancouver Port. This is a large complex that encompasses multiple components, including the cruise port, convention center, Vancouver World Trade Centre, hotels, and more.
We walked around the area and found two famous sculptures: the Drop and the Digital Orca.
After passing a few happy hour signs, we decided to stop for a drink and some poutine (a famous Canadian dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds). While Nisha and Erik enjoyed a pitcher of beer, I had a mimosa at 5 PM because I don’t touch beer with a 10-foot pole.
Our next and final stop was intended to be Stanley Park, but after missing a turn and seeing hours worth of traffic backed up if we were to have turned around, we decided to follow the signs to the next beach we saw. We found one pretty quickly and enjoyed the sunset. Afterwards, we were on our way back to the US!
Perhaps what I found most interesting about Vancouver is that it is the city that opened the first safe injection site in North America, which is an evidence-based harm reduction facility for people use inject substances. While I didn’t want to visit the site in a tourist-manner, we did drive nearby, and it was comforting to know that this city has done something to prevent overdose death and diseases.