~~ Please note that all the pictures showed in this blog post are borrowed from other sites. Their credits and origins are listed under their caption. ~~
On the last day of our Disney Cruise vacation we arrived at our final destination — Vancouver, Canada. When we woke up in the morning, we eagerly looked out onto the shore and couldn’t contain our excitement to be able to visit this picturesque city for the first time. Little did we know that this day was going to turn into one of the most action packed days of our lives.
Our plan was to spend the afternoon in Vancouver and hop on a flight back to LA at 6PM that day. The ship’s communication pamphlet has informed us that our only breakfast option is scheduled at 7AM, so we began our day at 6AM. By 8AM we have finished eating and packed up. By 8:30AM, we had disembarked and began our day in Vancouver, much earlier than I anticipated.
We arrived at Hertz rental car in Downtown Vancouver at 9AM and surprised to find out that they have no cars standing by. We had arranged for a car to picked up around 12PM because we thought a) it would take a lot longer to disembark like it did last cruise, and b) they would have an alternate car standing by so the pickup time was just meant to be approximate like all of the other times we had rented a car. Unfortunately, the place we booked from was located in downtown Vancouver and was a satellite office for the larger airport office. With no car available, we had no transportation available other than feet or a taxi ride to a different car rental spot. We still liked this place, since they were very very cheap. So we grudgingly put our suit cases into storage and took the kids out to see the city on foot. Couple of steps out of the door, I felt something fall onto my head. Only later did I find out that it was a huge chunk of bird poop. I should have understood then that this day was not going my way.
Two blocks later, we came across the Emery Barnes Park, a beautifully designed and landscaped park nestled amongst the high rises. It has all the bells and whistles you can possibly expect from a neighborhood park: play ground for the kids, grass area to laze around on, beautiful flowers and trees adorned every corner, and a visually stunning water scape filled with fountains, streams, and waterfall. We decided to play for a while before going further into the city.
Emery Barnes Park, Vancouver, Canada (Image by RickChung.com, originally appeared at http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/07/flickr-buzz-july-5-2012/)
While Max occupied himself with the swing, Ravi was fascinated with the water. He happily ran across the bridges, threw leaves into the fountain, and went back and forth through the stepping stone path at edge of the pool. I had warned him that we don’t have any spare shoes in case of an accident, but he didn’t listen. sure enough, he missed a step and put his entire right leg into the pool! The shoe became way too wet for a long day of walking in the city. So the only choice we had was to buy him a new pair. After talking to a couple of parents in the park, we decided on the Hudson Bay near Georgia and Granville.
Hudson Bay, Vancouver (Image borrowed from http://www.retail-insider.com/2012/11/more-spring-renos-for-vancouvers.html)
It was supposed to be only 13 blocks away, but with each of us carrying a kid (Max at ~25lbs, Ravi at ~33lbs), it took over 30 minutes through the street of Vancouver to arrive at Hudson Bay. Let me tell you, that was a very long 30 minute walk! I never knew the streets of Vancouver could be so much longer than anything I knew. We bought the only toddler size 10 shoes in store and were glad that the difficult part of our journey is over. It was 10:30AM, so we decided to wander around the neighborhood till 12PM to pick up our rental car.
Lucky for us, the Pacific Centre Mall is located right across the street and that’s where we spent the next hour. The kids had fun running around while Mario and I nervously followed. Nevertheless, we enjoyed some ice cream from Dairy Queen, some delicious chocolate from Purdy’s, and a nice cup of coffee from Starbucks. When 11:45 rolled around, we began our journey back to the rental car office.
Pacific Centre Mall, Vancouver (Image from http://gaytravel.about.com/od/gaydestinationgalleries/ig/Vancouver-Photo-Gallery/Pacific-Centre-mall.htm)
Maxie had fallen asleep on my shoulder, so I carried him the whole way. Ravi was so brave but the long journey tired him out and Mario carried him the last 4 blocks. We arrived 30 minutes later, got our car set up and loaded, and were ready to begin our adventure as the way we intended too. At this point, I was so tired I was ready to just get through the day and never return to Vancouver again.
First stop, lunch. We had pre-selected several interesting restaurants depending on what fancied our moods, but on that day we decided on going to Shanghai River, which belongs to the Ding Tai Fung chain. They are famous for their thin crusted bao. It might be because we hadn’t eaten Chinese food all week long so we were starting to miss it, but the food at Shanghai River tasted fantastic to both me and Mario. We ordered a whole bunch of food and devoured all. What stood out for Mario was a sugar baked cake, fresh and light. Maxie and Ravi each finished a whole one!
Shanghai River, Vancouver. Image from http://urbandiner.ca/2010/08/06/dine-around-richmond-northern-chinese-cuisine/.
Sweet & Sour Rock Cod. Image from http://www.foodspotting.com/people/felixt.
Goose Liver with Sticky Rice. Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/
Shredded Chicken with Rice Noodles. Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/
Thin Crusted Baos. Image from http://www.coffeefoodies.com/2012/03/25/shanghai-river-richmond/
With food in our stomach and some well deserved rest, our spirits were uplifted and we began to enjoy ourselves again. We even joked about our adventure and were glad that we came after all. Maybe someday we can come back for a culinary tour. But the day was far from over and we had no idea what’s yet to come.
~~~~~ Our adventure will continue in Part 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~