Exploring Seattle – Part 4
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
We are off to Canada today with more blue skies. The border crossing was very easy. It took maybe 5 minutes, including the cars in front of us. On the way to Vancouver we saw a bald eagle in flight. It was majestic and graceful as it soared overhead.
We stopped at the visitor’s center at the border. The agent was very helpful. We didn’t have any reservations, and we didn’t have any idea what we wanted to see while we were there, which is not like us. We usually have a very long itinerary mapped out.
The agent assisted us with booking a hotel. Then we told her that we liked nature and hiking, so she suggested that we drive north of Vancouver and to see Shannon Falls. Perfect!
Shannon Falls had a little snow on the banks. I had hoped for more. I wanted to add a winter wonderland waterfall to our collection in the dining room. I guess that will have to wait until another trip.
We tried to find a waterfall called Brandywine Falls. However, the road was completely covered with snow several feet deep. We may like to hike, but we were not outfitted for that kind of trek. While we were driving around, the temperature on the Explorer’s thermometer got down to about 28 degrees.
There were train tracks all along the route that we were driving. The tracks ran right along the mountains and by a stream. What a wonderful way to see Canada!
A lot of the restaurants in Vancouver were ethnic, especially Asian. We ate at a real Japanese restaurant recommended by the bellhop. We had some tuna sushi, pan fried dumplings, and another dish called tuna gomaae. We are acquiring the taste for a few of the types of sushi. The tuna gomaae is basically raw tuna (we call it bait) in a ginger sauce and sesame seeds. It was pretty good once you got past the idea of it being raw. We still can’t eat sashimi (raw fish with no spices).
Earlier that day we had been walking around in the snow and I forgot to treat our hiking boots before we left. So when we saw a sign on a shop that said leather cleaner we stopped in. The guy who was there asked us whether we knew of its other uses. We told him no and he explained that it was used to make some drug called poppers. Since we knew we had to come back across the border, we didn’t buy any. We didn’t want to have anything with us that might be conspicuous. Needless to say, we got an education that we weren’t expecting.
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
It was cloudy today, so we decided to walk around a nearby shopping district to let some of the fog would burn off before we went site seeing. We ate at a French restaurant called Café Crepes that the bellhop had recommended. The crepes were light and fluffy. The restaurant was decorated with French posters from the 1970’s. There was a sign on the door that said no pictures were allowed, so we were disappointed, but complied. The waiter said that the restaurant’s owner had found that other companies were trying to steal his idea, and that was why pictures were not allowed.
We went to Capilano Suspension Bridge to do some more hiking. This bridge is a few hundred feet high over hangs the canyon near another waterfall. The bridge was wobbly, but not scary. Of course, neither of us is afraid of heights either.
We took a scenic drive around the Stanley Park area to see some views of the marina. While doing so, we saw Vancouver’s version of the Space Needle. We did not go up inside of it, but we thought it was neat that we saw it, too.
We ate lunch in China town. It was incredibly authentic. The locals were speaking Chinese, and the markets had the spices that one always smells at Asian grocery stores. We were among the very few non-Asians there.
Terry’s lunch was a little too authentic for both of us. He ordered a chicken, shrimp, and noodle dish in an egg sauce. The egg was barely cooked and tasted slimy going down. I ordered a fried rice dish, and Terry ended up eating half of my lunch.
Going through U.S. Customs was not so easy this time. It took at least an hour. They need to set up a U.S. citizen’s lane to clear some of the traffic quicker. They did not search us. I suspect that Terry waving like crazy at the security cameras lead them to believe that we didn’t have anything to hide. We definitely were not afraid to draw attention to ourselves.
Gas is probably $.40 more per gallon in Canada. So, we figured we would fill up once we got back into the States. Well we didn’t realize that we would be in stop and go traffic for an hour. Terry was doing everything he could to preserve the gas, as we didn’t know how much of a reserve the Explorer tank held. Terry would start the engine when we could move forward and then turn it off. Then, we coasted down the hill. If we had realized that it might have been so close, we would have put a few gallons in while we were in Canada. Luckily, we didn’t run out of gas.
To be continued…