Author Topic: The LA of Canada (Vancouver, BC) & The LA of the US (Los Angeles, CA)  (Read 9058 times)

Offline dpk4588

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As with all trips, this began with planning. To some of you this is the fun part (for the life of me I donít get it), for me its the nerve racking part. First was deciding where to go.  I ended up with Vancouver because I was thinking Seattle and then I started thinking about how far Vancouver was from Seattle. Then I remembered reading Mrs. AJKís Vancouver TR and (Part II) and I had heard other places that it was a nice place so I figured it was worth looking into and I decided it would be the place to go.

Next up is getting there. After the (somewhat) recent BA deval the CX flight, JFK-HKG which stops in YVR, wasnít as much of a deal as it used to be, and since I had decided I was going to splurge for first it would have been 50k with BA O/W, but I found out that it would actually be cheaper with AA, at only 32.5k, and for 17.5k less it was a pretty easy decision to go with AA. The only thing holding me back was that I had transferred a bunch of MR to BA during the 40% bonus so the 50k it would have cost me with BA only cost me about 35.7k which would have only be a difference of 3.2k. But I figured Iíd still go with AA, which turned out to be an even better decision that I had originally thought.

After I booked it, I noticed that there were more miles in my AA account than there should have been and I saw that I got a 10% rebate from my Barclays AAdvantage Aviator (formerly US Air Dividend Miles Card), so the savings ended up being 8,250 (not my only credit card related points rebate of the trip).

As some of you may be wondering, 32.5k is only one way, what about the way back, about that... I didnít really wanna spend Shabbat in Vancouver so I was looking for a redeye home Thursday night, for all the weeks I looked, I didnít find any that had availability in F in one direction and or J in the other. Not wanting to give up I decided that I would make it a multi-city trip and that I would spend the weekend and fly home from LA. There was no avios availability YVR-LAX Thursday night so I was left booking a relatively cheap ($148.88) AC flight Thursday night.

For the trip home I booked a business saver ticket on United to EWR for 25k UA. Sadly the LAX-EWR donít usually have lie-flat seats like they do LAX-JFK but since it was my first business experience I figured it would be ok, and better than a redeye in economy (or so I thought).

Now that all of my flights, which I have always seen as the hardest part of traveling, were taken care of it was time to research Vancouver and LA and decide how to spend my time. For this step I used TRs from other DDFers and Tripadvisor.

As disorganized as the rest of my life is, I like to plan out my vacations to the minute. So as I did with my vacation to Washington DC I made an excel sheet with all my plans scheduled down to the minute (with some wiggle room because things never work out perfectly).

And so it beginsÖ

[Iíve got the rest of the TR written up, I just have to play with it a little to get the formatting down and add in the pics. So this wonít be one of those TRs where you have to wait days, weeks, or even months to get to the next chapter.]
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Saturday June 20, 2015
Saturday night I eagerly logged on to Cathay Pacificís site to check-in for my flight. Uh oh, I see the following message, (note the poor spelling, its Cathayís not mine) "We apologise that Online Check-In is not available as we cannot locate your e-Ticket in your booking." So I start freaking out thinking that there is a problem with my ticket and that I wonít be able to go. I tried calling the American Cathay number and it was closed for the night and wasnít open on Sunday. I tried calling the Hong Kong number only to be told by a machine that call volume was unusually high and it hung up on me. I tried calling American as I had booked with them and their hold time was 40+ mins so I had them call me back. In the meantime Iím freaking out, a friend of mine is trying to calm me down, he tells me heíll see if any DDFers he knows have had the same issue. Finally AA calls me back and tells me that since it was booked with AA and I was flying Cathay I had to check-in on site and that there was nothing wrong with the ticket. Phew!

Sunday June 21, 2015
So Sunday comes, I get to the airport check-in and head to the British Airways Galleries Club Lounge. As someone who doesnít travel much, I donít frequent many lounges, but this seemed pretty nice. Very spacious, two sections plus the pre-flight dining room for passengers flying on BA. There isnít much in terms of Kosher food, some chips and oreos, but there is free liquor, so at least thereís that. Some pics:

BA JFK Lounge Seating Area


BA JFK Lounge Fountain


BA JFK Lounge Bar and Chandelier

Once on the plane things got real.

As someone who had never flown a premium cabin before this, I didnít really know what to expect, even though Iíve read reports of people who have. All I can say is that my expectations werenít met, they were surpassed!  Upon boarding, I was shown directly to my ďseatĒ and offered a pre-flight beverage of water, juice, or champagne (damn Kosher!). Going against my desire not to look like a fool, I told the flight attendant that it was my first time flying first, and she graciously showed me how things worked, she showed me how to move the TV and how to recline my seat for after take-off. I was then handed my amenity kit and sleep suit (or as some of you may know them, pajamas). Then man in a suit comes to welcome me an informs me that he is basically the man in charge (I donít remember the title he gave) and he confirmed that my KSML was on board, and asked when I wanted it served, and I told him right after take off.

As I have heard from othersí past experiences, this flight is often delayed, and despite the fact that we pushed back from the gate on time were were given a 29th place spot on the runway so it was a 45 minute delay.  When sitting in F it doesnít seem so bad, except for the fact that the flight is already scheduled to land in YVR at 12:45 am so a 45 min delay makes that 1:30 am. Finally we take off and the flight attendant brings me a scotch (Johnnie Blue) and then my KSML.

Some background, I havenít flown on a flight where I had a meal in almost 8 years so I forgot how it works. When the meal came, I opened the plastic, and all I see is two small slivers of what look like salmon and some cabbage. Seeing that I got annoyed had and said screw it I guess its a good thing I brought my own KSML from Carolos & Gabbys, and I started eating that. Two bites in, the flight attendant brings me the rest of my meal, the hot part. After feeling like an idiot, I put aside the other half of my C&G and opened the KSML. The main was roasted chicken breast with red potatoes, sugar snap peas with carrots in mushroom sauce and there was a side of couscous with green olives, and it was pretty good, but small. It left me still a little hungry, so I had the rest of my C&G. The dessert was a chocolate cream puff, and it was delicious!


Cathay Pacific What I Thought Was my KSML



Cathay Pacific What Was Actually My KSML


After dinner I decided it was time to head to bed, I went to the bathroom to change and on my way I mentioned to a flight attendant that I was ready for bed and they set it up for me while I was gone. The sleep suit was comfortable but as it was 100% cotton I found myself a little warm. Overall I slept pretty well, I usually wake up several times during the night only to look at the clock, roll over and go back to sleep, so this time was no different.


Cathay Pacific First Seat - Top of Bed


Cathay Pacific First Seat - Bed (2)


Finally we land, I walked from the plane to customs, which felt like the longest walk ever (possibly because I was half asleep).  I get my bag and I head off to the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel (7k SPG) via free shuttle.  I get to my room and I pass out. Itís only the 2nd airport hotel Iíve ever stayed in and the other one (Four Points OíHare) was a dump, (I complained about so many things they actually refunded my points +500). This was much nicer.


Sheraton Bed


Sheraton Desk


Sheraton TV


I was excited to begin the vacation part of my vacation.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline moish

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Two bites in, the flight attendant brings me the rest of my meal, the hot part. After feeling like an idiot, I put aside the other half of my C&G and opened the KSML.
alol. nice job so far

Offline Chapshnell

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youre setting the bar pretty high for a first premium cabin. just FYI for future, you can book CX F with 30k MR into Asiamiles OW

Offline Marco Polo

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Great stuff so far.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline dpk4588

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youre setting the bar pretty high for a first premium cabin. just FYI for future, you can book CX F with 30k MR into Asiamiles OW
I just saw that on the Vancouver Master Thread , but at the end of the day it cost me less than 30k, and IIRC it costs money to join Marco Polo Club. I believe I saw somewhere that you can sign up free on the plane, but I forgot to ask :(
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Monday June 22, 2015
I get up (earlier than I had planned, I guess the sleep on the plane was pretty good) and make my way via SkyTrain to the downtown area. The train ride wasnít anything special, but the view from the platform was when I first began to understand what Vancouver was really like.

View of Mountains from SkyTrain

As I had a full day of activities planned and didnít really wanna schlep my luggage around with my I had emailed the manager of the Hyatt Regency to see if I could either check-in early or leave my bags somewhere secure. As there was a large group which wasnít done checking out yet, my room wasnít available and I had to check my bags at the bell desk. Not the biggest deal.

Next on the agenda was breakfast and shopping for food supplies. Since I wasnít renting a car for most of my time in Vancouver I wasnít gonna be able to make it to a restaurant for every meal so I went to Omnitsky's Kosher and picked up some deli bread and hummus, the went over to Cafe 41 and got a cinnamon roll for breakfast, it was ok, nothing to write home about. I then hustled back to the hotel to drop off my newly purchased supplied and ran to my first activity, the Tour Guys - Downtown & Waterfront tour.

I think I found them on Tripadvisor, they do a few different free walking tours in Vancouver and in some other Canadian cities. My Tour guide Bryan, was Irish (so his accent was awesome) and knew tons of stuff about everything we saw. We started off at the Vancouver Art Gallery and walked down to the waterfront and made some stops in between. He first showed us a public space in a private building which had a giant pendulum (which is currently working), he described the space as part of the public sharing with the private which is common in the Vancouver community. We then moved on to the Marine Building an Art Deco building which opened in 1930. The detail in this building was amazing. 


Marine Building Entrance


Marine Building - Lobby (1)


Marine Building - Lobby (4)

Apparently there is a law in Vancouver that every building built after a certain date (I donít remember when) needs to also include art for public consumption. There were a number of pieces which we saw which were created for this purpose two of which I found interesting. Outside of a Canadian Federal building was a piece by Alan Storey a Canadian artist called Public Service/Private Step. The boxes go up and down with the movements in the elevators in the building.

Public Serivce-Private Step

The other piece I found interesting was on the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It is a poem by Liam Gillick the installation is the quote ďlying on top of a building the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the streetÖĒ over and over again across most of the building.

Fairmont Pacific Rim

We then went down to the waterfront where we saw amazing views of the mountains across the harbor. We walked along the seawall for a while and saw a piece of German art which was apparently supposed to be an embodiment of the city of Vancouver, they made a giant raindrop (as Vancouver received rain over 200 days a year).


Giant Raindrop

We went into the Vancouver convention center which was used as the broadcast center for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. In a water level connection between the two wings of the convention center there is a mini Olympic exhibit which has the torches from the Olympics and Paraolympics as well as gold, silver, and bronze, medals from each of those games and a medal podium which is one of 23 used in the games, I stood on a podium where a gold medalist received a great honor. Pretty awesome.


Me on Olympic Medal Pedestal (1)

Olympic Medals


Olympic Torches

Finally we ended the tour at the Olympic Cauldron, where Bryan told the (terrible) end of the 2010 Winter Olympic Hockey Gold Medal game. I thought the tour was amazing especially considering it was free. All they ask for are tip at the end. He definitely deserved it.


Olymic Cauldron

Next on the agenda was a boat tour around the harbor with Harbor Cruises. I wonít sugarcoat it, this was terrible and waaaay overpriced. The tour left from the middle of nowhere, and was on a boat that is older than I am. It was worn-out, had no comfortable seating, and the guide seemed to be reading from a script which was either written poorly or wasnít well rehearsed. I got some nice views of the city from the water but overall not a good experience. The only cool thing was that the boat is Vancouver's only authentic paddlewheeler.


Harbor Cruise Paddlewheeler - Constitution

Next stop was to Granville Island. I walked around the island before my tour of Granville Island Brewing.  The ďislandí, which isnt actually an island, itís a peninsula, isnít really for me. Its full of small artisanal shops and and bars. Its basically a hipster town. There were some street performers which were fun, but other than that, the ďislandĒ was not to my liking.

The brewery tour was pretty cool. Granville Island Brewing (GIB) was Canadaís first Microbrewery and although they were bought by Molson they still produce at least one variety of beer on site. The tour itself was short, since the whole brewery could fit in my living room and dinning room, but after the tour you get to sample 3 beers. We got their classic Lager, False Creek Raspberry Ale, and Shipload of Hops Imperial IPA (which is made on site). My favorite was the Lager. Although Iím not such a beer guy, I do enjoy factory tours so it was cool, and who doesnít like free booze (for those of you who are thinking ďwell you paid for the tour so its not free,Ē I was gonna pay for the tour even without the samples so its free to me, go away).

I was pretty tapped (get it beer, tapped) and since I hadnít eaten lunch it was time to call it a day. I went back to the hotel, finally actually checked in and relaxed for the night.

The hotel is really nice, its the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, a category 3 Hyatt (12k/night) its very modern and is actually nicer than the Hyatt Regency I stayed at in Washington DC which was a category 4.  Two features stood out to me. One the elevators. You donít push the up or down button and then push the floor you need once inside. There is a screen by each elevator bank at which you select your destination and it tells you which elevator to go to.  As I mentioned earlier when I got the 10% rebate on my flight with the  Barclays AAdvantage Aviator, the Hyatt was my 2nd credit card related rebate of the trip. There was a promo for those who have the Chase Hyatt Visa, to get a 20% rebate on award stays through July 31, so I got back 2,400/night. I had paid for 2 nights with points and for the third night I used my anniversary night from the card.


Hyat Regency Vancouver Elevator System

The other interesting feature is the shower. The showerhead is built into the ceiling and comes down right on top of you. Iíve seen showerheads that from from the ceiling, but Iíd never seen one that comes out of holes in the ceiling.

Hyatt Regency Shower


Hyatt Regency Bed


Hyatt Regency TV and Desk


Hyatt Regency Lobby Vancouver Map
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline efflpetzel

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youre setting the bar pretty high for a first premium cabin. just FYI for future, you can book CX F with 30k MR into Asiamiles OW
any YQ?

Offline dpk4588

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Tuesday June 23, 2015
I started off Tuesday by picking up a rental from Thrifty. I had originally planned on getting a zipcar for my trip to Lynn Canyon Park, but then I decided that I if I rented a car for the day I could get lunch and dinner too. I picked up the car for under $40 CAD for the day, and headed towards the park. Once off the highway the GPS took me through some residential areas, and I was pretty sure I was going to the wrong place, but then I saw a bus that said Lynn Canyon Park, which eased my fears, and within minutes I was there.


Lynn Canyon Park

To be honest Iím really not an outdoors/nature guy, but I spent some time hiking in the park, and it was actually pretty amazing. My first time on the suspension bridge, I was petrified, with every step shaking the bridge, every step my heart skipped a beat. But by the time I reach the middle of the bridge I was fine (until I reached the top of the other side where it shakes a lot). Really worth the trip up there. I didnít go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but I hear itís not much better and isnít free so Iím ok with not having gone.


Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge


Lynn Canyon Park


Lynn Canyon Park


Lynn Canyon Park


After hiking I had worked up an appetite, and decided it was lunch time. I planned on going to Sabra Kosher, which according to their website has another restaurant Simons which is dairy. Apparently Simons, the dairy part is take out only, and since I knew I had exciting dinner plans I just went for a hot dog with fries. Which was good, not amazing, but a solid dog. The only weird thing was that the dog was thin so they gave me two in one bun.


Sabra Hot Dog & Fries

After lunch I was headed back to the waterfront, to checkout Canada Place. There is some stuff about the different provinces and cities across Canada, but the fun part was the simulator which takes you across Canada. Fly Over Canada is a flight simulation ride, which you cross Canada from East to West. While it was shorter than I expected, I enjoyed it.

Next I was back off to Granville Island for another Tour Guys free tour. This tour wasnít as good as the tour on Monday, and Iím not sure if it is because the tour guide wasnít as good or that I didnít like Granville Island as much. Granville Island has an interesting history. It was created originally as an industrial park and was originally called Industrial Island. After ups and downs of the great depression, and WWII, the industrial park ended up pretty much vacant and the spaces were repurposed as stores. As an homage to the history of the island, the outside of the structures were kept intact and just the insides were redone and made into stores, restaurants and bars. There are several pieces of industrial equipment which have been painted and were left around the island as ďpublic artĒ to remember the history of the island.

After the Granville Island tour I headed to Chinatown to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park (not the Gardens). It was pretty, but nothing too exciting to me, I spent 15 minutes walking around and I was done.


Dr Sun Yat Sen Park


Dr Sun Yat Sen Park

Dr Sun Yat Sen Park


Dr Sun Yat Sen Park


Then I spent a few minutes, walking around Chinatown, I didnít find it that interesting, just dirty. One cool thing I found was that on top of some of the street lamps they have dragons.


Chinatown Lampposts


After Chinatown I headed to Maple Grill for dinner. It looks very nice, and when I got there (around 6pm) it was literally empty. I was seated and was told that there were some new cocktails being offered but since I was driving I was unable to partake. :( I ordered a Maple BBQ Chipotle Burger with Sautťed Onions which came with fries, within 5 minutes it was in front of me. I donít know if theyíre normally fast or because I was the only one there, but it was nice not to have to wait too long. The burger was delicious and the fries were flakey just like they were at Sabra, I donít know if itís a Vancouver thing or just that these two places have the same fries. They were pretty good.


Maple Grill


Maple Grill - Maple BBQ Chipotle Burger with Sautťed Onions


After Maple Grill it was off to return the car and head back to the hotel for the night.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline ual902

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Very nice report and thanks for sharing.

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: The LA of Canada (Vancouver, BC) & The LA of the US (Los Angeles, CA)
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2015, 10:01:36 PM »
I noticed the same thing about the fries... They were good though. Also I disagree with you about the capellino suspension bridge. I did both and found the capellino one to be far superior. There is always next time...

Offline dpk4588

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Re: The LA of Canada (Vancouver, BC) & The LA of the US (Los Angeles, CA)
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2015, 11:01:56 PM »
Wednesday June 24, 2015
I began the day with the Vancouver Lookout. It was amazing the views of the whole city and beyond. Its cool to see things from above and be able to see the different styles of buildings across the city.  Since it was a clear day I was actually able to see Mt Baker, in Washington.  Its hard to see in the picture because youíre seeing the snow covered peaks with the clouds.


Greater Vancouver Mt. Baker-Vancouver Lookout

Next I was off to another ďTour GuysĒ tour of Granville Street & Gastown. I had the same guide as I had for the Granville Island tour, so I got to find out if it was Granville Island or her that I didnít like. The tour began with the Vancouver Art Gallery and she talked about how it used to be the courthouse, but when it outgrew the space, it was converted to an art museum. The architect who was hired to design the new courthouse wanted to build a 55-story concrete building but the people of Vancouver opposed that because they didnít want an eye sore like that in the middle of the city. What he did instead was put his design on its side and built the building along the ground instead of up. An interesting idea.

She told us that at one point the Granville Street area of Vancouver became a little too obsessed with neon lights and they were later banned from Vancouver.  In the 1920s Granville Street was the hot spot of Vancouver with the fancy theaters and restaurants, and when the depression hit, it became a sleazy place, and then was later revitalized to the place it is today. Walking around she talked about the history of some of the stores and then we went to Waterfront Station.

Vancouver really grew because of the presence of Canadian Pacific Railway which bring extra significance to the main train station. It was supposed to be modeled after Grand Central Terminal, but it was done on the cheap and doesnít even come close.

The other part of the tour was dedicated to Gastown which was the first part of Vancouver. It was created when a man named Jack Deighton told the workers of the saw mill in North Vancouver that anyone who helped build him a bar would get free whiskey. So it got built in 24 hours. As the oldest part of Vancouver, many buildings are historical landmarks and are protected, so if someone wants to expand they need to do it in a way that still shows the external facade of the building, and some interesting additions have been made. Overall a pretty good tour. Not as good as the first Tour Guys tour I did, but better than Granville Island.


Steam Clock - Gastown


Glass ďTemporaryĒ Building Between Two Old Buildings


Gassy Jack - Gastown

Back to the hotel to make lunch, and since I wasnít feeling great, I decided to relax and lie down for a while. That little while turned into the whole afternoon since I wasnít feeling any better so I decided to move my plans for Wednesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon and skip what i had originally planned for Thursday. I had originally planned on going to BC Place and the Tellus Science World. At least I have some things to do next time I come :)

For my evening activity I found a walking tour (sadly not free like Tour Guys), called Prohibition City. It was kinda corny, we were supposed to be reporters finding out information about all the illegal and illicit activities of the Vancouver underworld during the times of Prohibition. It was basically a historical tour of the area during prohibition.  Its worth noting, that almost everything Iíve done so far including the four tours, have heavily emphasized that especially in the beginning and even today, Vancouver is a town of drinkers, so it is interesting to see how that turned out during prohibition.

The Permanent building, which was a bank, was the target of several robberies especially during the depression. To deter robbery attempts the owners put a turret on top of the building and had a tunnel under the building from the vault to a building across the street so money could be moved during a robbery (if the guns werenít enough).


The Permanent - Original Bank

To end my night I went back to the Vancouver Lookout (it's an all day in & out admission) to watch the sunset. It was pretty amazing watching it set over the buildings then over the mountains to the west. Vancouver is surrounded by mountains, some closer than others but in every direction, you can see them.


Canada Place at Night - Vancouver Lookout


Vancouver Sunset-Vancouver Lookout


Vancouver Sunset-Vancouver Lookout

That was the end of my last "full" day in Vancouver. Not a bad way to end the day...
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline VacationLover

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Re: The LA of Canada (Vancouver, BC) & The LA of the US (Los Angeles, CA)
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2015, 12:13:31 AM »
Beautiful! Great TR

Offline sam28

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Re: The LA of Canada (Vancouver, BC) & The LA of the US (Los Angeles, CA)
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2015, 05:31:17 AM »
nice TR

Offline dpk4588

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Re: The LA of Canada (Vancouver, BC) & The LA of the US (Los Angeles, CA)
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2015, 02:57:57 PM »
Thursday June 25, 2015
This was my final day in Vancouver :( so I figured Iíd hit to of its biggest attractions.

I started off with Grouse Mountain. While Iím usually neurotic about planning my vacation i dropped the ball on this one. It turns out the shows at Grouse Mountain donít start until noon. So I missed the Birds in Motion show, but I was able to ride the chairlift (the first time Iíve ever done that since Iíve never gone skiing) and went up to the Eye of the WInd, which wasnít spinning because there wasnít enough wind.


Eye of the Wind


Grouse Mountain


Grouse Mountain from 215 Feet Up

Notice its in Canada (where they use the metric system), and it says that its 215 ft before it says 65 meters. Maybe its because 215 sounds more impressive than 65.

After going up to the Eye of the Wind I went to see the Grizzly Bears. For two gigantic bears who could probably rip me to shreds with ease, they were pretty cute.


Grizzly Bears - Grouse Mountain


Grizzly Bears - Grouse Mountain

Finally noon came around and I got to see the world famous Lumberjack show. I had read in Danís TR that they make a chair, and when I pictured it, what came out was not even close, but it was cute. The whole show was cute, I enjoyed it.


Lumberjack Show


Lumberjack Show


Lumberjack Show


Lumberjack Show


Lumberjack Show


Lumberjack Show ďCrazy GuestĒ

After the lumberjack show I headed back down the gondola and took the bus back to town, and went back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch I packed up checked out and took my stuff to the bell desk so I could head off to my last Vancouver activity, Stanley Park.

I went to Spokes Bicycle Rentals to rent a bike to ride around Stanley Park. They are the closest and provide a lock and helmet (others might provide those too, I donít remember).

In the park there are a number of things you can stop and enjoy, an aquarium, a mini railway, a pool, beaches and a number of spots where you can just pull over and gaze at the view.  They also have a section which has a number of First Nation Totem Poles.


Totem Poles in Stanley Park

Totem Poles in Stanley Park

By riding or walking around along the seawall around Stanley Park, you also get some interesting views of things. Such as the Lionsgate Bridge (the namesake for LionsGate Films), a Japanese figurehead, and a soccer jersey wearing mermaid.


Japanese Figurehead in Stanley Park


''Mermaid'' off Stanley Park


Down Under the Lions Gate Bridge in Stanley Park


It was a fun ride, itís the first time I had ridden a bike in almost 10 years, and good new, you donít forget how to ride! It gave me great views of the city, some exercise, and a horrible sunburn. I also rode along the seawall to the beginning (or end depending on how you look at it) at Canada Place.

I headed back to the hotel, to relax for a while and then headed off to YVR via the Skytrain.  Not as crowded (although more expensive than) the NYC subway it was a pretty short, inexpensive way to get from downtown to the airport.

I checked a bag (I had to pay :( damn AC!) and headed to security. YVR is a pre-clearing airport which means you go through US Customs in the Canadian airport, and the only other pre-clearing airport Iíve flown from was YYZ. IIRC, they do Customs before regular security, at YVR you do regular security first. This was my first time flying since I got Global Entry and I was excited to use it. I got on a priority security line, which only had 3 people in front of me, then I went to Customs which was a machine which took 2 mins, then off to the agent and I was done with the whole process in under 5 mins. Pretty awesome.

I used my Lounge Club membership (which I got from my Ritz Carlton card) to get into the Plaza Premium Lounge. Its small but nice. They do have free booze, but no single malt scotch so I had a Moulson, canít get much more Canadian than that. Sadly the lounge closes at 7 and my flight didnít board till 8, so I had to sit with the non-lounge people for a little while :(

The flight was on Air Canada Rouge, which I guess is their cheaper carrier, they wanted to charge me to pick my seat when I booked, so I said, Iíll sit wherever they put me, boy did that work out well. I ended up seated in a window seat the row behind the exit row, and on this plane there was no window seat in the exit row, so I had a whole row of leg room!


No Seat In Front of Me YVR-LAX

Other than my extra legroom, the flight was pretty uneventful, they donít have TVs (although there is a space in the seat-back which Iím not sure what its for, and there were no free snacks, They do have some on demand TV/movies which are available using the Air Canada app for Android or iPhone. I ended up sleeping most of the flight.

I landed got my bag and headed out for the shuttle to the Four Points at the airport. It was my 2nd time staying at an airport Four Points and while this one was better, it was still dated. It looked like they had replaced the furniture, but you could still see the old shades, and walls. The bathroom had something Iíd never seen before. It didnít have little soap, shampoo, & conditioner, it had large dispensers for them, which I kinda understand, because this way people canít take them and they donít get left half used, but it was annoying. As it was after midnight, I turned in for the night, excited to wake up for my first day in LA.


Four Points LAX Beds


Four Points LAX Desk-TV


Four Points LAX Shampoos
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein