Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge - 30th Dec 09

Today was an amazing day, perhaps one of my top 10 days since arrival in Vancouver. Cam had won some tickets to see the Christmas lights at Capilano suspension bridge. We had decided to go with Emily from work, as she was working around Christmas time, we planned to go on this evening for a friends Christmas Day.

The weather was pretty crappy today unfortunately but I think this added to the day in some way. We headed over to North Vancouver in the morning around 10am, initially we had decided to eat lunch up the mountain however it was booked out, so we went to another of our favourite winter/comfort restaurants, Burgoo. After another beautiful lunch here we caught the bus and went up the mountain. We decided to get an annual pass this time as we have now been here 2 times and pretty much would have made back our money by now. Anyway we jumped on sky-ride, its was raining down the mountain but as we got higher up it was snowing and quite heavy as well, it looked beautiful. They do sleigh rides up there, but these are sitting on a thing which is being towed by a tractor like thing, not very authentic but fun none the less.

Now it was snow fight and snow angel time, soooo much fun, even did a little woop woop woop Homer fun in the snow going round n circles, ah fun times being a kid. We walked around in the snow, this was pre snow-boots time and my feet were freezing and soaked, but it was well worth it. We headed up to the little cafe and sat down for a hot chocolate and beaver tail. A beaver tail is not actually from a beaver but this really nice, fried dough (pastry) type thing, covered in all sorts of things depending on what you feel like. I had a sugar and cinnamon one, delicious. Just beautiful, sitting on the top of a mountain in the snow drinking hot chocolate. Then it really started snowing and we decided to do some ice skating, well Emily and I ice skated and Cam watched again. It was so funny Emily was using the zimmmer frame (the type of frame the elderly use), very good when you are just learning though, she then left this behind and ventured out on her own, I thought she was pretty good for someone who has only done it a few times.

It was getting later, dark and really starting to snow now. We were all quite wet and getting cold so headed back down on the sky-ride, bound for Capilano Suspension Bridge. There weren't many people around which was nice, we got to take our time and walk around. It was really airy walking across the suspension bridge which is 70m high from the river below and 137m across, in the pitch black. When you look down you can only just make out the water and rocks below, it was also really quiet which made it more airy. We walked around for a while, looked at the lights twisted around up in the trees and then walked back across the bridge. Cam also won 2 tickets to try glass blowing. This is no easy thing, however we did have professionals there to try and fix the messes we were trying to make, well actually I don't think we did too bad they just had to help us out a few times. We got to keep the glass as well which was pretty cool. We had to hang around and wait for these to cool a bit so we sat round listening to the carol singers. As it was getting late and we were quite cold being wet, once we had our glass we headed back towards Vancouver.

On our way home we stopped for a quick drink and bite to eat at Doolins. What a fantastic fun filled day!!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas 2009 - 24th Dec - 27th Dec

So this year we were very excited about Christmas time, there is just something about North America and how they celebrate Christmas, there are lots of lights all over the place and fun events to go to. Well not so much at Christmas time but prior to Christmas as you may have seen in the last blog.

I finished work at 7am on Christmas eve and Cam finished at lunch time which gave me a short time to have a sleep while Cam was working. He managed to get home a little earlier which was nice, we checked skype to see if any family were online, however being Christmas Day in New Zealand I think everyone was having a good time and no one was there to chat. It was a beautiful day in Vancouver, a little chilly however the sun was out so we made the most of it and headed down to False Creek on the waterfront and went for a walk. It was beautiful and there were plenty of people out enjoying the sunshine.

This evening we had been invited to Paula's house (a friend from work), to spend the evening with her family for dinner. After a quick chat with family we headed out to Paula's, with a Kiwi Pavlova in tow. Paula went and picked up Emily from work while Cam, Chris (Paula's husband) and their 2 girls watched some old fashioned Tom and Jerry, wow what a blast from the past. We feasted on roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, and veges accompanied by a few drinks. Not to forget doing the North American thing and opening a present from each other. It was such a great evening and nice to be surrounded by great company, especially with other family and friends so far away.

The next day of course was CHRISTMAS DAY!! We got up pretty early at 6.30am, well early considering we had no younger children around. It looked like it was going to be another beautiful day in Vancouver, actually the forecast for the rest of Christmas looked pretty good. We turned on all our Christmas lights and sat down to the Jordan family tradition of Croissants and orange juice, unfortunately we forgot to get out the eggnog we had bought, oh well maybe next year, still haven't tried it yet. Anyway next we sat down and opened up a few presents from santa before opening several more presents while skyping the McConnochie's. Our pile of wrapping paper looked quite impressive for 2 people, however as that pile got higher the present pile got lower :( Thank you everyone for all your gifts and not too mention the chocolate we received, I think we'll be eating this for several months, we pretty much have a one shelf in the fridge and one shelf in the cupboard full of Chocolate, not that I'm complaining YUM!!

We decided the weather outside was too nice to be sitting inside for the rest of the day so headed out ice skating, well I did some ice skating and Cam just watched/video'd the fun. This was probably my 2nd or 3rd time Ice skating and considering this I thought I did pretty well. I did have to hold on to the rail for several trips around, but never fell over so thats a bonus. Cam went to do some videoing somewhere else which gave me the opportunity to pick up some snow to surprise him with on the next trip round, ah don't think I ever get tired of snow fights. It was a bit busy to really feel comfortable but by the end I didn't have to hold onto the rail, until next time...

We were lucky enough to be invited around to Mel's (a person from work) house for Christmas dinner. She is from Ontario and invited a group of people who don't have family or know a lot of people in Vancouver around to her house for dinner. She had cooked up a huge turkey and veges and everyone bought something along to share. It was a huge feast!! there was soooo much stuff left over that Mel had to give stuff to everyone to take home. It was a beautiful meal and time to spend with new friends. Everyone headed off reasonably early, as some had to work the next morning. Cam and I didn't drink too much as we were off early to Whistler in the morning, how ever we did stick around to play some board games with Emily, Mel and another person who's name I forget. As always we were one of the last ones to leave but it wasn't too late after all. Overall a great first Christmas day in a different country.

We were wishing for a white Christmas in Vancouver however once we realised that wasn't going to happen we had to go and find the snow ourselves. We booked a night in Whistler and headed there early on Boxing Day morning. This was our first visit in Whistler in the Winter, the trip up there was just amazing. There was snow and icicles in the trees and the sun was shining, we couldn't have picked a better day to travel on the sea to sky highway. We took our snowboards with us but once we got to Whistler and had brunch it was already midday or so, price of a pass vs amount of time on the snow was the decision, we decided it was going to cost too much for the amount of time we were going to get so the snowboarding would have to wait till another time. A very tough decision to make.

We headed up to the tube park on the mountain instead. Imagine going flying down the mountain on a large plastic tube, kind of like a sea biscuit. It was awesome!! They push you from the top and you go down either straight or they make you spin around, the track is calved into the snow. I felt like a little kid again, great fun!! We headed back to our hotel after this for a nice swim in the spa pools, theres something about sitting in a spa, with snow surrounding the spa pool, where its freezing cold outside and your toasty and warm in the pool. The only downside is having to get out. Unfortunately we had to do this at some point, so thought we would head out for dinner, can't remember where we went but I'm sure it was nice anyway. Another great day.
Th 27th we just chilled, slept in and then went for brunch. We got the earlier bus back to Vancouver as Cam was going round to someones house from his work for a boys night of Ice Hockey and pizza. The Canucks won that night in a good game. The end to an awesome 4 days over Christmas, back to work for me tomorrow and more holidays for Cam.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Lights and leading up to Christmas - 14th Dec - 20th Dec

Well the week and a half leading up to Christmas was mostly full of food, drinking and looking at Christmas lights with a few days of work for me and normal days working for Cam. That's ok though as he gets 11 days off over Christmas and New Year.

Monday 14th I headed over to North Vancouver with Emily to meet Paula who picked us up from the sea bus. We headed up towards her house which is near Edgemont village in North Vancouver. This is a really neat little village full of cute little stores great for finding gifts and unique stuff you can't find in other places. Somewhere I will have to remember, to pick up special birthday gifts and other gifts. We sat down for a coffee here and then headed round to Paula's house for a look. It was very exciting as had been snowing the week before that and there was snow around this area on the ground as its higher up and closer to the mountains. There is something about walking around a rural community, up near the mountains with snow all over the ground. Emily and I were jumping up and down in the snow as it crunched underneath us. After this we headed to one of my favourite restaurants, Burgoo, this place is great in winter, it just feels so homely and cosy. Full of comfort food. A nice relaxing day with friends.

This evening Cam and I headed to a Canucks Hockey game, tickets care of someone from his work. My second hockey game and Cam's third, however my first NHL game. To be honest it was a great game and the Canucks won but as Cam mentioned in one of our other blogs, not as good I thought as the Giants (minors) game that we had seen about a week or so before. People just didn't seem as into it as they were for the other game. Think I will still have to go to another one before I make up my mind though. I'm sure it could be better depending on who is playing and what they are playing for, this game was near the beginning so it may get more exciting.

Tuesday evening we decided to head out for some drinks at our local Doolins, was just going to be a few drinks and then we were going to head home for dinner. Emily, Cam and I decided that we couldn't be bothered cooking dinner so we all headed to Sanafir, a Tapa restaurant on Granville Street. This place was great and I can't believe we haven't seen it before. When we arrived the lady at the door said "sorry but we only have a bed available". We were like, "what do you mean a bed?" She said "you haven't been here before have you?" So we headed up the stairs to find that when she said bed this was actually what she meant, so we sat on a bed with net curtains around it and everything and shared a selection of Tapas, it was a very unique and fun experience.

Friday the 18th we headed to Stanley Park to look at the lights that they set up annually for Christmas. We walked around and looked at the lights, listened to singers/musicians singing Christmas carols and looked at the animals, luckily we managed to get a ticket on the train just in time, as it sold out not long after. This turned out to be well worth the money, the train ride goes for 15 minutes all through the forest area with lights, actors and music all the way around. It was very festive and nice to see children running around the place. I only wish they would do more of this sort of thing in New Zealand, really make you excited for Christmas, as I was of course already, for some reason more than normal.

On the Saturday we went to do some more shopping at one of the malls in Vancouver, for some work shirts I think for Cam, can't really remember now. All I know is that we came back with a few things each. This evening we headed for a walk down to false creek to look at the lights along the waterfront which was really nice, we headed down toward English bay and stopped for a drink at a pub down there, then walked down Denman Street and toward Canada Place to look at the light show that was supposed to be happening there. We think that maybe we were too late as it wasn't really doing anything, just different colours. Still a nice evening stroll, its just so beautiful down there at night time with the lights reflecting on the water.

The Sunday was a wet day so what better to do than to go to the Maritime Museum. It was quite interesting actually. So far I have really enjoyed all of the educational places we have been to. Here you get to go on an old boat called St Roch which has been restored, it used to be used by the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) AKA The Mounties, to serve as a supply ship for isolated arctic RCMP detachments. It was quite fun to walk around the ship and see the small confinements that the people used to sleep and live in for days on end. Think they would get to know each other pretty well in these sort of conditions. A good way to spend a rainy day.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Giants Game 9th Dec

Through one of my work mates I was able to score a couple of free tickets to see the Vancouver Giants play Chilliwack Bruins. This was Rach`s first Canadian Ice Hockey game... and she was lucky to get there. The bus out to the Coliseum has a stop at the West and East end of one street, Rach wanted the east end... but got off the bus at the west end. Being still a few kilometres from the coliseum she had to wait 15 minutes for the next bus to arrive. She eventually made it 15 minutes before puck drop, just enough time to grab some food and find our seats - We ended up in nice seats, about half way up, right on half way.

Rach and I both found the Giants to be a more genuine Hockey experience. Sure the players on the ice weren't playing to the same standard but the crowd was there to support and enjoy the game. The result was great too, the Giants won it 5 nil.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Chirstmas Preaparations. December 2 - 6

Given it was now December and we could see Christmas lights going up in apartments around us we decided we should do some decorating ourselves. For obvious reasons we didn't bring a lot of decorations with us from NZ so on Wednesday night we did a trip out to Canadian Tire (For Kiwis - Its like a Warehouse with a Repco attached, and yes, they spell tyre wrong). After spending just under $100 we had a small tree, lights and some decorations. We spent the rest of the evening blasting terrible Christmas music and decorating the apartment. We were very happy with the results.

Thursday night we decided to appreciate someone else's work and went to the waterfront and back through town enjoying all the Christmas lights setup around the city. The large Christmas tree in front of the art gallery was great, especially with the lights on the Fairmont Hotel in the background.

With decorations up the only thing left to do was shopping. Fortunately we had an early start on this sending things back to NZ with Rach in November. Rach carried on with the shopping both Thursday and Friday, I however, had to wait for the weekend - and the chaos that involves.

On Saturday Rach's work had their Christmas party. 80 Doctors and Nurses took over Chivana Restaurant and Lounge in Kits. The food was great, the place was great. There were a lot of prize draws; a lot of the management staff and doctors had donated the prizes. Rach did well and got a basket full of chocolate, it's going to take us a long time to get through it all. I think everyone had a fantastic night.

On Sunday Rach managed to get an LOA (Leave of absence) from work so we decided to take a break from all the Christmas festivities and head up Grouse Mountain for some snowboarding. We got there early afternoon and stayed till afterdark. The sunsets are spectacular from up there and view while night snowboarding is breathtaking...

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Back to New Zealand!! 19th Nov - 26th Nov

So I was supposed to work a night shift on the Wednesday finishing at 7am, flying out of Vancouver at 2.30pm that day. Turns out I was able to get the night off and therefore was able to pack, spend the night with Cam and get a good nights sleep before my travelling adventures the next day.

19th November was flying day. Cam said goodbye and headed off to work, I was so excited and worried about travelling and getting to all my connecting flights that I couldn't sleep anymore. Thought I may as well get up and get ready for my long travel. As flights only go direct to NZ on Fridays and Sundays I had to get a flight to LA and then on to New Zealand. So packed and ready to go I carted my 2 suitcases, 6 or so blocks down the road in the rain to the train station. I couldn't quite hold the umbrella as well, so got a little bit wet on the way. I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so could go through to the gate and relax for a while. I had all my bridesmaid stuff with me as carry on, as the wedding was the day I arrived and wanted to have it with me in case my luggage didn't make it all the way there.

Anyway I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand with smooth travelling. I got my connecting flight to Tauranga and arrived there about half an hour prior to time of arrival, feeling very excited and relieved to be there early. Mum, Dad and Carlene picked me up from the airport and we headed to the supermarket before heading home to start the getting ready part of the day. After a series of hugs, hellos and conversation I was able to have a small rest and seat before getting ready for the day. Vanessa's friends were here to help out and do our hair and makeup. Vanessa was in the process of getting her hair done so I took a long awaited shower. Its amazing how great you can feel after a shower. Then lunch and I felt even better. After this it was my turn for my hair to be done and makeup time for Vanessa. The morning continued to consist of getting ready, eating and taking photos.

With a near hiccup of not being able to get one of the cars started we headed off in the cars for a tour around to end up at the wedding venue (fashionably late of course!!). The venue was a small park called Bell Common down Cambridge road, very secluded and beautiful under one of the big trees. As I hadn't been home to be involved in the planning I was given my instructions once we arrived. Fairly straight forward except for the heals digging into the grass of course and nearly tripping over. The wedding was beautiful and the weather held out nicely for it, I have heard that the best photos are when its overcast anyway.

After speeches, vows and several tears shed they were pronounced married, after the register was signed it was time for some well earned drinks, nibbles and chatter (not to forget a little dancing with the flower girls). People gathered for several photos and then after an hour or so the bridal party was left for more photos at the park. We then headed off to Yatton park for more photos, some drinks and nibbles. It was a very relaxing and stress free time here, luckily the weather held out once again, just starting to spit as we hopped back into the cars.

The reception was held at The Historic Village which made for a beautiful venue for photos. Well actually a great venue all together. The reception went as most others including, food, speeches, laughter and toasts to the bride and groom, Vanessa and Jarrod Boud. With of course an evening of dancing, chit chat and presents. A great day and evening, everything went beautifully and appeared very calm and relaxed. Congratulations once again to the bride and groom.

The bride and groom headed off after the end of the reception curfew, and a few of us decided to continue the night away and headed off to Tauranga town for some drinking and dancing. Man how things have changed, well have they or have I just changed?? I'm sure people never used to do some of the things these young people were doing on the dance floor, I mean get a room, I think your in!! Haha maybe I'm just getting older. Still made for a fun and entertaining night.

Sunday morning I was stuffed, don't know if it was wise flying half way around the world, being at a wedding all day the same day I arrive and staying up till 4.30 in the morning, oh well it was worth it. Sunday was a cruisy day anyway, we lazed around at mum and dads, visitors and relatives came over for lunch and we sat around talking. Most people had left around 3-4pm and just a few of us remained. We headed off that evening to baywave for some hydro-sliding and wave pools. This was great and even more fun when you have young children to take with you, even if you are a little tired and hungover. Think I'm going to be a great Aunty!! Well not the hungover part.

Monday was such a beautiful day and involved several of my favourite things. Mum borrowed Joan's car. We all pilled in including Carlene, Mum, Nicola, Tyler, Hollie, Lochie and myself and headed out to the Mt beach to meet Vanessa and Jarrod for fish and chips on the beach. The day was just stunning except for the small amount of wind. We sat on the bank and had fish n chips, Dad met us briefly in his lunch break also. After this Jarrod entertained the kids down on the beach, while the rest of us basked in the sun. I did go for a swim, well briefly the water was quite cold, well I guess to be expected in November, still can say I had a swim though. We packed up after this and headed to the mount shops and bayfair for a little shopping, well mainly for the kids, I didn't spend too much, except a few Christmas things.

This evening I headed to Cam's parents house for a nice home cooked meal. It was great to catch up with the rest of the family and have a glass of wine. Unfortunately I couldn't see them a little more but the trip was quite brief, I'll be able to spend more time next trip I promise.

After this we went to the hot pools for an evening swim, we didn't have much time arriving at 9pm but it was still great, its the small things you realise you miss being able to just do when ever you want. They have hot springs over here in Canada but just not as accessible. You do trade one thing for another I guess. Makes the experience so much better when you can't have it all the time. It was such a great day, so many great things all mixed into one, family, beach, fish n chips, swimming and fun!!

Tuesday Carlene, Nicola and the kids were leaving. It was sad to see them go, had been so nice catching up with you all. We dropped them all off at the airport and after some sad goodbyes waved them off on the plane. Now that you are over you flying fear Carlene I'm sure we'll be able to see you more. I headed out for lunch and a catch up with Jo, today was another beautiful day and hot, Jo was even wearing a skirt and yes I got to witness it. We had lunch and a catch up on the strand at a restaurant, was very nice thanks Jo. After this I went home and had a rest on the couch in the sun, it had been such a busy last few days and I think it was starting to catch up on me. Trina, Jamie and Alexis came over for a visit on their way home from a walk, we sat out on the deck and ate some snacks and had a few drinks. Lucky we had, had some children here over the last week so and there were still some kids toys available for Alexis to play with, she is growing fast and so cute. Was great to see you all again, can't wait to catch up next time.

Wednesday was a relaxing day with Mum, we headed down town Tauranga to do some Christmas shopping and to have lunch, another beautiful day out, I had been so lucky with my time there, the weather and company had been awesome. We cruised around the shops and sat down for a lunch in a cafe, I got to have a pie which was great. I sat in the car for a little while, while mum got some Christmas presents then we headed home. Blair and Dee came over for dinner that night with Jordan, as well as Vanessa and Jarrod and we had a nice roast meal, just what I needed on my last night here, it was yum!!

Today was leaving day, it had been such a short and action packed trip home I wasn't quite ready to leave. I wrapped up some presents this morning and packed my bags, I wasn't very organised at all, very unlike me, I think I thought I had more time than I did, I only just finished packing my bag with about 10 minutes to spare before we had to leave. We headed off to Tauranga airport. Here I was met by Dad and to my surprise Cam's mum and Alley which was nice. Even though it was still hard, it was easier to leave this time well easier in the fact I didn't ball my eyes out haha. I said my goodbyes and boarded the plane.

My trip back to Vancouver when without delays or problems, my connections worked out fine and if anything the timings were perfect, I did have to wait at Auckland airport for several hours but that was ok as there was an A380 that had stopped so I went and took some videos of that for Cam and his new obsession with planes. I finally boarded the plane and to my surprise it wasn't that full and I got 3 seats to myself which was awesome, got to rest the whole way with my feet up, not that I could sleep much anyway.

I arrived in Vancouver about 5.30pm about and hour before I left New Zealand, so funny how that works, caught the train and Cam meet me at the station to help pull my bags, how nice!! Over all a fantastic trip, beautiful weather and company. So glad I could be there for your special day Vanessa and Jarrod!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Tickets to NZ and Christmas Shopping - 1st Nov - 18th Nov

These few weeks consisted mainly of me getting ready to head back to New Zealand, buying wedding stuff for Vanessa's wedding and buying Christmas presents to take home. It consisted mostly of spending lots of money, but it was fun!!

The second of November I booked my flights to New Zealand for my fleeting 6 days in New Zealand and 3 days flying trip. Even though it was for a short amount of time I was looking forward to it and had already begun counting down the days till I flew out.

On the Tuesday Cam got to go to his first Canucks game at GM place. Apparently it was pretty awesome. I'm guessing it will be the first of many games if possible. Its funny that in this sport there are rules on how you can fight and fighting is actually allowed. Makes for good entertainment according to Cam. I think it just give boys a chance to compensate for something they may be missing. Can't wait for my first game.

The 6th of November we decided to have a Canadian engagement party with some of the friends we had made over here. We headed down to the Lions pub for a few drinks before heading down to the waterfront to a beautiful restaurant which over looks the harbour, Stanley park and North Vancouver called Carderos. It was a lovely evening celebrating our engagement with great food, drinks, friends and conversation.

On the 7th, Lauren, a girl from work was celebrating her birthday at a nice little restaurant in Kits. We decided to head there for a few quiet drinks after having dinner at home. Well a few quite drinks turn into several loud drinks, which turned into a great night of fun and laughter. Really glad we made the effort to go out, had a great evening.

Saturday 7th through to Sunday 9th of Nov, mostly consisted of Christmas shopping, I figure as I will be going home I may as well utilize the 2 baggage thing and save on postage by taking all my presents home. On the Sunday I also found my bridesmaid dress which was very exciting as I thought it was perfect and didn't take too long to find. I just hope it fits in at the wedding with everyone else.

Not much else to share up to the 18th of Oct as the majority of our spare time, when I wasn't working, consisted of Christmas shopping. Its hard to believe we hadn't even reached December and had pretty much completed all of our shopping. I feel I am going to be quite organised this year for a change.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Mostly work and a few drinks and dinners!! 19th Oct - 31st Oct

Well not too much to report for the rest of October. A few birthdays, dinner, drinks and our family having an engagement party for us.

Happy Birthday to all of those who celebrated in October. 10th Oct - Happy Birthday Emily. 16 Oct - Happy Birthday Trina. 20th Oct - Happy Birthday Tobi. 23rd Oct - Happy Birthday Anna. 24th Oct - Happy Birthday Mum. Although we weren't there to celebrate with all of you, we were thinking of you all.

October 23rd was Anna's birthday, a new friend we have meet here in Canada. Anna is from Ireland. We headed out for dinner and then on to our local (Doolins) for a few drinks. Dinner was very nice, we went to a little Thai place in Yaletown. The night got a little messy for some with a few too many drinks and the icing of a muffin all over someones dress as they sat down in it. So a nice dinner, a few drinks and a birthday cake later we headed to Doolins. Unfortunately there was a cover charge and with me having to work at 7am the next morning, I headed home.

Once home we went on skype to chat to our families who were having an engagement party on our behalf, thanks guys. It appears they were celebrating quite well, it is good to know however that even before we are married our families get on quite well. We'll be home in May to celebrate as well with our engagement party (further details to come).

The 30th October Emily, Anna, Cam and myself headed out to a sushi restaurant in Kits. According to them the sushi was beautiful, however my taste buds don't quite understand this. The place however was very bubbly, fun and I did enjoy the atmosphere. After this we were looking for somewhere to have a few drinks however the place we had found wasn't quite the right kind of place so we headed back to our local Doolins. Cam and I headed off about midnight as once again I had to work at 7am, Emily and Anna continued the night away drinking.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

A grand surprise!! 17th Oct - 18th Oct

So we had this weekend off. I was trying to plan something the weekend before for this weekend but was having difficulty trying to find a hotel or somewhere to stay. I decided to give up and have a look the following night, however Cam told me that night not to worry that he had sorted the weekend and it was a surprise weekend away. This was very exciting, I love surprises but don't like them at the same time. I mean its nice to be surprised but then you constantly want to know what is going to happen, where you are going to go and what you are going to do there.

Anyway we had to get up super early (I think about 4.45am) on the Saturday morning to catch whatever form of transport we were getting, I had it in my head that we were going on a bus as we were going to the bus station, turns out we were getting a train. I had found out by this time that we were going to Seattle, which on its own was very exciting. Anyway we were lucky that we managed to make the train on time. First of all we saw a car accident, well actually we didn't see one, but we certainly heard it and nearly missed the bus. Then the bus that we got on was supposed to drop us off at a stop were we could get the next bus but apparently that bus wasn't coming this morning. So we decided to get a taxi instead, don't quite know why we didn't do this in the first place, hindsight huh great concept.

So we arrived at the bus depot right on time, after all the formalities of customs etc, we boarded our train in business class. It was exciting first time on a train in ages and first time from one country to another and we were in business class. Turns out economy may have been better haha, it appeared Cam and I had the only seats in the entire business class that were ok, everyone else seemed to be disappointed with everything and anything, ah snobs. We thought it was fine, more room, money off the cafe foods and only a little bit more expensive. We were to find out on the way back the best part of being in business class but I'll share that later.

We didn't get to see too much on our journey to begin with as it was dark and rainy. Throughout the journey the weather started to clear up and we could actually see a bit of the coastline, its quite a nice view. We arrived in Seattle just before lunch time and caught a taxi to our hotel, The Sheraton. It was very fancy and we were on the 32nd floor (I think) with a beautiful view to the space needle and some of the city, we were facing North westish. We even had special access to the club lounge and continental breakfast.

We decided to dump our bags down and go for lunch and a walk through the city. We headed down to the famous fish market, didn't really know what to expect actually, but mostly there are all sorts of stalls selling all sorts of things and then some fish stands.

We sat at a diner there over looking the water and had some lunch. After this we weren't too sure what to do so we headed back to the hotel to go for a swim in the pool on the 35th floor with awesome views. When then only really had enough time to get ready to go out for a few drinks and dinner. I didn't know where we were heading for dinner so just followed Cam. We went to this really nice french restaurant over looking the water, I don't know what it was but I think something to do with women's intuition, and I started to get suspicious about certain things, not sure what or why but I was. We finished up with our meal and headed out for a walk.

We wandered down towards the markets over looking the water. Cam started taking photos of the 2 of us and now I was really starting to get suspicious. It had been raining quite a lot that day so he got down on one knee in the puddles and popped the question. As most of you will probably know by now I said yes. So now we have joined the majority of our friends and are now engaged. It was a wonderful, romantic surprise. Also the beginning of a night of drinking and dancing to celebrate.

                          View from where he popped the question.

We decided to head out to a few pubs/nightclubs to have a few or several drinks to celebrate and ended up staying out for some time dancing and drinking. It was a great evening/night out in Seattle and I'm sure one I will always remember.

Then next day we didn't have any particular plans other than to go up the space needle. We couldn't come to Seattle and not go up this. After having a long sleep in, we went for continental breakfast which was awesome, lots of bagels, toast, fruit, yogurt, slices and pastries. A real continental American breakfast, shame about the crappy coffee. Anyway after this we stored our luggage and headed to the monorail, which transports you straight to space needle. The views from the top were amazing, we didn't have the best weather but better than the day before and there were actually some blue sky moments. I like the way you don't have to take photos through glass up the top of this tower, means you can get some nice photos.

Where the space needle is, was the site of the 1962 Worlds' fair, there is still rides and stalls underneath the needle. None of these were open when we were there. We found this cool fountain though which provided entertainment for a while. The water squirted out of it but you didn't know where, when and how far it would come out. The children found it very amusing and ended up getting soaked. I shouldn't lie I guess, we found it quite amusing also.

We had a few more hours to kill in Seattle before heading back to Vancouver. We decided to head to EMP (Experience Music Project) and Science Fiction Museum. Both very cool museums to visit especially when it comes to music and Seattle. Its basically all about music and pays particular attention to some Seattle born greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam and Nevana. It also has areas where you can play some music, listen to music, listen to people involved in music and some music artifacts. A place I would recommend for those who enjoy music and science fiction (or even if you don't like science fiction).

Now it was about time to head back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and head to the bus station. We decided to stop for dinner on the way back, after taking one last trip on monorail. Unfortunately we didn't get to see much on the train ride back as it was dark as well. We decided to try and get some sleep as I had to work in the morning. Now being in business class works the best once you arrive back in Vancouver, as they keep all of the economy class inside the train while business class can head out and through customs. Which meant we were pretty much at the front of the queue, awesome.