venturing out…

by Anne

It is August 22nd in South Africa as we venture out of our comfort zone, traveling 16,433kms, as the crow flies, from Cape Town International Airport to visit our children.

0000Hugo – the before photo. We are allowed 2 bags each, one each packed with camping equipment.

0000aQatar Air movie addict – the movies certainly do shorten the trip!

August 23rd.
We had an 8hr layover in Doha for which we were very generously allocated a 5-star hotel room. After some struggle to locate the desk at the airport that would organize our hotel, to waiting for visas to be issued, to finding our hotel host who anxiously tried for a couple of hours to coax the hotel bus into picking us up, to a false start with the lift up to the 11th floor (you don’t jump in with others without tapping in your floor number BEFORE entering the lift) and fumbling around in the dark to find the lights (the card activates the lights in a slot at the door – yep, country bumpkins, that’s us) we finally found ourselves in our room wondering about the lunacy of it all. It is 02h40. We freshen up with a hot shower, set 2 alarms and crawl into the giant bed. I must be very relaxed because I fall asleep instantly, dead to the world for the one whole hour left of our 8 hrs before heading out again.
The day is just dawning as we make our way back to the airport, gasping, wide-eyed, as we pass extraordinary architectural wonders, one after another. The humidity smacks us in the face as we emerge from the bus.

waiting for visas in Doha

taxis… but no, our bus is NOT there… 0001c0001d
sunrise0001f0001 camera misted up instantly

August 24th.
We flew from Doha to Dallas (it’s the USA!) where we had to collect our bags to do the whole customs thing before popping them back on the conveyor belt for bags going through to the next destination, by which time our connecting flight to Vancouver had departed without us. A frantic dash saw us on a plane to Vancouver via Calgary without our bags or a means of letting the children know that 3 flights had not been not enough for us so we had opted for a 4th!

0001gCalgary airport and the 2 starving souls will eat anything by now

Finally, just before midnight we spot 2 welcoming faces waiting for us at the very pleasant terminal in Vancouver, catch some much needed sleep (well one of us does; the other is still wide awake stuck in SA time, a very sunny 10am) and then, well after dawn, set out on foot to acquaint ourselves with the neighborhood.
One of us sleeps the afternoon away while waiting for our bag delivery. And then we drop B and G off in the city for a meeting. This means Hugo must hit the rush hour traffic on the wrong side of the road for the first time. Never has stand still traffic been more welcome! After missing too many turn-offs, I switch on the GPS for the speedy recalculate and I get the voice inside it to do the talking. I am done.

the City Square – just down the road from B and G’s flat, a quick and easy walk away0002b
Shopping to buy towels – I forgot to pack our First Ascent towels bought specially for this trip!
Canada Tire quickly becomes our landmark. The main streets are busy and noisy, but as soon as the traffic lights change it becomes dead quiet. This is because the side roads are small and peaceful and very beautifully lined with gorgeous trees.0002c
B and G’s flat – Hugo up ahead with our trolley bag for shopping- people walk everywhere here, the old and disabled too, with walkers or wheelchairs, on their own.0002d
navigating the city0002
Lion’s Bridge where lanes are blocked off one way or another to accommodate rush hour traffic0002f
Stanley Park is nothing like I expected – so many trees! This road goes straight through it and even the cyclists speed past us!0002gThe Waterfront from Granville Bridge as the sun sinks and our first day winds down.