You may have noticed that there was no blog yesterday. I sort of assumed that nobody would be too interested in the family visit part of our winter escape, however I have been inundated with requests to keep the story rolling. Actually, that may just be a slight exaggeration, but I’m going to try to write something every day or so anyway.
We arrive in Vancouver a couple of hours late on Saturday night as a consequence of the comedy of errors described last time. Immigration is smooth, and joy of joys, both of our checked bags eventually come crashing and rolling on to the luggage carousel. As we emerge from the inner sanctum of the arrivals area we pretend not to notice the tall grey haired gent waving his arms like a cheerleader at the cricket – looks like Murray and Jenny made it too. David, Kirsty and Kai are there as well and soon we all do the modern version of the old game “how many people plus luggage can you pack into one car?”
Next morning it’s up early so we can take Murray and Jenny to the depot to catch their bus to Seattle and their Alaskan cruise. I casually mention to Jenny that people who fly into a country one evening and then leave by land early the next morning are likely to get some “special attention” at the border crossing. We check that they have the numbers for both the Canadian and US consulates, just in case of course, and then pop them onto the bus. I’m a bit surprised that they don’t look more relaxed as they head off, must just be jet lag.
It’s now hot. Every day for the last week or so we have been wishing the weather would be just a little warmer, and the skies just a little bluer. Now we have reached Canada and guess what – heat wave, blue skies and scorching sun. Apparently the global financial crisis has bitten harder in the northern hemisphere than it has down under, and collectively they can only afford for summer to happen in one spot at a time. It’s currently Canada’s turn, with temps reaching 38C in some places.
Canadian homes are designed to keep the heat in, not out, so we decide to head to the newly opened Target store to soak up someone else’s air conditioning. I’m a bit surprised that people who live within five minutes of a Walmart that’s slightly bigger than Tasmania can still get excited about a new store. Yep, it’s got carts, aisles, check-outs – must be a girl thing. Eventually the thrill wears off so we head home to regroup before heading to – you guessed it – the markets!
To be fair, the Chinese night markets at Richmond are pretty famous, however two of us are already a little tired when we head out around 9:00pm. It’s really busy when we arrive and join the queue of eager bargain hunters waiting for admission. Then, I’m hit with a massive moral dilemma. The young man at the entry asks “are you a senior Sir?” I look around to be sure he’s talking to me. OK, do I say no and keep my self-esteem, or say yes and save the two-dollar entry fee? (Like for yes – share for no – do nothing if you don’t want world peace or whatever). It appears that the only things for sale are sparkly phone cases, novelty socks and “genuine” watches and sunglasses imported direct from Itelly and Germonny. The crowd is still streaming through the gates when we pull stumps around 11:00pm and head back home.
We climb into bed about the time we would have been having breakfast in Ireland. It’s still hot, but we’ve had a good day.