Photos: 1) Spring has (tried to be) sprung on the North Shore ... but might have suffered with the recent plunging temps. 2) Beach love in Ambleside in the early morning. 3) Nemo whizzing past some peculiar looking coral-ish stuff at the Vancouver Aquarium. 4) Dear Sea Otter, Thanks for making me smile today. Love, Alexis. 5) Sunset reflections in Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains as seen from Mo's place. The tiny building with the rounded roof at the bottom of the photo (left of middle) is her former school.
There were a few things I wanted to accomplish on this trip. To me, this isn't a typical vacation. Wait - do I ever take typical vacations? Regardless, as I've mentioned before, this time out here is of the reflective kind, a time to reminisce and learn to accept a rather significant change a little more so that I can keep moving forward. That being said, I wanted to spend some time alone with my thoughts and happy memories in some of my happy places out here. Today is that day.
Up early as usual, I start with a nice slow stroll along the seawall, east toward Ambleside. It's pretty cold out this morning (cold for Vancouver) so I've got my travel mug with tea in it for warmth. The sun's coming out over the bridge (SUN! in VANCOUVER!!) and I stop to look at things along the way. I love exploring beaches. They have so much cool stuff on them. I see a few mosaics that I haven't noticed before, and I spot Mr. Heron floating on a log offshore. I usually see him poking around at low tide, but the tide is in right now. Joggers and energetic walkers pass me at a torrid pace. Normally, I move at that same pace, but not this morning. I stop to take photos and eventually I get to "Come When You're Called Park" (can you tell we were naughty grandchildren who didn't listen well?) where I think about all the fun times we had playing here.
I find some smoothed beach glass and tuck it safely in my pocket. I examine cool pebbles and photograph some neat kelp. I briefly watch a man doing tai chi and remember that my grandma did tai chi in the mornings. I poke around the community gardens and find signs of spring with little flowers showing. I wander my way back to the apt and soon it's time to head over The Bridge! to Vancouver.
My first stop is another happy place: the Vancouver Aquarium. My favourite part are the sea otters because they're cute, furry and make me smile even when I'm feeling a little sad like today. I'm lugging around a bundle of flowers in a bucket as a thank you to my friend who is having me for dinner later, but I talk the girl at the desk into letting me leave them there for a few hours.
I wander around the Aquarium for a few hours, taking lots of photos, watching a few shows and just feeling better. The sea otters make me smile, the dolphins make me laugh, and the belugas make me want to visit the Arctic some day. The frog exhibit is still here, but some yummy mummy with a very loud voice (who knows everything) is annoying so I detour to the Pacific Coast section until she moves on. I find the jellyfish which is nice since I missed them last time. Oh look, an octopus! I overhear a volunteer saying that the previous octopus is in the nursery with her babies. I guess having 8 arms will help her care for them. I see the sea turtle swim overhead and I think of my Mum.
Soon enough, Mo finds me in the gift shop and we head to her place for dinner. Along the way, we stop to see the inukshuk at English Bay (how have I not seen this here since 1987?), I learn a bit more about Yaletown, and we explore a little park next to the Athlete's Village for the 2010 Olympics. I'm excited to see their quarters as I missed so much of the Olympics last year. Cool! Mo shows me the cute school she last taught at before she retired, then we're taking in the views of Vancouver and the North Shore from her rooftop deck. Wow! No direct sunset tonight, but her collection of sunset photos from the deck are great to look at online.
A lovely healthy dinner with some great conversation and the time is flying by. I'm glad to be getting a chance to know her better. She's also teaching me a lot about Vancouver as a life-long resident. As a periodic visitor for the last 34 years, there's still lots for me to learn. Pretty soon dessert and photos are over and I thank her for a great time as she drops me to the North Shore. A presto!