Well, we made it. I'm sitting here overlooking the city of Vancouver from our 12th floor hotel room.
It's a beautiful city, as we discovered yesterday on our walk along the Sea Wall and a first foray into the lovely Stanley Park.
But first, the journey... which proved mercifully easy, despite the pre-departure worries. Oh, one hitch. We had one of those "operated by" flights that got me into trouble once before: you have to check in at the operating airline, not the one that's on your ticket. Wise to the problem--so I thought--we stopped of at Terminal 7 and asked one of the skycaps, just to be sure we were right. On his assurance, we said our goodbyes to Cardozo, who had brought us to the airport, and sent him on his way. It was only when we were turned down by the electronic check-in system that we realized something was wrong--and were sent dashing round the airport to Terminal 2 to catch our flight.
Goodbye, good intentions about applying all those good lessons from the meditation practice! Ellie is far better at the practical realitites than I, who arrived at the proper check-in point already in a sweat and--to be truthful--inner turmoil. Ah well, I did soon settle down to a comfortable level of travel anesthesia. The New York Times crossword helped. And the flight took off in good time, and proved easy, fast, and comfortable.
And, yes, Vancouver... We arrived here early afternoon, and set out into the city before even pausing to unpack. A few blocks down to the waterfront and a stop for a refreshing glass of beer and a bite to eat at a restaurant out over the water;
then a gelato--not up to Ellie's high standards for this treat--and that walk along the Sea Wall, past the rowing club where teams of rowers were out plying the oars (I recalled how my father rowed for his Cambridge college) and on to the yacht club before turning back. Beautiful green lawns and trees and, unexpectedly, a clear blue sky. Delicious.
Back at the hotel, I was dismayed to hear news of the Tour de France and the withdrawal of Vinokourov from the race, having tested positive for a blood transfusion. Why do they do this? It's a crying shame... A quick shower, a rest, and off for the remainder of the evening at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where we waited in a long line to get in, missed the main show (of works from the Cleveland art museum because it was too crowded (!) and saw instead a fascinating show by the Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. It's worth taking a quick look at the site, which includes a picture of his eye-opening elephant and tiger installation. I was unfamiliar with his work before, but was much impressed: huge installation pieces challenging a variety of received ideas about society, race, nationality, and history. Still, I was already tired and did not explore the show in enough depth to comment other than superficially.
An odd supper at an Italian restaurant where they were out of pizza--and out of the pasta we ordered instead. We settled for chicken souvlaki (Italian???) and a glass of Australian shiraz. Then back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.