- Saturday 7/16 we arrived and it was late. Checked into the swank hotel, showered off the airplane funk and conked out. We had free sit-down full service breakfast every morning so didn't have to worry about that!
- Sunday 7/17 Shawn had to practice his talk so I walked around a bit on my own. Shops don't open up until 10 or later, so all I did was get a Tim Horton's latte and drink it on Granville St. Tim Horton's in NYC near my church on 86th and Park makes a MUCH better latte -- i.e. it's not a 7-11 style stick-the-cup-under-the-machine-and-hit-a-button as it was in Canada, rather in NYC they steam the milk and add it to the coffee. When Shawn was sufficiently rehearsed we walked north to the water, looked around, had lunch and then he checked into the conference. Dinner was a laugh because everything was closed on Sunday evenings. I think we ended up with kind of fast food pizza by the slice ... made me miss Mercado's even more.
- Monday 7/18 Shawn is at his conference and giving his talk. I get up and around then take a public bus to Granville Island. Everything in Vancouver is expensive, even the public transit (and when my comparison is NYC, you know that's saying something). But I made it to the "island" that's really not. I did some shopping, had lunch, looked at the views of downtown, and toured the public market, wishing our hotel room had a fridge! Met back up with Shawn and had dinner with his NYC office mate. Was fun to catch up with her.
- Tuesday 7/19 I was intrigued by all the signs on the Sky Train for Metropolis mall (450 stores!), and when I was at the Kid's Market on Granville Island I found a brochure that offered tourists a $10 gift card, free return transit and a free tote bag (something I was lamenting not having brought despite owning roughly 500 yet not willing to shell out $10 CAN for one). This time I took the Sky Train (subway) and did a little shopping. I had lunch at the food court, watched a lot of people, got myself a souvenir -- a Danier leather wallet -- and read a book I had downloaded to my Kindle (The Help). Shawn and I had dinner with a group of his cohorts at a pub-style place.
- Wednesday 7/20 About mid-morning I met up with my friend who also happens to be a mathematician attending the conference, and we went shopping at the Pacific Centre underground shopping mall that was right near our hotels. We browsed but didn't buy, had lunch and mostly had a good time catching up. (She and her husband moved from Baton Rouge about a week or so before the trip, but we still had plenty to catch up on!) I was wearing terribly uncomfortable shoes, so I went back to the hotel thinking I would change them and go do something else later in the afternoon ... uh, nap time came instead! Shawn and I had dinner at a local pizzeria and got a discount because they were crowded and we waited patiently. Manners pay off I guess.
- Thursday 7/21 I decided I had better play the true tourist and get on a tour bus to really see what the city had to offer. I looked online and got a second day for free (great thing about the hotel -- fast internet and free worldwide calling). I got to see Stanley Park on one loop and the city on the other loop. It was too expensive ($38 CAN), but kept me occupied and got me where I wanted to go. After I did the complete tour I had lunch and then took one of the buses to Robson Street, very chic, for shopping. I didn't buy anything other than a bottle of water and a cupcake from a Cupcake Girls shop (a show I learned about by watching Canadian TV during my rests ... although looks like I can catch it on WE stateside), but I got to people watch and get two free drinks -- a Coke Zero and Vitamin Water. One good thing about cities: lots of people all together means marketing promos/freebies. Shawn and I had a quick dinner and then went to a public math lecture at the conference. It was pretty funny, although all I had to contribute was critique of the guy's PowerPoint. I mean, he's this high dollar academic and he uses COMIC SANS in his presentation? GAG. :)
- Friday 7/22 Beth's birthday! I did the bus tours again (I know a lot of facts about Vancouver now!), and this time I got off in Stanley Park at Prospect Point and looked at the Lions Gate Bridge for a while. When I was back at Canada Place I went to Gas Town, which is a little shopping district by the water. I got some souvenirs and ate lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory (marketing paid off on me once again because the ads for this place were everywhere). One of my favorite things about being in Vancouver was eating outside in July. And the weather was always so comfortable (and even when it's raining most tables/patios are covered) that we ate outside quite a lot. After the conference ended Shawn and I went on a harbour dinner cruise. It was expensive but very fun and relaxing -- good buffet dinner (although I'm surprised I didn't fall with my full plate of food because we had to walk down stairs on a moving boat while carrying it) and stunning views of the city and the sunset over the mountains. Lots of smooches too!
- Saturday 7/23 Grouse Mountain, which I already wrote about. After we got back we picked up our luggage from the first hotel and made the move to the second hotel (Shawn booked so far in advance and through the conference company that there were issues with extending the stay, so he found an alternate hotel for our last two nights). It was a schlep, but we did it with all our luggage and made it to the hotel in one piece. This was a little less swank but it was bigger and still clean and comfortable. It was a "suite" in that there was a kitchenette and a couch area. There was a balcony with a view from the 16th floor and again super fast internet, so we were able to Skype with Shawn's parents, which was pretty fun. We had dinner in the "new" neighborhood -- at an Irish pub that didn't serve fish & chips. Whoever heard of that?
- Sunday 7/24 After a free hotel buffet breakfast we took the public bus to Stanley Park and went to the Vancouver Aquarium. It's pretty expensive, but we got to see beluga whales, dolphins, jelly fish, many many fish and frogs, and a 4D experience movie (which my favorite tour bus driver told me not to miss). As the day wore on it got more and more crowded with children (assuming many were local because their passes are cheaper). We stayed until we had seen enough then strolled in the park a bit (it is a HUGE park though) and took the bus back to the hotel. Had another lie in, then ate our last dinner at a really cool choose-your-own-pasta place (pick noodle type, sauce, toppings). Seemed like the kind of thing that would be a hit in a college town like Baton Rouge (and I think we have enough fro-yo shops). We also got gelato and saw a movie being filmed in Yaletown, although unlike NYC they don't list what the film is on the no parking notices on the street and we didn't see anyone famous so who knows. Then back to the hotel to pack up and prepare for the 12 hour journey home.
Got to hit the sack and really should have put off typing this post until I'm more rested. Maybe the blogger bug has re-bitten me?!