I cannot believe it’s been five months since I blogged. Wow. Time flies when life grabs you by the horns I guess. There has been so much going on with me lately. The biggest up-and-coming thing with me is my first international trip by myself.
In exactly one week, I will be flying out of LAX to Vancouver, BC. I’ve been to Canada once before in 1996 to visit Niagara Falls but that was back when you didn’t need a passport and Americans just needed to show their driver’s license. Since 9/11 the rules have changed. I got my passport back in May when I really started finalizing my trip. I knew they were expensive, but I wasn’t expecting the total price. People told me that it took months to get one, but the lady at the Post Office said that it usually takes one month. I went ahead and spent the extra for expedited because I wanted to make sure I had it. It took two weeks and cost me almost $250.00 after the price of the photos and the various fees that go with getting it. I also had to get a copy of my birth certificate because my mom wasn’t sure what she did with it. Now I have my own copy.
Then came the hotels. Since I’ve never been to Vancouver, I don’t know where the best neighborhoods are. Thank God for Google Maps. I love taking the little orange figure and placing it on the streets and then looking around the area. I found a cute little hotel in New Westminster, BC that is in a vintage building and has very few rooms but the price was decent. My original plan was to only spend five days in Vancouver and three in Seattle before heading to Portland, OR for a week. My family told me that Seattle would need to be about a week trip in order to see the whole city and what it has to offer, so I decided to spend an entire week in Vancouver instead. I wanted to extend my reservation at The Met Hotel but the price ended up being a little more than I really wanted to spend. I ended up spending it anyway, but found a hotel in downtown Vancouver that is close to the Olympic torch. Both hotels are really close to the Sky Train so getting around Vancouver shouldn’t be that difficult.
My list of things to do in Vancouver is fairly lengthy, but if I do things just right, I’ll be able to fit all of them in. Once I found out about the aquarium, I had to go. I have loved dolphins ever since I could remember. The majority of my folders for school growing up had dolphins or whales on them. I am a Picses and I love everything that has to do with water. I was able to see some dolphins in the Pacific Ocean on a trip to Catalina Island in 1996 for a school trip but I’ve never seen them up close. I’ve been to zoos but I’ve never been to an aquarium. I knew I had to go when I saw they have beluga whales. They are so ugly they’re cute. I love them. I followed the advise on the website and ordered my ticket to avoid having to stand in line. It was only $30.50 CAD but cost me (at the time) $26 and change.
Knowing I will be spending a lot of time at the various airports due to having to go through customs, I decided to save myself some time and headaches and ordered my Canadian money through work. One thing off my list. I’m going to try to follow Rachael Ray’s $40 a day with food and hopefully I can do it. I plan on spending one whole day at Granville Island and will probably snack throughout the Farmer’s Market there so then I can splurge on Kai, a Japanese restaurant. I was surprised to see how many gluten-free places there are in Vancouver. I cannot wait.
The second half of my trip, I get to ride on a train. I have never been on a train, except the train at Disneyland. That doesn’t compare to Amtrak. At all. I got my ticket last night. I am set. I will taking the train from Vancouver to Portland, Oregon.
For what ever reason, the idea of moving to Portland has been at the back of my mind for about three years. I am taking this trip to see if I live the city and to see what the apartments look like and the job market. I know finding a job everywhere sucks but I need out of Bishop. This place is driving me mad. I need to leave. Period. The best part is Tia will be there visiting her family. We get to meet!! Finally!! And I get to see the baby bump because he is pregnant with #4.
I was able to go on this trip because I decided not to go to Comic Con this year. It felt weird not going but I think I need this trip more that I needed to go to Comic Con. This is a huge trip for me. I am going by myself and will be a LONG way from home. I will be safe. I will have fun. I need this for my sanity.