Vancouver March 2020

We chose to fly to Seattle and rent a car to drive up to Vancouver. Unlike our usual trips back to British Columbia, we were traveling with friends and didn't move around much, just staying in Vancouver the whole time. Unfortunately, the timing placed us in Vancouver's rainy season, just a month or two short of the pleasant weather. We had one beautiful sunny day, but even the other days weren't too bad, either cloudy or with a light drizzle. Vancouver seemed really hilly and the side streets were very narrow, something I'm no longer used to, I guess.


Seattle caution

We flew from Detroit to Seattle on Sunday, March 1st. The day before that, we saw on the news that Seattle had just had the United States' first coronavirus (COVID-19) death!

Fortunately, all we were going to do was fly in, rent a car, and drive up to Vancouver. Six days later we would do the reverse. We would learn more about the virus spread before we flew back, and I recall that we were being careful to not touch things while on this trip. At that point, nothing had been shut down. Would we be lucky enough to avoid exposure? We stopped at a Starbucks on the way back down to Seattle, and we were careful not to touch things or get too close to people. At this point, we knew about more people dying in the Seattle nursing home.

We rented a 2018 Toyota Rav4, shown to the left, which somehow came with Texas license plates! We've been thinking about getting a new car, and have test-driven a couple of Rav4's. This would be a long test drive of six days, and we found that we liked it. We like our still-going 2005 Rav4 so much that we are very brand loyal. I don't think this new one would fit my bike and lumber inside of it, though, so that's a downside. The four-wheel drive is the main benefit, though, for Michigan winters.

I would love to buy an electric car, but the cost is so high. There were an amazing number of Teslas in Vancouver. We kept seeing a new logo I didn't recognize, and couldn't quite read, but I think it was "Genesis", apparently a luxury brand spin-off from Hyundai.

AirBNB in Kitsilano

With our friends Beth and Joe, we shared an AirBNB house rental in Vancouver, so that we could attend our friend David's retirement party. We really liked this house, which was built in the 1930's. It was very well decorated and the hosts did a great job of stocking it with goodies.

David's retirement parties

Our friend David has a very interesting career under his belt, working in England, the United States, and Canada over the years. We shared a house with him in Michigan at one point, and have found him and his wife (also our friend!) Eileen to be excellent hosts when we travel to Vancouver. It's always a treat to stay with and visit them. This time, we didn't stay with them, as you can read above. The main purpose of this trip was to attend a couple of parties being held for David's retirement. We gathered with a group in a restaurant (or was it a wine cave?) in Gastown, where Sandra knew many, but Christina and I only knew a few. Consequently, I didn't take many pictures, but to the left is David with Sandra.

We were also glad to be able to see our friends Nathalie and Nick, who lived near us in Michigan and who now live in Vancouver. Nathalie is a professor who worked at Michigan State University and who now works at Simon Fraser University. I always enjoy talking to Nick, he's a programmer and so we can talk about things that I usually can't talk about with professors.

Vancouver Public Library

This place is so cool ... we took Beth and Joe to see it with us. While Sandra and I had been here before, this time we went up to the roof, which I suspect was not an option years ago. It's pretty exciting to be walking down the outer stairs with its huge drop-off to one side. Inside, on the 6th floor, we crossed the glass-sided catwalks that provide more high-up excitement. The picture to the left shows the view down from one of the catwalks. There were a lot of people in the library, I suppose now it has been closed due to the coronavirus.

Below left: one of the the rooftop study areas, a beautiful place to study on a nice day!

Below middle: the view of the inflatable roof of BC Place stadium.

Below right: from inside the library, the view across the interior concourse.

Stanley Park

Christina and I were on our own this day, and even though it was a cloudy and rainy day, we got to see some interesting sights. We went to Stanley Park and across the Lion's Gate Bridge into West Vancouver. My commute from UBC for a couple of years took me through Stanley Park and into West Vancouver, and it was beautiful. Trying to drive a part of this commute (in Kitsilano) led to the discovery that bike lanes have been built since we left.

There were more ships than usual in the harbor, waiting for permission to dock at the ports. I heard that this was related to coronavirus precautions, but I'm not sure if that was the case or not. The Lion's Gate Bridge is shown below right.

UBC's Museum of Anthropology

The University of British Columbia is very special to us, and, located within the UBC Endowment Lands, the Museum of Anthropology has a world-famous reputation. We saw a lot of great items here, many of which are examples of native art. There were other exhibits as well, and I'll include a few pictures here. This is a very small subset of the photographs that I took.