As soon as we hit the road on Monday morning we were reminded of what it’s like to be in rush hour traffic jams in the city. Morning traffic in Fernie is waiting an extra 30 seconds at the stop sign before you can make a turn…not 15 minutes, Vancouver! It was our fault. We decided to go straight from Surrey to Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park in the day time. We discovered the best time to drive anywhere in Vancouver is before 7 am and after 8 pm. Anyways, Vancouver Aquarium was on our list because as soon as Phoenix found out we were going to the ocean she asked “Are we going see a penguin?” …. “Yes, you can.” I said, after I checked the aquarium’s website. I’m not a believer in holding animals in small, unfamiliar spaces but I do love seeing the faces on my kids when they get to see, up close, a sea turtle bigger than their sandbox, a sting ray glide through the water so elegantly and they even had monkeys eating bugs off each other. It’s hard not to want to show those things to your kids.
Rod was not feeling so good (I think it’s because he hates cities) so we checked into our new home for 3 nights, which we booked through Airbnb. It’s a strange thing moving into a basement suite of a house in Vancouver. It might not sound strange but it felt strange. The whole experience ended up being really great. The owners of the house had two little kids with lots of toys in the backyard that our kids were free to enjoy as well. Sweet! The place was clean and we had everything we would need at a much cheaper cost. I would totally do it again but next time I would try to get a little closer to the downtown core. We were far too south to be able to just walk out the door and explore. That didn’t stop us from exploring, though.
The kids and I got in the car, while Rod slept, and I showed them a great spot I used to go to. Spanish Banks. It’s a quieter beach and it was a week day morning, so we had the whole beach to ourselves. The kids ran around and we ate our snacks and played in the sand. It’s all they wanted to do. After Roman went down for a nap, Phoenix and I strolled W 4th Ave in Kitsilano for the perfect birthday gift for Roman. Later that day, Rod put a smile on his face, even though he was still not feeling great, and drove us all to North Burnaby…in afternoon rush hour traffic. It was hard keeping that smile on his face but we were going to see friends so as soon as we landed, a happier Rod returned. The kids weren’t too happy about getting back in the car either and many are we there yets were blurted out. A big part of putting Vancouver on our itinerary was so I could see my friends who I haven’t seen in so long. This meant a lot to me, seeing my old business partner and dear friend Albertine De Leon and her beautiful family…so thanks, Rod, Phoenix and Roman!
By Wednesday Rod was feeling a bit better, enough to get out of the basement suite and celebrate Roman turning 2. For Roman’s birthday we went to Granville Island. Our first stop was the Toy Market, of course. I don’t think Phoenix or Roman have ever seen so many toys in one place. They were in heaven. We bought a few things for the kids and then went upstairs to play in the Arcade. The best part about this arcade is that even our little guys, age 3 and almost 2, were able to play a few games. That’s pretty rare.
We tied a birthday balloon to their wrists and dragged them out so we could explore more than just the toy stores. Phoenix found a tree to climb by the market, she can always spot a good climbing tree, and after a quick bite we decided the kids should experience the Aquabus. Rod, Phoenix and Roman got a tour of False Creek and came back as happy as my dad on a golf course, while I ran around the market trying to find snacks for Roman’s beach birthday party that afternoon. It was a smart idea. Our time at Granville Island had to come to an end because naps needed to be taken. This glorious nap time gave me a few minutes on my own in the Dunbar-Southlands area for a nice cup of coffee and some window shopping and I also picked up a beautiful birthday cake for Roman. You can’t have a birthday without cake.
We picked Kits Beach as an easy to access place for his birthday celebration and we had such a great time. There were ominous clouds behind us the whole time but they never came near us the entire evening. With dirt in their mouth, shirts and diapers, we said our goodbyes to our friends who we miss so much and went home for one more night in Vancouver. Victoria was calling us.