Thursday, February 16, 2012

Christmas 20 1 1 : Vancouver Day 1

Ooooo. Ughhhh. Ouch. Eeeeek. Pass the pain killers - stat because we are sore. You know the pain that comes the morning after a workout that you haven't done in ages. The OMG! I can't lift my legs or bend down without feeling like 102? Yeaaaa. We were so there.

We decided to hold off packing until after breakfast. If we could even get to breakfast, that is. Surprisingly, there were even more people today at breakfast then yesterday! So many more that we decided to take our breakfast back to our room. Put our dining table to use as a eating utility instead of a drying rack. Ha!

After a breakfast for champions, we packed up all our gear and checked out of our hotel. The drive leaving Whistler was bittersweet, but we were looking forward to what Vancouver had to offer.

2.5 hours later - hello, Vancouver! First order of business - FOOD! More specifically, dim sum. Yes, again. Told y'all we LOVE dim sum. It's one that we wouldn't get tired of eating every. single. day. Thanks to some reviewers, we decided to try out Kirin Seafood on 12th. After some difficulty finding the restaurant (it's on the second level on top of the mall), we were ready to get our grub on. Only to realize the restaurant was booked for the day. Next opening was until well after 2pm. WHAT?! Completely lost, we walked downstairs into the mall to re-plan. Thankfully, there was a Starbucks so free wifi for the win! Back on Yelp I went in search for another dim sum joint.

Back on the slopes in Whistler, one of the girls in my class, Carmen, is a Vancouver native and told me to check out Dai Tung for cheap, family style dim sum. I input the address into my phone's GPS and we were set. But first, we needed to get our parking validated. We stopped in at the grocery store in front of Starbucks within the mall and sampled a slice of some type of orange (wish I could remember!). It was so sweet! Even the hubby loved it, so I knew I had to purchase a few. Well, they only came in bags and the smallest was 4lbs! Yikes! Looks like we're eating these bad boys at every meal.

Oranges - purchased. Parking - validated. GPS - set. We were finally on our way to lunch. Navigating to the place was a breeze, but the parking lot was so small. We found a sign that directed us to more parking in the rear. The sign led us down a sketchy road when we came upon another sign that directed us to a sketchy parking garage designated for Dai Tung. Unsure, but with no where else to park, we reluctantly parked and hid everything out of site. (Note: What's up with Canadian parking being so darn small and tight? We rented an Impala, but parking made us feel like we rented a tank!).

The restaurant was packed to the gills, but I approached the hostess to give them my name in exchange for a number. 20 minutes later, we got a table and we got a grub on! I've never seen dim sum carts stacked so full and high with food before! Lunch was uber cheap - $20! Sweet! For the same amount of food that we order in Dallas runs us almost $40.

With our bellies were satisfied, we decided to hunt down our hotel in Vancouver and figure out how we wanted to plan the remainder of our Vancouver trip.  We stayed at the Lonsdale Quay hotel in North Vancouver. The place was quaint and unique, but we had an uber difficult time finding it. We drove around in circles for a good 20 minutes prior to locating the hotel and its parking.

Checked in and settled into our hotel room, we ate a few of our 4lbs worth of oranges and decided a quick nap prior to the evening was needed.

After the refreshing nap, we decided to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge. Since it's during the holiday season, Capilano has lined their entire park and bridge in Christmas lights. Being a huge fan of Christmas lights, we decided tonight would be perfect. We plugged in the coordinates in my phone and off we went.

Only to drive into a steady rainfall. We parked and got out, but decided an umbrella was most definitely needed prior to proceeding so we got back into the car and located the nearest grocery store in hunt of an umbrella. We plopped down $16 at SaveMore and walked out with a HUGE umbrella. It easily stood 4 feet in height! More prepared, we navigated back to Capilano Bridge, paid our dues, and entered the park.
Horrible picture taken by the courteous employee. Check out the size of our
umbrella. Is that not ginormous?!

Capilano Bridge had a challenge for its visitors to locate certain locations throughout the park and obtain a stamp. If you collect all the destination stamps, you received a completion certificate upon exiting the park. You can bet I was gung ho about completing the challenge. Yes, I am 5 years old. First up, crossing the suspension bridge!

Once we reached the other side*, we began navigating the park and collecting those stamps! First up, the animal wilderness area.
Hubby couldn't resist fresh fish!

Then we learned about the technical things about the park.

We even got to navigate the treetops of this beautiful rain forest guided by Christmas lights. Again, missing out on spectacular views due to the darkness. Super sad.

Once we were over the hills, through the woods we would go! But first, we had to cross back over the suspension bridge. The hubby and I may or may not have stomped relatively hard while crossing causing the bridge to sway threateningly....

The cliffwalk was absolutely AMAZING!! Being thrill seekers, the rush of being suspended hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air by a narrow walkway through the mountains was unbelievable. This was by far the coolest thing about visiting the park in the dark!
The only thing the hubby kept repeating was,
"how do people not just jump off these things
and plumet to their deaths?"

You could touch the rocks and read about all the fun facts regarding the mountains. The uplighting bouncing off the rocks illuminated the adjacent rain forest and you could see the rushing river below and the taller than skyscraper trees.

As our cliffwalk concluded, it also signified our time spent at the park was coming to an end. With all challenge stamps collected, we signed off in the guestbook and exited the park to obtain my completion certificate.

We contemplated on dinner as we drove back to the hotel. Since our hotel is in North Vancouver, we decided against driving into downtown Vancouver and just park our car at the hotel and walk up the street to a sushi joint for a quick bite. Tomorrow will be another exploration day of Vancouver!

*The bridge is suspended over a gorgeous gorge, but we couldn't see it at night. I've been here before, but I felt terrible that the hubby wasn't able to fully enjoy the experience because I chose to see the park dressed in Christmas lights. Result - visit the park in daylight to fully get the experience and enjoy the views. It wasn't worth the extra dollars to view the lights. Sorry hubby!

There also aren't any pics of me at the bridge because every time the flash went off, my eyes went completely shut. Without the flash, the pictures were completely dark.

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