Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the livin' is easy

It's summertime and you know what that means -- visitors! This year I was really lucky and had my parents make the trek west to come and see me. Good times ensued. I know that this post is way overdue. Hopefully I can atone for that with a surplus of pics. Early on in the trip we went to Cultus Lake and then on to Harrison Hot Springs. I don't have photos from those days but I can tell you that we walk all around the docks at Cultus and dreamt of a future family summer where we rented a cottage or two and got everyone together for a week on the lake. Sounds like a great idea to me. The first round of sand sculptures was already up at Harrison so we had a great time walking around those.

I should have a photo of my kettle and teapot in this post and they both got a serious workout over the two weeks Mom & Dad were here. Thanks to an incredible roommate who willingly gave up her room for two weeks, I was able to have M & D stay with me, at my place, for the first time since I moved out west. It was pretty great to be able to spend a morning just sitting in the living room reading and drinking tea. I kept poking them, gently of course, and whispering "you're right here, close enough to touch". Nearness is uncommon blessing.

I also was able to introduce Mom & Dad to two wonders of Menno cooking thanks to my west coast family. They got their first tastes of vareneki (and schmon faht) and rollkuchen and I can say with confidence, it won't be their last. (Sidenote, do you have any idea how hard it is to Google words in plaut deutsche? Good gravy! Ok that would be the schmon faht. . . . .but anyway). Good eats in any language. I promised pics so I better get to those.

We spent a day on the hop-on, hop-off trolly tour of Vancouver. It was a great way to see the city (as long as you can get past the strangeness of authentic San Francisco trollies as a tourist attraction in BC. The Vancouver Trolly Company runs a great tour, I recommend it. (Hmm, I was told they were authentic trolleys but according to the site they're reproduction. Shifty, very shifty.) Still pretty though as you can see in the reflection below:

And as you can see, we enjoyed ourselves:

bHighlights from the tour included Prospect Point in Stanley Park and the Dr. Sun Yet-Sen Chinese classical garden -- the only of its kind outside of China. There are photos of these below, but they ended up right down at the bottom of this post and it's too hot out to take the time to move them, so feel free to scroll down. I'll wait for you.

OK, everyone back? Another outing took us to North Vancouver to the Capilano Suspensio Bridge. Like all good Vancouverites I have long scorned Capilano and it's $35 admission when all locals know that the Lynn Valley Canyon bridge just 5 minutes farther up the road, is free. But a discussion with the girls at work convinced me that Cap just might have $35 worth of extras packed in to the park, and I have to say, I am converted. Capilano Suspension Bridge should be on everyone's must see list. (And they even pandered to my sometime thrify heart by offering BC residents a year long season's pass for the price of a single addmission -- it even gets you 10% off of everything in the park, food included. Nice.)

I brought the big camera out to play at Cap, all part of my attempt to stop being afraid of it and learn what all the buttons do. On this day, I learned about countering overexposure and correcting for deep shadows in bright sunlight. Cool. And wouldn't you know it one of the best shots of the day was the quick and classic "just hold the camera at arm's length and smile" self portrait I took of me & Coli just inside the gates. Of course.

Gord caught this pic of the three of us just after we got across the bridge itself. The bridge is pretty impressive and Mom, who I forgot is not exactly a fan of heights, was a total rock star. She went across TWICE. OK I'm having trouble moving the images again -- argh -- the ones with the bridge down below should be pretty easy to pick out.

I caught Mom pulling a funny face. .. . . but also managed to get a pretty decent head shot of each of them:
Dad's is taken at Prospect Point, Mom's at Capilano:

This shot is the other reason Capliano is so very cool. They have this thing call the Treetops Adventure which is basically a series of bridges 40 feet up in the trees. It was awesome to get to be up in the canopy seeing a whole new perspective on a very old and beautiful forest. And it's totally green too, carefully designed not to hurt the trees. I felt like an Ewok. In this shot you can see almost the whole crew -- from the back, Amanda & Kendra, Shannon & Coli, Mom, Dad & me. Missing is Gord, he was behind the camera.

This one is from just outside the classical garden. They had a huge zodiac all laid out in tile, so I had to grab a pic with my dragon.
Inside, the garden was like nothing I have ever seen, just as peaceful as you would imagine. Everything was intentional from the rocks selected for their contemplative potential (there's a word for them in Mandarin that means "thinking stones" or "teaching stones" but I forget) to the little bridges and footpaths was beautiful. There were a thousand little places to just stop and be, which I suppose is the point. It was lovely.

So that brings us to the end of my long and overdue post vacation. It was a gret way to spend a couple of weeks. So all I have to say now, (in the voice of the baby from the 90s show "The Dinosaurs") is AGAIN!!!!! Bleh it's too hot to spell check, so please be kind and ignore all errors, just this once. Thanks :)


orangejack said...

Capilano is expensive but I really enjoyed it. Just being among those huge trees is amazing!

DAve & JAnie said...

Wow, I didn't know half of those places existed. I think next time I am out that way I better do a tourist trip through vancouver!
I love your dream about renting a cabin at cultus lake. We spent alot of time out there when I was a child, and I would adore being there as an adult with my children and family. I can't wait for all of us to live there one day. We are happy right now, but happy with future dreams. It's a goal that keeps me sane during rough times at school!
Fabulous photos! I just love seeing pictures of what you have been up to.
It seems that Dave is just talking to mom right now. They have bought themselves a dish washer!