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Photo TR: Erik & Smisty's Vancouver Oddventure

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Remember when we lived in Pigeon Forge and we had a thread about all the cool stuff there?


And then we moved to Orlando and did another one?


And then we moved to Las Vegas and there was no thread?


Well, now we live in Seattle, and again there's no thread.


However, we did recently spend 5 days in Vancouver, British Columbia, doing pretty much everything touristy there is to do there. So I think that's worth a little something, don't you?



Erik & Smisty's Vancouver Oddventure

Day 1: Inside A Cobra


Up early for a walk to the train station. Just like in Pigeon Forge, we (happily) don't own a car.


This was to be a trip of firsts. Our first time on a proper train. Our first visit to a foreign country. Our first time having a bus apologize to us. No idea idea how I got so old without experiencing any of those things, but here we are.


On the ride up, you have to fill out a customs form, which they take (while checking your passport) at the border. Also, you have to guesstimate how much poutine you're going to eat while in Canada. Be careful! If you guess too low, they don't let you in!


Well, I can't argue with that.


"Beautiful" weather today, eh?


What can you do on a train? Well, you can get up and go to another train car and eat cheeseburgers, for one thing.


You can also play a board game. Board games are basically what we do now instead of going to amusement parks all the time. This game is called Muse. See if you can figure out which card matches the clue, "Columbus Day."


It takes about 4 hours to go from Seattle to Vancouver via the Amtrak Cascades. Definitely more enjoyable than flying, though clearly much slower.


The gloomy Pacific Northwest weather had burned off by the afternoon. Or maybe Canada is just prettier.


In Erik-&-Smisty-land, vacationing is not for the faint of heart. We don't lie on the beach and drink Mai Tais. We're on the clock here, people!


Vancouver, obviously jealous of Seattle's Pike Place Market, created this: the Granville Island Public Market.


I've been staring at this photo for 5 full minutes trying to think of a caption, and all I've come up with so far is, "Fruit."


Puffcream, obviously. Bought with Canadian monies, which are much more interesting and colorful than US monies. Plus, they don't have pennies, because pennies aren't actually money, and their dollar coins are affectionately known as, "Loonies," which is awesome.


Here I am on a boat, looking at stuff.


Vancouver is a lot like Seattle, which is a lot like Portland. Really, the three cities are just very similar to one another, which probably means this was a stupid place to go considering where we live. But there are differences. For example, in Vancouver, the most popular fast food chain is A&W. So that's weird.


Vancouver also has special trick-riding bicycle lanes.


Smisty has never seen a swing she didn't want to swing on.


Crazy black hole vortex fountain, with Canada Place in the background.


FlyOver Canada is basically Soarin'. (Seattle has one, too! "Wings Over Washington.")


Photos of the ride are not allowed. However, I found a clever way to photograph what it looks like on the inside without breaking any rules!


At first, I thought this was a straight copy (mechanically) of Soarin'. But, we rode in the middle row, and there were no feet in our view, so it's not exactly the same. Also, unlike both Soarin(s) and Wings Over Washington, this one uses wipes and fades to switch between scenes rather than smash cuts, which is something I've always wanted to see in one of these. Unfortunately, there is a bit of dodgy CG work in some of the scenes, where they pretty obviously added something (like, say, a sailboat or a train) into a scene that clearly wasn't there when they filmed it. There was also a dreadful preshow that featured lots of parkour because that's what the kids like these days...?


That could look better.


Looking back from Canada Place. Note how Vancouver Lookout is basically just Space Needle/Stratosphere style observation decks attached to the top of a regular building like mismatched Lego. (Yes, of course we're going there.)


What? We're tourists.


If you look carefully at this photo, the next one will make more sense.


Well, kind of.


Fritz European Fry House was a tiny establishment with weird seating, but absolutely amazing pulled-pork poutine.


We bought tickets and were directed to stand in line (ahead right) and wait for the elevator (far left). We were not instructed that we should first walk over to the elevator and push the button to summon it.


Operational oddities aside, it was a nice attraction. But then, I am a sucker for observation towers.


We got there right before sunset. (It's almost like we know what we're doing!)


Vancouver Lookout is 168 meters tall. (Figure it out, filthy Americans!) It features a 360-degree observation deck and a rotating restaurant. (But we just ate at Fritz, so no restaurant for us.)


Canada Place is the thing that looks like sails, and is a double-sided cruise ship dock and event space, as well as being home to FlyOver Canada.


I really liked Vancouver Lookout's open floor plan.


I'm good at photos.


You'll just have to trust me on that point, though, because Misty took this one.


Back down on the ground and in the nearby Gas Town area of Vancouver, featuring a clock that runs on steam for some reason.


The view from our hotel room.


Well, that wraps up Day 1. Let's see how long it takes me to sort out Day 2, which is the part of the Trip Report you're actually interested in.

Edited by Electerik
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I'm absolutely loving this report and can't wait for more! Very entertaining and fun to look/read along!




I enjoy looking at the Vancouver skyline, and I'm curious -- what parts of the city or neighboring towns are those two clusters of skyscrapers in the distance?

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Yay! great start, and lovely pictures.


I've been to Vancouver a bunch of times, and yet, your report is showing me things I've never seen already!

(tho I'm hoping you had time to stroll the artisan booths at Granville as well as go to the street market. . .that fruit pic is delectable).


for sure the flyover Canada is on my radar for my next time there!


and must find the cloud swing!

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When planning this holiday, there was a choice to be made regarding Playland. Should we try to visit during the PNE Fair, when the park expands with additional rides, shows, and crowds, or see it in its "normal" state? I won't say it was an easy decision, and I'm still not sure we made the right choice, but in the end we went with experiencing Playland in its flaccid form. (I know. I'm sorry.)



Erik & Smisty's Vancouver Oddventure

Day 2: Sad Fountains of British Columbia


We don't visit parks as often as we used to, but it's still exciting to go to a new one!


Playland exists within the boarders of Hastings Park, which contains quite a few other attractions and special event spaces.


This is Momiji Gardens. It's free, completely accessible from all directions, and unguarded (at least that we saw). This thing wouldn't last a week in the US.


Momiji Gardens represents an apology, because we're in Canada.


This is around the back of Playland, and I assume most people miss it unless the Fair is happening.


Fun story: Right after this photo was taken, and employee walked out and added "Roller Coaster" to the Attractions Not Operating Today sign.


While there is some landscaping, it mostly exists in the form of planters and such. Playland is basically a "Fair in a parking lot" kind of park, which is baffling because it opened in 1910 and is in the Pacific Northwest--a region that will literally just grow beautiful trees and flowers all on its own if you don't stop it.


Well, at least the Kettle Creek Mine Coaster is running.


Two of my favorite things: Pirate Ships and Water Fountain Lions.


They have a glass maze. It's super easy though because there are no mirrors and the wooden floor has a path worn into it. Still, it's cool that it exists.


Bug Whirled was surprisingly fun for an extremely short kiddy coaster.


That fountain is just pitiful. I honestly feel bad for it.


We skipped the Vekoma Corkscrew. I'm more of a "unique experience whore."


This photo is really just here to show you what kind of park Playland is. Which is not to say that it's a bad park, or that we didn't have fun. But if somebody told me that this was a top 10 park for them, I'd say that they hadn't been to more than 10 parks.


Once I was the King of Spain (now I eat humble pie)!


Wait, what? Does that say orange ice cream swirled with black licorice ripple? That's too weird, even for me.


Canada is different, man.


Best photo op cut-out ever.


Yup, there it is. The star of the park. The main reason to come here. A ride that still shows up on some pretty well-traveled enthusiasts' top 10 lists. Can't ride it, though. It's broke.


The park hasn't gotten rid of the crew yet, though. And ride engineers are out on the track banging on stuff. So there's hope still, right?


Mini golf is included with admission, which is nice. You may not know this about us, but we like mini golf.


First we'll get some sweet tats. Then, cheeseburgers.


And poutine, obviously.


I mean, you can get it in the states, but it's still fairly rare. It's seriously everywhere in Canada, though. And amazing. And us fat Americans should love it even more than they do. I mean, it's friggin' french fries with gravy and cheese(curds) on it!


Okay, yes, the name does start with "poo," but whatever. Let's call it Freedom Salad and get it out there to the US masses!


I'm generally anti-upcharge, but I make an exception for walk-through haunted houses. This one screwed with my American sensibilities, too, because the pop-out figures come very close to you, and in fairly confined spaces.


Anyway, it was good.


I think she's a ghost. The antlers are a dead giveaway.


Misty's first Enterprise. She was skeptical, but I convinced her with the word, "Schwarzkopf."


Starflyers combine being absolutely terrifying with the sensation of complete boredom. And this one was no exception.


I'm not sure what I'm doing here. She asked me to pose and I panicked.


Corkscrew as seen from the Westcoast Wheel, and that for some reason looks all tilt-shifted.


Still no movement at Roller Coaster.


*le sigh*


See, like, what's going on here? I'm not asking you to be Disney. I don't even really like Disney all that much. (Their parks are mediocre.) But that's clearly a brand new trailer more or less permanently installed on a walkway. It's like you don't even want to be good.


Model log flume. I can't even be arsed to look up who made it.


But at least it has a cool name: "Flume."


There's a path around the outside of Playland that allows for some additional views of Roller Coaster. Still, it's not the easiest ride to photograph. But at least I don't have to wait for a train to be in my photo!


We waited as long as we could. I'm not sure if it eventually opened or not.


But let us not dwell on sadness. We had fun, and there's more fun yet to be had!


Slidey slides! That's what they're called. Seriously, go back to photo number 2 of this report and look on the map. Slidey slides.


This playground equipment looks suspiciously like exercise machines.


To the local hobby board game store!


We bought a comic book and a Canadian board game. I have no idea how much they cost, though, because I'm stupid and the exchange rate confuses me. We might be bankrupt now. There's really no telling.


I'm pretty sure the gas stations were charging like $150 per gallon.


Er...I mean, per millimeter or something.


Board game cafes are a thing in several cities now, but this is a board game pizza parlor.


The Sticky Little Prince.


Did you know that Hawaiian pizza was invented in Canada? You did? Well, I guess I'm not interesting then.


Jesus Christ, Canada. You're making me cry here.


That's a f**king shower head! Everyone is judging you!


Perverted Ice Cream is the name of this place. And the ice cream was fine. But the esthetic was like a sex dungeon designed by junior high school kids who knew that their parents would eventually be coming by to see it.


They're just trying way too hard here. It's soft serve, guys.


I am immigrating to Canada.


And then starting a fountain installation business.


So far North, Superman lives here.


Pixel Orca! (And like some witches or something. Canada is weird.)


Thus endeth Day 2.


Stay tuned for Day 3 in like a week or something.

Edited by Electerik
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Man that's a bummer about the coaster. I saw on your Twitter that it was closed and I was bummed for you then and now I'm bummed once again. Sounds like you guys had a great day though and I'm guessing if it's that important to you, you'll be back!

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FlyOver Canada was okay. I wasn't a fan of the preshow and being misted 4 times during the ride wasn't ideal for my glasses. I prefer Wings Over Washington. Playland's Haunted House was great, I found it funny they told me not to touch anything but yet everything kind of came out and touched me.


I'm looking forward to Erik posting Day 3.

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My goodness I didn't realize how mus have missed the Oddventures, great report. Of all the fast food chains in the world to be popular in Western Canada I did not see A&W coming, but I do now want a root beer float.


A&W Canada was bought out by local management at least 20 years ago - basically it kept being popular, when the US business went down the tubes. No idea why, exactly.


I will say that the Canadian version is still popular - if you are only counting burger chains (and not Tim Hortons) it's safe to bet it's #2 behind McDonald's.


And the Burger Family lives on!

(Not to mention that Chubby Chicken got resurrected too)

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Nice to see you back in business, again.


As for the orange ice cream with the licorice swirl, I'm intrigued. My Dad definitely would've tried it. And I agree with you about up-charge atractions--always make an exception for haunts.

Edited by cfc
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It's great to see another Erik and Smisty Photo TR!


Did Erik lose weight?

No, he was just pregnant before.


(Seriously, it's sort of not cool to ask about someone's weight...)


I was just as surprised at how thin I looked in that Glass House photo as you were. That's why I included it!


But, no, I don't think so. Fat as ever.

Edited by Electerik
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We generally have a plan for each day when we vacation, with some room built in for rearranging and/or spontaneity. The plan for Day 3 was Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and then board games. But since we were ahead on Day 2, we had already done the board game stuff, and when we ran ahead on this day, we brought forward some Day 5 stuff to here.


If you're wondering why I've told you all that, I understand. Let's just assume that it might be relevant later....



Erik & Smisty's Vancouver Oddventure

Day 3: Safety Nature


Capilano is in North Vancouver, but wisely runs free shuttles from the downtown area up to themselves. Here we are aboard one such shuttle bus, crossing Lion's Gate Bridge. (More on that in Day 4.)


Oof. That doesn't look good. But not to worry! First of all, this is the line to buy tickets, and we'd bought ours ahead of time. And second, this photo was actually taken on our way out, but I've placed it here for narrative purposes. (You've got to watch me; I'm tricky.)


Totemy things, is the technical name for these, I believe.


Here you can see the rest of our party: Damien, Becka, Backpack Man, Hat Boy, Hat Boy's Mom, and Angry Steve.


These people are not with us.


It might be worth mentioning that I love bridges--especially ones that move. Smisty...not so much.


(Please use handrails.)


Yub nub, eee chop yub nub.


So...they built a crooked wooden house, but first they poured level concrete? These settlers have some very inconsistent construction skills.




"What have I done with my life?"


"Dude, I can go."


This is probably what Playland looked like before they paved it.


Not that I'm bitter.


Cliff House Restaurant


I ordered the ravioli, with salmon. They forgot the salmon. I wouldn't normally make a fuss, but we were literally the first and only customers at this point.


Capilano has a photo of me where I look fatter, on permanent display.


These girls are not laughing at me.


I don't think.


Oh, god.


We mostly kept ahead, but it did get a bit crowded. (It was Saturday, after all.)


All told, we walked over 11 miles on this day. So here's a photo of the real heroes, our feet. (Well, one of my feet and those of a total stranger, but still.)


Tourists can obtain more than 85% of their information from plaques.


Nature thing. Quiet, it might hear you.


The waterfall, I mean. It doesn't make sense. I'm trying to be funny. Sorry.


While I appreciate the warning, a bit more specificity would be welcome. What exactly is the danger? Snakes? Rusty nails? Socialists? How can I be expected to make good decisions based on incomplete information?


I don't know this person. But she wouldn't move, so now she's with us forever, in photographic spirit.


This is an erosion display. But all it takes it for one person to reach out and touch it and soon all these idiots are washing their hands off in it. Like, you weren't even touching anything and this isn't the end of your not touching anything and it's clearly marked as an erosion display, what is wrong with you? God, I hate people.


This photo is objectively terrible, but I love it, so here you go. "Man Explodes into Gift Shop."


This "band" is named The Capilanos. I am not kidding.


After a brief stop back at the hotel, we took a journey via Vancouver's hilariously named public transportation system, the Skytrain. We rode this all over town, and while it's a lovely amenity, there was not one second of it that was not underground.


And where were we going, you ask? Well, thanks for asking! Queen Elizabeth Park.


Misty is very proud of this photo, and rightfully so.


I guess it's okay for people to be in this fountain...? I don't know how Canada works.


Anyway, that dome is our next stop, the Bloedel Conservatory.


Uncle Fester is no longer here. Stop asking.


It's one frigging plant. Look, we have loads more. And statues. And birds.


Seriously, we're more than just a home for Uncle Fester. Look at this thing. This is nice.


There's a big dome. It's pretty.


It's gone, and it's never coming back, okay. Check out these animals, instead.


This Uncle Fester joke is getting tough to maintain, but the payoff is almost here.


Wait for it....




(Bam. Nailed it!)


Queen Elizabeth Park, as you can see, is very nice--even if the Conservatory is a pale imitation of itself without Uncle Fester.


Smisty is good with bridges that don't move.


I think this was a lynching. Canadian justice can be harsh.


This sculpture ("Love in the Rain") was designed for people to attach padlocks to. (I'm guessing so that they would leave Vancouver's bridges alone?)


Goodbye, Queen Elizabeth Park! We'd love to stay, but we have more trees and flowers to look at!


Just a couple of blocks away from the Bloedel Conservatory (still my favorite Bond film) is VanDusen Botanical Garden.


Are you sick of looking at trees, yet? Well, Vancouver says too bad!


I hope you enjoy this brief moment of being inside.


We wanted to sit for a minute, but these selfish jerks hogged up this bench the whole time we were there!


Okay, that joke was dumb. They can't all be hilarious. You need to breathe on occasion. I'm just looking out for you.


This is a fancier restaurant than the cafe back in the entrance building, but there was a wedding going on in it, just like everywhere else. Seriously, we saw at least three weddings at VanDusen, and two or three more back at Queen Elizabeth Park. Canadians need to calm the hell down with all their wedlock, man.


This place is big. If we had realized just how big, we might not have tackled it on this day. We saw a good chunk, and what we saw, we really liked, but we weren't quite able to cover all of it. Ah well, another reason to venture back to Vancouver one day, I suppose.


Istanbul, Not Constantinople


Wait, that's not right....


I am so sick of looking at trees and flowers. I just need a few meters of concrete and like an A&W or something. Please.


If I'm being completely honest, this is why we're here at VanDusen. A proper hedge maze!


And it wasn't easy, either. Good stuff!


Unless they get Uncle Fester back, you can probably skip the Blofeld Conspiracy, but VanDusen is definitely worth a visit.


Christmas card? Yearbook photo? Album cover? Fear of fire ants? Something weird is going on here.


I'd show you the Canadian one, but it wasn't as good.


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


No, I'm just kidding. We suck. I mean, look at this Canadian gift shop! It's brilliant!


I'm hungry, though. Let's get out of here.


When in Rome....

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bravo and "yay" for the They Might Be Giants reference you chose to use.


and that Canadian Lynching looks just like one we went to 5 years ago in Vancouver as well! must be a custom in that city!

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