Granville Island and getting lost again.

Hello!!
Well today was a beautiful day, and I decided to make the most of it while I had a day off – your good luck paid off and I got the job! YAY!
Anyway, so I walked down to the bus stop and spotted another Robin!

This time I got a photo! Hehe. And then I waited for the bus to come.

The bus went over a bridge and we got a beautiful view of the city of Vancouver.

And then I got off a bit before Granville Island because I thought it’d be nice to walk around.

I followed where I thought I should be going and after a long walk I found myself here.

It was really pretty!

So it took me a little while to realise that the 10 blocks I’d just walked were in the wrong direction. Ok maybe 6 blocks but it felt like 10. I was somehow at Coal Harbour instead of English Bay. Then I turned around and walked the other way. Hahaha. Cue the first of many “ohhhhhhhh Alesha!” I made to myself today.

Ok, so then I did walk 10 blocks to get to English Bay, which was also very pretty.

Walking through the city was fun though, and it did remind me of Melbourne! There were a few homeless people asking for change but if you just ignore them they are harmless.
Then I found the Inukshuk!

Then it took me a while to figure out how to actually get over to Granville Island! hahaha. I ended up taking the little Aquabus over.

Everyone was out for lunch! I grabbed a burger and searched for some blueberry bread but I couldnt find any! There were lots of kitsch little shops with clothes and jewellery and paper! Very funky.

So after some more exploring I decided to head back to the “mainland” and got the ferry back. I had decided to find the SeaBus and get that back over to North Vancouver for something different, so after walking another 10 blocks I was a little tired. I am so unfit! hahaha.

That’s my ‘I’m soooooo tired’ face. What made things worse was that I couldnt for the life of me find out where to get on the seabus!!! I walked up and down the same street several times (and past the homeless people) and then ended up going in a shop.

Not that shop though – but look its a mountie! heheheh cool.
The lady told me it was where it said “waterfront station” but I went there and it was just a bus terminal. I just needed to sit down and I didnt want to walk past them again, so I went up some stairs and saw a little area people were out enjoying the sun in. It had a nice view, so I sat and recovered. After a few minutes I saw a sign that said “the station” and noticed the people filing in. I followed them and found…. THE SEABUS TERMINAL! Gee they dont put many signs up to help the silly tourists like myself! Haha. So yay, I got on it and then got a bus home. PHEW what a day!

As I was writing this up I noticed a big spider run past me across the floor. I freaked out, then I went and got a jar and caught it in there to show Tim. He said they get lots of spiders in the basement. Did I mention that my bedroom is in the basement? Hahaha yeah. Ah well, as long as they dont come near me all is good!

So that was my day, hope yours was fun too!

Dont worry about me, I’m in a new part of town

Alrighty!! I am all moved in and unpacked, and to look at my wardrobe I really dont know where it all went! I’m glad I packed two big knit cardigans though (probably explains some of the space) as I can wear them now! It’s amazing when you think of your life in a suitcase (or two) – and you unpack and think about everything you have brought along and whether you made the right decision or not. I think I did- overall. I’m just going to have to do more washing than I’m used to – but I can work with that.

My homestay family are really nice! I’ll admit that I was a little worried (as per normal I suppose) but they have been lovely and welcoming. Georgia introduced me to the food cupboards and living with a chef has its benefits I must say!!!!!!! You dont have to worry mum, I’ll be eating very well. Snacks included!! They have a little dog who is a bit hyper – but I’m ignoring her in the hopes that she will calm down soon. She hasnt bothered me in my room so thats half the battle!

Speaking of my room – wanna see some photos? Yeah I know you do.

Decorated already? Me? Yeah you can count on it!

Apparently that is satelite tv, but I need to ask how to use it as I cant seem to figure it out.

The taps are weird over here, and the toilet bowls seem to be a LOT bigger. Wider but shorter. They seem to hold a lot of water and then they flush weirdly too. All the water completely goes and then it fills back up again.

I’m not going to show you a photo of the toilet!

This is my soaker tub and shower

After I’d got settled I went out the back of my place and down the green belt.
I saw my first squirrel!!! He was too quick for me to get a photo.


North Vancouver is a beautiful place, and it’s a lot closer to the city than I thought. I dont know how I’m going to go in winter here though, I’ll be honest. Even though the sun was out today and it wasnt windy there is this cold in the air that almost takes your breath away. It’s a little bitter. Maybe I’ll grow into it!

I went down to the local superstore supermarket thingy. It’s like a combination of big w and the old bilo supermarkets. You should see the size of the small toothpaste – its like family size! They certainly do things a lot bigger in North America!!



I still havent seen the two aisles of chocolate bars though – maybe thats just in America. Probably a good thing, dont need to be tempted! Hehe. I’m still finding it a little strange being in another country. It’s been a week since I’ve been home now and you’d think I’d be used to it. I find myself walking along and I’ll see a big yellow school bus and I’ll do a double take. It’s like I have to open my eyes again as things start to blend in. I can see someone walking along and then when they speak in a Canadian accent I have to do another double take. It’s like I have to keep telling myself ‘hang on, you’re not at home here. You’re in Canada! Things are different.’ Its unusual I know, but maybe it’ll be different in time. Then again I AM unusual so maybe it’s just right hehehe.

A bit later the babysitter came around (not for me, for their 4 y.o son) and we got to chatting over dinner. She was so lovely and even though she is only 14 I think I made a friend. One down, several more to go!
Lovely!

A night with the Canucks

Phew, what a crazy night!! Well I am back from my first every hockey match (or ice hockey as we aussies would call it) and I am a little exhausted.
Having never watched a match in my life I was a little unsure of a) what to expect and b) what was going on, but i went with it and it went well. To those of you who dont know, the canucks are the local team for Vancouver and to say that they are passionate about their team would be an understatement. It’s like – imagine there is only one AFL team for your state and the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne (Melbourne is better btw hehe). I got there early (that should be my middle name) and waited in the line for a while. It was COLD!
And then I entered and saw the ice.


And then I asked the lady to take my photo. Hello Mum! hahaha.

First off the teams come onto the ice to have a practise hit/run.

And then these machines come out to melt the ice? I presume to make it easier to skate on.

You’ll have to forgive my explainations as I really have no idea what I’m talking about. I asked the lovely woman beside me (her name was Robyn and she was there with her brother) to explain a few things.. and I accidently called the puck a ball. Hahahaha. Oops.

So, then the players came out and everyone stood for the american and canadian national anthems. The crowd went off for the Canadian one naturally.

Then the match begun, and all I was basically waiting for was the Canucks to put the puck in the net!

I couldnt believe how rough the sport was! They were always getting smashed into and hit and elbowed and clotheslined and at one point a Canuck threw an Avalanche team member over the stands and into the Canucks team bench area. HILARIOUS!
Everytime the Canucks won a point (or made a score) the crowd all stood up and cheered! It was crazy! I also like the fact that they play good music inbetween important plays! Hehe.
So after much “oooooh” and “aaaaah” -and some “boooooo” and “luuuuuuuu” the scores stood at 3 all in final time. SO what was next? Overtime! But no-one scored in the overtime at all! There were a few close misses for the Canucks though! By the way – the Canucks is pronounced Canahks and not Canoooks like I thought hahaha.

Anyway, so after the overtime came the penalty shootout!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand.. we lost. Ah well! There’s always Saturday. I really enjoyed it though, the atmosphere was great and these weird blue men appeared out of nowhere. I think they must have been special supporters but I dont know how they could see or breathe wearing those – which they wore for the whole game!!

Speaking of lost – guess who got majorly lost on the way home? Yep, me. Luckily I brought a map with me because I got the wrong bus (I knew it was the wrong bus but I thought it was going to the same place after overhearing someone else). And once I got off and realised where I was – by asking someone – I ended up walking in the wrong direction for a few blocks before asking someone else. Luckily the petrol station was really helpful and a customer told me to get on a bus – I ran for it and made it and then got home safely!
PHEW!
Time for bed. I wonder what tomorrow will bring 🙂

Opening my eyes to Vancouver

Well after a long sleep I think I am almost cured of the jetlag! Now that I remembered what it’s called my brain must be working a little better I’d say hahaha. I got up late this morning and had to throw some clothes on and run downstairs to make the most of the free breakfast. Once I’d had my fill I came back up to my room to have a shower and get ready for my day. I hate to sound like a broken record here but – what a day it has been! haha.

I’d worked out that today I wanted to visit Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium and that if I hopped on a bus I should be able to get there from my hotel pretty easy. I was right!

I’m still getting over cars driving on the wrong side of the road! Haha. Not only that but the steering wheels are on the wrong side too.. I didnt realise that. The buses in Van run kinda like trams – connected to these wire lines ontop. It’s a little unusual but it seems to work well.
At the gate to the park I was greeted by these signs.


Hahaha! Thats exactly what I wanted to see! No ‘danger snakes’ or ‘beware spiders’ – but coyotes!! I didnt see any though – infact the only wild animals I saw were these.

Boy the park was pretty! So gorgeous!! But it was really cold today – almost as cold as it gets to in Melbourne’s winter. Not quite but almost. Infact I had to buy an umbrella as it was pouring down at one stage. More on that later.


I only saw a tiny fraction of the park, but I got some amazing photos. Oh and I asked a lovely Canadian man to take this one for me.


The trees are so alive and beautiful – I just wished I had a tripod to take some fashion shots!! I had to make do with some self shots instead.

Then next thing I knew I was out the front of the Aquarium.

I was hoping it’d cosy and warm – and they have this new exhibit of the tropics that features parrots that is really humid and had me feeling hot in no time.
But I had to venture outside to the pacific dolphin and beluga whale areas – and I got to watch both shows. I hadnt really seen any other dolphins up close except bottlenoses, so that was interesting!!

They were so fast through the water!! And they did these huge jumps that I didnt manage to catch on my camera.

The belugas were a lot fatter and slower but fun to watch too!

I got to see the jellyfish that were at the airport – ok not the exact same ones but they are the same species I am pretty sure. Love the lighting!

I thought the Aquarium was set out really well – it had descriptions and photos of the habitats above each exhibit.

So yeah, I had fun. Then outside it was pouring and I had to buy an umbrella. Luckily they had a lot of choices and I got to make a stylish decision.

Oh yes I did!! Looks a little bit like my one at home doesnt it? Well it is, except that this one is retractable and much smaller, and still heavy duty!! YAY!!! Do you like it??

I took it down to the sea wall and we looked out along the water, and watched people pass us by.

And then I took the bus home and was watching out the window when I saw something in the street a block before my stop. Me being me, naturally I got off and went to investigate.

I walked down until I came to the street and here is what I saw.


A film/tv set!!! Right near my hotel!! That is so Vancouver, and so very very cool!!

I’m excited to see my first hockey game tonight, should be lots of fun!!
If you’re in the crowd – be gentle.
GO CANUCKS!!!

saying sayonara to Japan and g’day to Van

Hi! You’ll have to bear with me on this post as I am still recovering and a little fragile. It has been another crazy day and by my new timezone it’s only around 2.30pm and I have been up for 27 hours. I tried to have a little nap but even though I am exhausted and my hands are sore from wheeling around my luggage I just couldnt. I think this is what they call …ya know what I even forget what its called! Hahahahaha. Brain frazzle.
Anyway, you know what I mean.

So this morning I checked out of my hotel early and headed to the local subway.
I passed this shop on the way.


And thats the subway train. I had trouble getting a ticket because the machines were all in japanese. After much looking and thinking I just pressed a button, got a ticket to who knows where, and took it to the counter. The man then said something to me in japanese and I said Kyoto station. He said a few other things in Japanese and then gave me some money back and sent me to the platform.
I got to the main station and then got another ticket for Kyoto back to Tokyo and was sent to another platform.

And more waiting with my luggage!

I look a little tired there already! Imagine how I look now! Hahaha.
And on the train again. Here are some more passing shots – I got a window seat this time!
They seem to have these huge nets in the middle of residential areas.. I have no idea what they are.


If you get the chance to go to Japan in the cherry blossom season you must go! I cant explain to you how beautiful it is to see the pinks against the city and country backdrops. Infact, I’d like to go again and explore some other islands and less populated areas – get to the real centre of the country.

There are a heap more photos in my flickr set.

Once I got to Tokyo station it was time to get on another train to the airport.

Once I was there I got my big suitcase from storage, checked in at the boarding gate and did a little bit more shopping. I was starving and I knew that I wouldnt want to eat much on the plane, so I decided to make my last meal in Japan a special one. I was game again and I tried this dish – ramen noodles with spicy bean sprouts.

And yes, I even used chopsticks (kinda badly haha).

It was actually really nice, and I ate a whole lot of it! Yay for my last meal in Japan being traditional and a hit!

Then after another wander I went to the gate to wait to get on the plane. I took the opportunity to listen to all of the voices around me, picking up bits of stories here and there but mainly focusing on the accents. When you’re in a foreign country you seem to be drawn to familiar faces – and I found myself searching for an Aussie accent or passport. I didnt have much luck! I sat there and thought about how surreal this whole thing still is. There I was, in Japan, about to get on a plane to Vancouver. Wow!!

And before I knew it I was on the plane! I watched a couple of movies (It’s complicated and Mister Magoriums Wonder Imporium), listened to music and tried to rest. Hours later we landed and I walked off the plane and into Vancouver Airport. It’s a really nice airport! They have a fountain and some jellyfish and totem poles and everything! I went through customs and immigration and was granted a 2 year working holiday visa – officially! YAY!
So then I had to find my way to another train and got off at the nearest stop to my hotel. I looked out the window and smiled at the view. I was planning to get a taxi to my hotel from the station but ended up walking about 8 blocks with my 2 big suitcases and 2 bags. No wonder my arms were sore!!! But it was worth it for the views.
Welcome to Vancouver!!

And this is my view from the hotel.

Pretty cool eh?!! Eh! Hehehe.
Now to look through all the brochures I’ve got and my new map and work out my plans for tomorrow!

Wandering down the cherry blossom streets

Hello!! WOW what a day! I think I walked atleast 20 kms today – and boy are my feet sore. Where to begin?! I guess at the beginning! Oh by the way anyone interested in seeing more photos than the ones I put on my blog, can go here to my flickr There just isnt enough space to put them all on here!
So this morning I went down to breakfast and chose the ‘bread’ and ‘fruit yoghurt’. This is what came..


I do like my pastries! I think maybe tomorrow I’ll get the buffet as it will be my last day here! So after stocking up on that I grabbed a map from the hotel desk and headed off. I was determined to walk myself and not get a taxi… and let me tell you by the end of the day I was barely hobbling along. But I did it!

There are some really beautiful streets in Kyoto. You’ll be walking along and then there is a stream and lots of pretty trees.

I asked several people to take photos of me today. Here is one of them!

So my intention as you may remember was to go to a shrine and to find the philosophers walk. I can proudly say that I accomplished both of these things and much more!!
I felt pretty safe walking around – infact I have done so the whole time I’ve been in Japan. Even though at times I’ll look around and notice that I’m the only foreigner in the crowd it hasnt phased me too much. I’ve seen some beautiful things.


All this walking and I was only about 10 mins from my hotel. So much to see!!

Ok eventually I found a sign that said Nozonji Shrine, I was on the right track! I wandered down the road a little bit and came across this path that everyone seemed to be following – I thought at first it may have been the philosophers path but I was wrong. It was still pretty though!

So I followed the flow of traffic, jumping on the pebbles and we headed down to a waterway.

When we came out at the top I saw a sign for Kyoto Zoo! That wasnt even in my plans – nowhere in my mind at all but I found myself being drawn in. It cost me 600 yen, which is I think about $10 and it was an adventure!

Seeing Zebra and Elephants and Giraffes against the cherry blossoms was a real unexpected sight. Now, I’m not a big fan of animals in captivity and some of the cages were quite small but it was interesting to see how it differed from Melbourne Zoo.

I got to see a badger! And an Andean Condor – I couldnt believe how HUGE they were!! After some more wandering around I got this photo.

As I was walking along I realised that I have hardly said anything since being here – apart from ‘Arigato Gozaimasu’ but it didnt feel strange. I often find myself wandering along without speaking, lost in another world. Here are a few posters or strange things I have seen on the streets.

And look Uncle John, they grow your grass on the stairs here! hehehe.

My goodness! Thats a big post already and I’m far from done about my day.
Stay tuned for part two 🙂

Konnichiwa from Kyoto

I thought I’d continue with the Japanese influenced titles as – well – I am IN Japan after all! Yes, I made it to Kyoto! Hahaha. And you doubted me? Yeah, I knew you didnt.

Ok so let me continue where I left off this morning, it’s been another eventful day! Hard to believe I have technically only been in Japan for 24 hours!! I have a gazillion photos, but I will post the best on here.
So I went down to breakfast and dived into the buffet. Check out how white the egg shells are! I think they paint them – the Japanese are quite keen on perfection.

Now, perhaps I am not as adventurous as some in trying new foods – but the sausage tasted like bacon and the bacon tasted like… I dont know. The bread was a little sugarey too but hey, the croissants were awesome! Cant complain when its free! This is the view from my seat.

CHERRY BLOSSOMS!!
I was just dying to get out an explore, so when my stomach was full out I went into the street.

I wandered up and down, taking photos and taking in the sights. It was around 9am, so not many shops were open and there werent that many people around. I stumbled across this beautiful hanami sight.

I asked a nice man to take this photo for me.

I stayed there, watching the blossoms for a little while and then I headed back to the street. Here came my first connection of the day. A very handsome and well dressed young european looking man walked up to me and complimented me on my outfit. Turns out his name was Janis and he was from Amsterdam. He asked me several questions about my life. He told me he was just headed home from a night out and couldnt believe I had just woken up! Then after a bit of a chat he kissed me on both cheeks and we said goodbye. I had to stop and sit down a bit further to write in my journal about that encounter – thats the type of thing that usually happens to Kristy! Hahaha.

So after I recovered I kept walking and took a few more photos.


I wanted to go to roppongi hills and see the viewing tower but upon getting there I noticed it didnt open until 10am. Bugger! I did see the tokyo tower from the foyer though..

So I headed back to my hotel to check out and organise the train to Kyoto.. and on the way I was approached by another man. This one was a lot older, and he was Japanese. He basically invited me to a cherry blossom appreciation party he said he and his friends were having in the park. It was to be at 1pm though, and I had to get the train so I missed it. I dont know that I would have gone along if I’d been there anyway as you know I am travelling by myself (he didnt know that). So dont worry Mum I was safe!

I saw this cake on the way back to the hotel. Read the sign if you can – it was pretty cute. I think if you click on the photo you can view a bigger version.

After checking out I got another taxi to the station. This one charged me an extra 1000 yen to the one last night, so I didnt give him a tip. They have these shopping buses over here – very kawaii!

The subways and rail systems in Japan are very confusing. I got there and felt lost in the swarm of humanity again. I took this photo to show you what it’s like.

After asking a few people for help I found where I needed to be and got a ticket on the shinkansen bullet train headed to Kyoto. Then I waited on the platform and wrote in my journal!

Phew! I’ll post about the rest of my day tomorrow! Time to go get some dinner.

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