It's a very good thing that we decided not to walk to Stanley Park on Wednesday, as, according to google maps, that would have taken an extra 2 hours return-trip and as it was we walked for 7 solid hours that day. I believe we successfully burned off the meat orgy from the night previous.
The Vancouver Aquarium was pretty incredible. We watched belugas being fed and dolphins being trained and spent far too much time squealing at the sea otters. Did you know that if you placed your thumb on a sea otter's coat, there would be more hair under your thumb than you have on your entire body? Or that sea otters eat 1/4 their body weight in fish and squid and clams each day? Sign me up to be a sea otter in my next life! The turtles, frogs, and bats were really cool too.
Then I had the bright idea of walking around the seawall the opposite direction from whence we came, in order to see the ocean point before getting back to where we had parked. And hour and a half later, we started getting a wee bit panicky as there was still no sign of the parking lot and we realized that often the seawall was separated from the road (and the car parks) by impenetrable forest and sheer cliffs. Fortunately, after a bit of false backtracking and retracing our steps, we stumbled upon our car, headed back to the hotel for a much needed glass of wine, and headed out again, this time on foot.
In Chinatown, we fought off, in our polite Canadian way, the aggressive salespeople at the gift shop in the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. The gardens were much smaller than I imagined they would be, and quite lovely. The Chinese gag gift shop down the street was pretty amazing, although there was a perplexing abundance of Linus Van Pelt and Snoopy paraphernalia.
We then had to cross East Hastings Street (the sad mean streets of Vancouver) in order to get to Gastown. The Spousal Unit thought we intended to actually walk along Hastings, put on his game face and started to march determinedly through the centre of the crack deals.
Gastown was a bit of a disappointment, although we did see a lot of design places, including one featuring elephant-shaped chairs that were mounting each other in a decidedly sexual fashion. Gastown is along the waterfront, but the view is entirely taken up by cargo containers. Now I realise that Vancouver is a working port and that in order for me to get the goods that I expect, the ports need to function, but I think that Gastown should not be touted as a waterfront tourist destination.
We did stop for a coffee, where the Resident Offspring partook of some accidental underage drinking in the form of a specialty coffee. She took advantage of the situation by then immersing herself in the most jammed to the rafters used bookstore I had ever seen. The Spousal Unit left to go back to the hotel, while I waited outside, as the store gave me claustrophobia. We passed through the architecturally amazing Moshe Safdie-designed library on the way back to the hotel, so that made up for it for me.
We had a fantastic seafood supper at Coast restaurant in Yaletown (where we should have wandered instead of Gastown), loads of fresh crab legs, oysters, mussels, lobster, sushi, clams - all chilled and served in a wok mounted on steaming dry ice. Very impressive entrance it made.
We then waddled off to our hotel to get ready for our ferry trip over to Vancouver Island in the morning, pleased with ourselves and our ability to pick a good restaurant.