I usually travel alone.  This fact was never a result of a conscious choice.  It just sort of ended up that way.  Friends that I would’ve liked to travel with never expressed much interest in foreign places and I’ve refused to let that get in the way of me doing what I want to do.  Dan is the lone friend that was the exception.

When I was considering what to do after my work’s annual conference in Los Angeles, I learned that – because NAFSA was paying for my coast-to-coast trip – I could purchase a one-way ticket to Vancouver from LAX for $84 and I promptly decided that a week in British Columbia sounded ideal.  I called Dan, asked if he wanted to join me, and then we were all set.

I arrived in Vancouver around 9 p.m. and swiftly headed towards the Skytrain to take me downtown.  Airports are usually all the same to me but Vancouver’s airport merits a special mention.  When you have a waterfall in the middle of passport control, you’re doing something right.  As I would soon realize, this was just the first example of Vancouver’s stunningly beautiful infrastructure.

Dan had arrived in Vancouver from Seattle 2 days prior to my arrival.  As such, he had already become quite familiar with the city and after exchanging initial greetings, he recommended that we had to some lounge in Yaletown.  Running on 4 hours sleep, it took a lot of courage to muster the will to go out for a few drinks but it was a feat I was able to accomplish.

The following morning, I got the tour.  “This is the waterfront…this trail goes along the harbor to Stanley Park…there’s a really good coffee place up this way.”  It was like that for most of the day but all I could really keep saying all day is “this is the nicest city I’ve ever seen.”  And it was the truth!  Vancouver is gorgeous in a manner that is just kind of embarrassing to whatever city you hail from.

After the tour came the drinking.  Finally having attained that vacation mindset, it was good to kick back, stroll the city, and sample B.C.’s finest beer.  We were certainly also enabled by the favorable exchange rate.  It was as if the entire city was 25% off.

The next day I had arranged a meet-up with Katie (the same Katie from the India posts) and her boyfriend.  They were kind enough to drive in from the suburbs and take us out to dinner, show us one of the beaches at sunset, and treat us to some delicious cake.

Unfortunately, Dan had to go get on with his life as a doctor and fly back to Philadelphia so our overlapping time in Vancouver was brief.  Before he left for the airport, however, we decided to go to Granville Island.  There we started with more delicious coffee and after a few hours relaxing and talking, we went to Granville Island Brewing Co. for some poutine and beer.  A fitting send-off, no doubt.

I spent another 2 days in Vancouver back on my own before heading off to Victoria to finish my itinerary.


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