04/06/2013 - 06/06/2013
Our journey from Banff to Vancouver involved a 13 hour overnight bus. And it was even less fun than that sounds! We'd foolishly assumed that on such a long journey we'd get one of the nice blue Greyhound buses with wi-fi and plug sockets. But no, we got one of the old white buses without wi-fi and plug sockets. It was also pretty full on arrival in Banff, so we couldn't even get a seat together. I sat in one empty seat and Jamie was in the one behind me. He was sat next to an Australian girl, who he got chatting to. One of the first things he said was how he'd been hoping we might be able to get 2 seats each, in order to spread out and try to sleep, but instead we weren't even able to sit next to each other. I thought this was almost guaranteed to elicit a response of "do you want me to switch with your girlfriend so the two of you can sit together?", but no, nothing. I guess she didn't want to give up her window seat, which I can understand as they do make it slightly easier to get some sleep, but still, I'd have given up my seat if things had been reversed. The girl next to me didn't offer either, though she looked bundled up and half-asleep already. So it wasn't the greatest start to the journey - disappointed by the lack of wi-fi and selfless individuals, I was sat without much to do but half listen to Jamie chatting to the Australian girl whilst a creepy couple opposite kept kissing really loudly, as if to amplify my frustration at not being able to snuggle up to someone in order to aid the sleeping process (the girl next to me might have objected). Oh and that couple opposite weren't creepy because of the kissing, there was just a general creepy vibe about them. Jamie saw the guy take photos of a car crash, which is pretty damn creepy. I also saw the woman picking her nose and then inspecting the contents, which was more unpleasant than creepy, but still. In order to keep my sanity, I used the first part of the journey to start writing a short story. It wasn't the most imaginative short story, seeing as it was set on a Greyhound bus, but it provided some necessary catharsis. I didn't finish it and I doubt I will (I'm not even sure I want to re-read it), but it killed some time and made me feel better.
After a brief stop at a petrol station, 2 hours in, we got back on the bus and attempted to get some sleep. I'd only sleep for brief little patches, but I was still in a general sleepy haze when at about 3am we stopped at a bus station and were told that we had to get off the bus for 20 minutes while it underwent maintenance. It wasn't that there was some unforeseen problem (as far as I know), it's just routine that they wake everyone up and make them stand in a bus station for 20 minutes in the middle of the night. We both vowed to never take another overnight Greyhound bus.
I don't remember much about the rest of the journey, but it was a relief to arrive in Vancouver. We checked into C&N Backpackers, where we were greeted by a picture of a waving otter, which slightly made up for the bus journey from hell. The Backpackers was ok - it wasn't hugely dissimilar to the one we'd stayed at on our previous trip to Vancouver. The guy at reception was brilliant and gave us loads of tips on places to go, plus our room was pretty decent (aside from a few bugs).
Our first trip to Vancouver was on our way back from New Zealand at the end of 2011. I liked the city, but not as much as I was expecting to - it was my first trip to Canada and I'd heard so many amazing things about it that it's unsurprising I was a little underwhelmed. Plus it's quite a big culture shift from New Zealand, so maybe I needed some adjustment time. Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed my 2nd visit - I was disappointed we'd not decided to stay longer. Some of the things we did while we were there:
- We went up to the 42nd floor of The Empire Landmark Hotel, where there's a revolving restaurant and lounge. We had a drink and enjoyed the moving view. This was one of the recommendations from the guy at the hostel reception.
- We went over to Lynn Canyon to see the suspension bridge and waterfalls.
- We travelled over to Wreck Beach, by the University of British Columbia, as it was recommended by a friend of Jamie's. It was a nice place to watch the sun dip and stick our hands in the pacific ocean. It's a 'clothing optional' beach, but thankfully most people had opted to keep their clothes on (as did we!). There were a few naked men about, including one who was weirdly only half-naked - weird because it was the bottom half. Whatever floats your boat I guess.