Waking up this morning turned out to be easier than I had thought, despite the fact that I went to bed at 3.30 am last night. I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm rang at 8.15 am, checked my emails and then took a shower. I didn’t have much time left before the shuttle bus to the airport departed, so I had a quick breakfast at Starbucks located three blocks away from the hotel (Best Western Gold Rush Inn). On my way there, I saw the Mexican family I have spent time with in the last three days, so I wave them goodbye in the still dark sky. They waved back. Then I had a quick 10 minutes breakfast, sitting alone in the table for four person.
Whitehorse from the Air at Sunrise
The shuttle arrived on time at 10.30 and after picking me up, we stopped at few other hotels to pick up more passengers. I was quite surprised arriving at the airport. Although I arrived at the same airport three days ago, I barely recognized the airport I went through. The airport is a simple building, quite small for the scale of international airport (the only international ﬂight was from Germany in the summer). The waiting lounge at the gate, however, was pleasant to sit in. There is a big window across the whole lounge facing the tarmac and mountains, through which I spent most of my time taking time-lapse video while listening to the music.
As far as I knew, there was only one dock for an airplane that connects directly to the airport terminal and I think it is reserved only for Air Canada, because I saw Air North ﬂight passengers descended through the stairs and walked to the terminal. Air Canada airplane’s fuel, however, was supplied by a truck with Air North logo on it. During one hour of waiting in the lounge, I saw only three ﬂights that were either departing or arriving at the airport.
If you are a photographer like me, you would want to book your flight seat next to a window because after taking off, the landscape in the next twenty minutes or so was really gorgeous. There are countless snowcapped mountains and lakes visible from the air. The landing on Vancouver wasn’t that bad either, although it was cloudy when the plane approached the city.
Vancouver at Night, Taken from Londsdale Quay
Unlike Whitehorse, the distance between the airport and downtown Vancouver is quite long and took about 20-30 minutes on a CAD 35 taxi ride. Apparently, Vancouver is the only major metro area in North America without ride hailing service, which is disappointing for the tourism industry.
Beach Chair Facing the City at Londsdale Quay
I checked in at the Ramada Hotel in Granville Street, a nice and comfortable hotel located in the downtown area, although it is a little bit farther from the center than Fairmont or Best Western. When I was checking in, the sky was getting dark and I was worried that I would miss the blue hours, so I rushed to the sea-bus terminal to go to Londsdale Quay, north of Vancouver, to photograph the cityscape at night from the other side. I missed catching the sea-bus by 1 minute, so I have to wait for another 15 minutes for the next one, hence missing the blue hour.
Lovelocks at Londsdale Quay
Lovelocks at Londsdale Quay
Nevertheless, the cityscape was great even at dark. At around 6 pm, I crossed the water again using the same sea-bus, then walked toward Gastown where all the chic restaurants are located. The architecture at Gastown is influenced by the old European style with its bricks and dark-colored paint, which reminds me of the Old Port in Montreal but with a slightly modern look.
Gastown at Night
Walking east through Gastown, a right turn (to the south) brings me to Chinatown. Unfortunately, I passed through a seedy part of the town known as DTES where all the drug addicts are congregating. I passed through three blocks walking quickly, avoiding eye contact with anyone. It was pretty clear to me that I need to get out of the neighborhood, but what intrigued me was the lack of interest they have in anyone passing by. Later I learned that they might have been preoccupied by their own things and are not hostile to passerby. My tour guide the next day told me that crime rate was rather low considering the situation, but be cautious nevertheless when walking around the area (or avoid going there altogether).
Olympic Village, Vancouver, at Night
After 15 minutes doing accelerated walk, I stopped at McDonalds to rest my feet and drank a lemon tea. About twenty minutes after I sat, girl in her 20s approached me, explaining that she was dropped in the city (don’t know by whom) and was a
drug addict, trying to call her dad to pick her up. She asked to use my phone. Of course I declined and left the place not long after.
Olympic Village at Night
I continued walking to the Olympic Village, where a nice jogging track/sidewalk is located next to the river. I set up my tripod and camera while listening to a semi-drunken musician singing Christmas songs, being in his own world. I spent a good one hour taking photos across the river. And in order to get back to the city, I had to walked through the track until I came across the closest bridge that connects to Yaletown.
I was too tired to do anything at around 11 pm, so I headed back to the hotel, passing through Granville Street where people are still jostling around. Knowing that I have to wake up early for city tour tomorrow morning, I took a quick hot shower and went to a very deep sleep.