Going to Vancouver, BC for a day trip isn’t that outrageous of an activity for me. It’s only about a three-hour drive from Seattle, depending on traffic and the wait time at the US-Canada border, of course.
My husband and I decided to go up to Vancouver on the Fourth of July because we had the day off and were hoping the typical places we go to (the aquarium, ramen shops, etc.) wouldn’t be as crowded on a weekday since it wouldn’t be a holiday in Canada.
It was still a bit crowded. Oh, well.
We spent the morning saying “hi” to our otter friends as well as seeing other animals at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Bryce was able to correctly identify Rialto, the no longer baby sea otter that was rescued from Rialto Beach in Washington state and had a brief stay at the Seattle Aquarium before going to his permanent home at the Vancouver Aquarium!)
From Stanley Park, we walked in town towards Robson Street to have ramen for lunch. Of course, the first place I had picked had a huge line out the door! (And, this was at like 2:30 pm! It wasn’t even prime lunch time!) We found another ramen restaurant nearby — not that that is very hard to do in Vancouver. There are so many more options compared to Seattle! — and this one had a much shorter wait.
The ramen we had was chicken broth-based ramen. Not the typical shoyu ramen that I love. This was better than I thought it would be, but I still love my shoyu!
After lunch, we headed towards English Bay Beach. I’ve run the Vancouver Marathon a few times so I identify areas in Vancouver based on the race course or where we spent the night for the race. As we approached the beach, I realized that this was where my parents had cheered along the course for us the last time we did this race six years ago!
There were two guys that were practicing some acrobatic moves on the grass lawn in front of the Inukshuk. We sat on a nearby bench to rest for a bit. There was a man sitting on another bench to our right. He randomly turned our way and tells us that the two guys are at this park pretty frequently. Bryce and I smile and respond with a short “Cool.” Nothing more.
The next thing we know, this man starts talking to us — still from his bench — on how he can’t believe these guys haven’t “gone viral” yet. We awkwardly laugh.
Now, this should have been our cue to get up and leave.
We didn’t. And then it became too late.
We lost our window.
The man walks over and is now in between his bench and our bench. I sort of blacked out the conversation because he talked at us for nearly 20 minutes.
We tried responding with one-word responses whenever he asked questions. As soon as he found out we were Americans, he got on his soap box and would not stop talking.
We learned he used to live in San Francisco but then he left and came to Canada. He went on and on about the state of politics in America. He told us about his one friend, Jen, who is in the middle of a divorce.
At times, he started getting really worked up about the topic he was discussing that he was almost yelling. Poverty, school shootings, racism … he covered almost everything. I really wanted to just get up and leave, but was a little worried he may get mad at us for leaving.
Finally he went to pick up his backpack! Yay, he’s leaving first!
He lingered and kept ranting about how awful society in the US is. (Yes, we know. We know …)
After what felt like an hour, Bryce politely interrupted the man and told him we had to be on our way.
“Oh, OK! You guys should emigrate to Canada!” he said, as he still continued to walk with us.
I really thought he was going to keep walking with us, potentially to our car.
We awkwardly laughed and said good-bye for the second time. He finally hung back and stopped walking alongside us.
Once he was further back I turned to Bryce and said, “What just happened? What was that??”
I was honestly worried that this man was going to pop up and start talking to us again. I kept checking behind my shoulder as we walked back to Stanley Park where we had parked our car.
“It made for a memorable trip though, right?” Bryce said.
Yes, I definitely won’t forget that.