16th September, Vancouver/North Vancouver:
Free breakfast is always nice. No syrup for the waffles, though, only honey. Odd. It's Canada; there should therefore be maple syrup! Heh.
We decided to check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This surprised violetcheetah; I do not handle non-stable heights well at all. I figured that, at worst, I could close my eyes and make my mother guide me across, and the brochure showed interesting stuff on the other side.
Getting there was a bit different. The Garmin didn't want to recognize the address. I had bought a street map, and in the end, I figured out how to get there (which was really quite simple) all on my own.
I really loved the park. We looked over at the bridge from one of the history-lesson areas, and we were surprised to note that it looked much more stable than we'd assumed from the pictures. We also browsed through all the placards pointing out just how strong the bridge is, all of which helped to reassure and brace me.
As my mother puts it, "Then we stepped on the ladder and, 'Oh, shit!'" Whereas I, on the other hand, was braced and okay with it. The bridge actually had much more sway than we had seen, but I was able to move with the motion for the most part (except for the people who kept stomping along and making the swaying severe, grrr). We encountered a field meeting of the North Vancouver Rescue folks holding a training session mid-bridge, which amused me; I hadn't thought about professional field trips of that sort, but it makes perfect sense.
On the far side of the bridge, the woods were criss-crossed with boardwalks. It's mediated nature, but I was in the mood for that, and it was really beautiful. I noticed and learned things I probably wouldn't have on my own, too. (Falcons are much smaller than I thought, apparently smaller on average (by wingspan) than ravens, and Canada Geese are huge!) Mom kept likening it to Myst and Riven, and she took pictures of every single found-wood-crafted chair and bench in the place. We also went along the "Treetops Adventure", which was a series of suspended bridges up in the trees. It was all very, very cool and remarkably beautiful.
Then we had to get back. I tried to show my mother how to walk, but the group behind us kept stomping, so we couldn't really get any kind of level walk going before we had to stop for balance. Mom announced that she doesn't care for suspension bridges, prompting a nearby man to observe that she was really in the wrong place, then. She has vowed never to go on a suspension bridge again ... whereas I didn't love the bridge itself but wouldn't mind crossing it again.
(For fiction purposes, however, I'll note that even the highly-reinforced, modern-materials bridge was shaky and alarming, and they're never that sophisticated in stories!)
We got sodas and fries from their grill. The soda was user-refilled, but they have a yellowjacket problem — the first drink I filled ended up with a wasp floating in it even though I was careful. Since I come from the city that just had a woman stung by 500+ wasps-or-yellowjackets, I was not thrilled by this. Curly fries were lunch (nutrition, pfeh!).
The gift shop was a typical gift shop, though fairly extensive. A lot of nice stuff, including quite a lot of First Nations designs (many made in China or the Philippines). They weren't clear on the whole low-packaging thing, even though most of Vancouver is super-clear on the whole recycling thing: The woman checking us out was surprised I wanted to wrap the coffee mugs I was buying in the t-shirts I was buying, rather than in about 12 sheets of paper, but let me deal. She said we couldn't share a bag because the bags were too small. Then when my mother got checked out, a second woman came along to wrap her coffee mug in the 12 sheets of paper, put all her stuff in a second (plastic) bag ... and then put that bag in a gigantic paper bag. Sigh.
We drove up from there towards Grouse Mountain, but it was late in the day and overcast, so we decided not to go up. Instead we stopped off at the Capilano River Regional Park, taking pictures from a couple of different points. We walked a short stretch over the river; the paths were very well kept, and there was moss on everything. Very cool and very creepy, with the darkening sky.
After that we drove a bit east across Lonsdale, down to Marine Drive, and then all along that over to Whytecliff Park (missing the lighthouse because I took a wrong turn). Beautiful area, surely ludicrously expensive, with quite a few properties for sale. Slightly nerve-wracking drive, though. On the way back we also drove partway up Cypress Bowl Road to the first lookout, but the clouds over Vancouver were quite ominous by that point, so we called it a day ... which was a good idea, because it soon started raining.
I figured out how to shift the Garmin from 3D mode to overhead, north-normalized mode! To the relief of both of us!
We detoured around the Lion's Gate Bridge, our normal route back, because the signs warned of a 40-minute delay. Instead we went to the ... "Second Narrows Ironworkers Memorial Bridge"? All righty, then ... to drive across East Vancouver and get more of a sense of the area. And then, of course, my confident navigation had us within a few hundred meters of getting onto the Lion's Gate Bridge the wrong way, so I detoured into Stanley Park and let the Garmin guide us home.
For dinner, we decided to try out Don Guacamole's, a Mexican restaurant I'd noticed. I wanted to like them, but ... not so much. The decor is not so sterile as a Chipotle (I love Chipotle, by the way), but it was very loud somehow; the one group in the corner was deafening thanks to the acoustics. Service was slow to take our order, lightning-fast to deliver food, and slow again after that. The guacamole was served in a ... huge martini glass? dessert glass? parfait glass? ... which was cool, but it was basically just slightly mashed avocado with spicing too severe for Mom. The free chips came with four separate topping options; the presentation was beautiful, but the pico and green salsa were both too spicy for Mom, I found the red salsa not so great, and limes aren't really a topping. She got chicken tostadas; she liked the chicken but found the sauces a bit too hot (though mixing helped with that). I found the vegetarian-prepared sopes (?) entirely boring and not worth finishing. Unfortunately not recommended.
And then, amid rain, to bed.
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