I went back to the USA last April 2008 to attend the annual MVP Summit. I wrote about attending the summit last March 2007 in a previous post which is usually held in Seattle and Redmond, Washington. For this year, I joined my friend Chester prior to the event who will also be attending the same events. He left Manila days earlier to visit his relatives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which is a few hours drive from Seattle.
Whenever possible (and if price permits), I always wanted to travel via Philippine Airlines. Aside from earning flight miles, it is very convenient especially for those who are taking trans-Pacific flights from Manila since they have direct service to USA or Canada without stopovers in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan or any other countries. Since their flights are usually late in the afternoon or night, they offer early check-in to passengers. My flight was still later in the afternoon so I checked-in the morning and went to work until lunch time. When I went back and boarded the plane, I was surprised to know that I was upgraded to business class. It was my second time to be in this service, first was during my trip to Beijing, but this is the first long-haul flight I had in business class so I'm so grateful for the upgrade!
After more than 12 hours of flight time, we arrived at the Vancouver International Airport. Chester and his cousins fetched me from the airport which is 30 minutes away from their home.
Welcome statues at the arrival area
They live in a neighborhood nearby downtown Vancouver. I am so thankful that Chester's relatives allowed me to stay in their lovely home for a couple of days.
A few hours after my arrival, we went around to explore the city. First stop was the Sunset Beach.
Neaby is the Vancouver AIDS Memorial
Also in the area is an Inukshuk, a man-made stone monument believed to be used by the natives as a landmark or reference for navigation.
Going around Vancouver, we also passed by the Marine Building, one of the most famous landmarks of the city and most recently gained more popularity as the location of the Daily Planet headquarters in Smallville TV show.
A few minutes walk would take you to Canada Place.
Late afternoon views from the Canada Place
Walking further took us to Gastown, a historical area which later on became to be what is known today as the city of Vancouver.
Today, Gastown is looked at as a vintage area of the city where lots of smaller old structures still stand though some are not necessarily substantial of age.
A famous landmark in the area is the steam-powered clock.
We also went to Stanley Park, said to be one of the best and largest parks in North America. Totem Poles at Brockton point is among the famous attractions inside the park.
Vancouver skyline view from Stanley Park
We also stopped by the Prospect Point, still inside Stanley Park, to see the beautiful sunset.
On the way back, we passed by the Telus World of Science, a science center, not to visit the exhibits but to get collectible pennies. Unfortunately the center is already closed when we got there.
I took a shot of the Vancouver skyline that night from the science center. After this, we already headed back home.
Like a true local, Chester brought me around the city by commute the next day. He introduced me to SeaBus, a ferry service between Waterfront and Lonsdale Quay.
In Lonsdale Quay is a public market, offering fresh produce and other items to visitors and locals alike.
There were also a few parks and school around. Before we went back, we explored the surroundings for some things to do.
Vancouver skyline from Lonsdale Quay
Cathedral, name of this work of art
After an hour, we went rode the SeaBus again to go back to downtown. I took the chance to buy something for my mom at a department store and when we exited, we chanced upon Vancouver Art Gallery and because we have nothing else to do, we decided to go inside and check the galleries.
The other side of the facade of Vancouver Art Gallery
In front of the building, located in a smaller park is the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics countdown.
On the way back, we passed by a very beautiful building structure. It was the Vancouver Public Library.
Later that day, we heard an anticipated mass at St. Mary's Parish, a couple of blocks away from where we are staying.
Although I was only in the city for a couple of days sidetrip, I still find it a very nice place to visit. While going around the different areas, it seems to me that Vancouver is a place where one would like to settle down and live. In general, I feel very at-home in the city and everything seems to be peaceful and in order.
More pictures are available in multiply. Just add me as a friend to view them.