09.04.2011 - 12.04.2011
Before I forget, we were told by someone in Vancouver that Monterey was also the place where they filmed 'The Bench' scene in Forrest Gump. In retrospect this explains the presence of Bubba Gump's restaurant, but as we didn't know at the time we sadly missed an excellent Tom with box of chocolates photo opportunity. Never mind. Next time.
After brekkie today we set off with Aileen for a spot of snow-shoeing. I can't tell you how excited Katie was about this, and for good reason, because it is great fun. In fact, probably the most fun you can have on snow going up hill.
Snow-shoeing is the modern day equivalent of strapping tennis rackets to your feet. We tooled up and set off up Dog Mountain - Aileen's local snow-shoeing haunt. We walked along a trail that took us through a pine forest on snow around 20ft deep. Apparently you can do the same walk in the summer on the ground and you can see the snow-shoe trail markers nailed to trees 25ft above your head.
We stopped for a snack atop the Black Dog next to a fern no bigger than your average christmas tree, but which in actual fact was probably the very tip of an enourmous pine buried in the snow. Anyway, a break in the clouds gave us a georgous view over the inlet to downtown Vancouver.
In the evening we went along to see Uncle Stuart's choir, the Capilano University Choral Ensemble, perform Vivaldi's Gloria. The main event was preceded by a few more modern pieces including an excellent interpretation of Toto's Africa. A masterpiece I have to say. Thoroughly enjoyed the show.
On Sunday we went to meet the younger two of Katie's cousins, David and Graham, for breakfast before heading to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. David taught us how to get the bus for free - Reid through and through.
(Left to Right: Katie, David, Graham, Bunch of Grapes)
The museum of Anthropology is based in the UBC campus. The builiding is held together with authentic first nation house poles - as well as concrete. The museum focuses on the first nation peoples of Canada so there are a lot of totem poles which are very beautiful and detailed as we found out during the free tour, which was considerably less boring than the first talk we went to about a Canadian artist. The museum is laid out very well and we learnt a heck of a lot about first nation people and the Kwakwaka'wakw tribe (they were our favourite due to their name and their poles were the coolest). Enough of this educational stuff- time for cocktails and more Honeyman eating!
We met Katie's eldest cousin Jennifer, Husband Ewan and Aileen and Stuart for a lovely meal that night, which we started with Tom's first tasting of Clamato juice. For those who don't know, clamato juice is tomato juice mixed with clam juice - bit disgusting. Tom had it as part of a "Caesar" cocktail in honour of our good friend Andrea, whom Tom had not believed when she had told him of the existence of this drink. Apologies Andrea, we were ignorant but now we know. In America you can get clamato juice pre-mixed with beer. Enough said.
The next day we rented bikes and cycled around Stanley Park in the sunshine. We saw more totem poles and a racoon amongst other foreigners and extortionately priced soft drinks. We then did some window shopping and headed back for a relaxing evening.
Our final day (sob sob), and we decided to go for a walk as we realised that the next 24 hours would be spent seated on a train or a bus and thought it best to stretch our legs one last time. We started at deep cove and headed along the Baden Powell trail which takes you through woodland with some remarkable views.
We were vigilant as a cougar (the animal, not a single woman over 40 who we understand can also be dangerous) had been spotted in the area the previous week. During the walk, Katie decided that she wasn't going home and had to be dragged along the path for a while - it was a miracle that we got back to the house! The new plan is to carry lots of mince through the border with America, explain that someone else gave it to us and then have to go back to Vancouver. We will let you know how it turns out. I am optimistic. Then you can all come and live with Katie's aunt and uncle and there will be crumble for everyone.
Today we also learnt that Canada is claiming that cheese rolling and chasing is a traditional Canadian sport - pah! I think they will find that they have stolen that sport from Gloucester where they have been rolling cheese long before Canada existed. Fear not, the matter has been added to Tom's complaints letter list and will be dealt with asap.
I'll sign off with a couple of photos of our base for the last week or so, Aileen and Stuart's beautiful house in North Vancouver. The second pic is the view from our bederoom at the front of the house - not bad eh?
ps FYI- there actually are cats in America. The streets are also filled with cheese, but it is not nice cheese.