Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 1: Visiting Vancouver

We left for the airport from Valle around 12:30pm together with the folks but in 2 separate cars. The traffic was light so we got to the airport will lots of time to spare. Went through several security checks. It was pretty cumbersome to put on and off my 16-year old Timberland hiking boots. These pair have seen better days. This is probably the last trip that it will take with my feet. I'm retiring it afterwards.

While waiting for our flight, we spotted Bob Arum (Manny Pacquiao's boxing promoter) and his wife. They are apparently taking the same flight PR 106 that we're taking. The plane flies first to Vancouver and then proceeds to Las Vegas. The flight departure was delayed by about an hour due to late arrival of the aircraft from Honolulu.

The actual flight was about 12-hrs. I sat with mom, while Cols sat with the kids at the first row of the cabin section. Ethan was restless most of the way, while eating airline food was a challenge for Caitlin. In-flight movie was Julia Robert's Eat Pray Love. The projector quality was so poor though that I was better off watching Leonardo DiCaprio's Inception (which I might add -- is very difficult to comprehend in one sitting) on the laptop before getting some shut-eye.

We arrived in Vancouver 12:50pm same day. Caitlin finds the international dateline thing very amusing. We arrived in our destination at an earlier time from when we left Manila. Vancouver Airport (YVR) is very nice and spacious. Makes one realize how pathetic our NAIA airports are (even T3) in comparison.

We split up with folks as they proceeded to the domestic terminal for their transfer to Winnipeg, while we went to the rental car parking. I booked for an standard SUV, but the Budget guy sales-talked me into getting a full-sized Ford SUV. He said that when it snows hard, the highway patrol do not allow 2-wheel drive vehicles to drive up to Whistler. Since that is the highlight of our Vancouver trip, I did not want to gamble. Wrong mistake. That doubled my budget after he added insurance, car seats, etc. to about USD700 for the 3 days. (In hindsight, I should have stuck with the much cheaper standard SUV. There really small cars going up and down the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler!)

I didn't rent a GPS unit anymore and just followed my Yahoo Maps instruction to get us to Sutton Place in Burrard Street right in downtown Vancouver. After settling our stuffs down, we went looking for Walmart to get snow boots for the kids but ended up in the neighboring Superstore instead. Got the snow boots for about USD20. Stopped by a Chinese restaurant on the way home. The kids do not go for western food. Thankfully, there are so many Asians in Vancouver (supposedly a third of the population) that finding Chinese/Cantonese food was not a problem.

We reached back the hotel past 8pm. Everyone was dead tired and went to sleep.

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