Waking at 5am really goes against my natural instinct, or so I would assume. When my alarm is set for that time, my body decides that's far too late and as such I tend to wake around 4am and toss and turn for an hour. This is one of those mornings. By the time I had packed, said goodbye and thank you to an almost unconscious Sabrina, and got to the bus depot, I actually was able to get the 5:40 shuttle to the airport instead of my planned 6.10. Flight was uneventful (I did spill some coffee on someone but it wasn't hot so I only feel like PART of a jackass), and when I landed, checked my emails to see if Eva, a friend of mine from 2007-2008 season had got in contact with me. She had, and would meet me at 11 in front of London Drugs.
The time was 10:50 and I was still at the airport.
Used the number she gave me to text her I was on my way, then hauled ass downtown, care of the $9 Skytrain. It's only $2.50 to get to the airport and $8.75 to leave. That just isn't right. London Drugs is right by the Downtown station so I got there around 11:30. Waited for an hour, texted Eva again, and also got on her Facebook (it had occurred to me that her German number might not work). I decided to grab the 1pm Greyhound home.
Or so I thought.
At 1:10 pm I get a call from a strange number, and sure enough, Eva had borrowed a random person's phone to call me with the number I gave her in the email. I left the bus stop and headed over to Denman and Davie, where I found her! We sat on the beach and caught up, I still in my jeans (black) on a sunny day (25C). Sweat. Eva was in town until Saturday, then she was headed to Montreal(!) to study for 6 months. The girl she was staying with, Tanya, was working at the Fish House in Stanley Park. Only a 5 minute walk from where we were, we headed over and sat on the patio. Met Tanya and some of her workmates, 2 of whom had a) just finished their last shift, and b) were two beautiful 19 year old girls from Quebec City. Once Tanya had finished, and seeing as she had the next day off (this girl works 7 days per week, so when she parties she wants to party) she was going to sit on the beach at English Bay, have a couple cans of beer, and find a good spot for the fireworks.
The Vancouver Celebration of Light is an annual contest in which 4 countries compete for the best fireworks display. It's a huge deal - Global TV and HSBC are among the sponsors. Tonight was Mexico, and rumour had it they had the legal limit of explosives for the size of the barge from which they are detonated. I had pushed my schedule back to get the 7pm Greyhound, so after a nice chillout on the beach I said goodbye to some amazing people and headed back downtown.
At 8:15pm I began asking around my friends that live in Vancouver asking if they could put me up for the night. The 7:00 never showed, which meant that I and another guy from Whistler had to seek out accommodation. He was set - working at Chateau Fairmont in Whistler, he went across the street and booked himself a staff rate room at Hotel Vancouver. I, on the other hand had no luck with my usual suspects so was determined to follow the enormous crowd back to the beach where Eva and company were anticipating the oncoming darkness. Luckily Tanya had offered me a place to crash tonight anyway, all I had to do was find them again. You know how easily an overnight bag rolls in the sand? Especially when it has 2 weeks of clothing in it? Not well, I can tell you. Not well at all. But I found them, and the group had grown from 6 (including myself) when I left, to eventually 14 by the time everyone got there, replete with bags, bikes, towels and booze. I was so happy to be back in the company of such good people, on the beach, watching the sun set, that I had my first drink in over 2 days. I didn't care that the Pilsner was warm and sandy, it was free. I felt as though I was in a beer commercial, and it was the best damn beer I had the whole trip.
The fireworks display contestants tonight were Mexico, and you know Mexico knows how to celebrate. It was all set to music and with the buzz I had going on along with everyone else's sentiments of surprise and awe, it was phenomenal. Don't pass up this opportunity if you're in Vancouver in the summer.
Tanya had to go to a leaving party around the corner, and Eva and I had our laptops with us so we headed back to the crash pad. It was a mission; the streets were packed with drunken revellers (and one car in particular: I don't know who you were Mr. Dances to Vengaboys, but you were doing an amazing job of embarrassing your girlfriend. We on the bus salute you!), and it took us almost 2 hours to negotiate public transport and hit the hay.
I am so glad to have caught up with Eva, she's an amazing girl and a total sweetheart. She mentioned Central America in January, so maybe if the season is good to me and I stay on the wagon we'll meet up again.
And that's that, kids. I'm actually at the Greyhound station right now, watching She's Out Of My League, because frankly it's a good story and it gives me some of that schmaltzy Hollywood bullshit that I love so much. I hope you enjoyed reading this account of my party holiday as much as I enjoyed living it. (And writing it obviously. It's all about you guys.)
Next time you see me, if I'm drinking cranberry juice and downing milk thistle tablets like they're gonna rot, it's just my way of apologizing to my kidneys and liver respectively.
Quote Of The Day: I bet this is the best bus you ever missed!