Leaving Vancouver

I was away for most of March staying in Vancouver and Whistler with Su all the time, returning early in the morning on Good Friday. While we were away, we kept in touch with friends in HK and elsewhere mainly through our hand phones which were more than adequate for most purposes. I was hoping to be able to share the blogs I had written while I was in Whistler using my tried and tested Lenovo S10e which had served me well for the past 15 years. Alas, technology had overtaken the device and Whistler Hilton no longer ran a Business Centre as such, implying that my written blogs would remain unpublished and archived maybe for the sequel of my memoir if it would be produced. In any case, Su had posted sufficient graphics and narratives in real times so that I would content myself with one simple wrap-up blog, focusing on the last leg of our month-long travels.

Personally, I had treasured up quite a bit in the heart during the month. We slept a lot, rested a lot, ate and drank a lot, and skied a bit, Su more than me of course. More specifically, I had time for introspection and reflection, which would somehow impact on the mind, one way or other. We had promised our friends in YVR and Whistler that we wouldn’t wait another four years to turn up at their shores the next time. We probably would.

On our last day in Whistler, we were met up by Stephen Lo who came to collect us to visit Joan – widow of our ski instructor Jim who passed away in June 2020 – in Squamish en route to our next stop which would be Vancouver. Stephen had come in his one-year old EV equipped with a high-end sound system. It was a very pleasant drive and the first time we did it in a private car, as opposed to a bus or a coach that we normally took for the trip. Highway 99 – or more picturesquely known as sea to sky highway – was almost without snow either side and traffic was light. It was somewhat misty though in places due probably to the rain and early Spring weather. We stopped for coffee five minutes before we hit Judd Road where Joan’s house was and had a rest. Joan was visibly overwhelmed on seeing us. Our last meeting was more than five years ago, if not longer. She showed us the pictures and the special booklet printed for Jim’s wake and offered us tea and cakes. No sooner had we had our first sip than Stephen and Joan discovered their common Boltonian root – Joan had grown up in Bolton while Stephen did his high school there.  It was a very pleasant and emotive visit for all sides and we all promised to meet again somehow.

The trip to Granville Island Hotel was equally pleasant and for which we were extremely thankful. Stephen left us his address in North Vancouver and told us he would be ready for our visit later in the day and before 5 pm. We were indeed gratuitously feted by Stephen, his wife Brenda, his daughter Clara and their dog Winston which was a Golden Doodle. Stephen showed us round his house, including his special collection of vintage wines. It was raining, so we had to be content with eating inside the house.  Su fell over Winston’s affection and playfulness, while I was more than content with the food and wine.

The following day, Louis Kwan came to the Hotel to pick us up for lunch with the Wah Yan classmates at an Indian restaurant on Cambie and West 19th. We met Francis Tsui and his wife Sylvia, Louis Wu and Josephine, Louis Lo and Louisa, Johnny Lo and Betty, and Patrick Wun, had the obligatory photos and plenty of good food. Louis took us back to Granville Island where we picked up some clams and groceries before taking a cab to Eagle Harbour Road in West Vancouver to meet Brian Nip. It was a very sunny day and I had to be chilled with some local white. We were joined by Brian’s son Jonathan and his buddy Willie; and together we had another great evening.

That brought us to the last day of our trip which began with some in-room food prepared ingeniously by my queen of make-shifts, involving a water kettle and the heated iron. I would spare you the other details. Bonnie came over to the hotel and we walked to the market on the Island for food, with Su’s travelling chef’s kit. Bonnie is 25 years my junior. She and her families – three children and husband Stanley – have now happily settled, and she was looking to setting up her career. There was so much to catch up, so much so that she forgot to pick up her car after the two hours allowed. She hurriedly went to pick up her car and the ticket which would cost her CAN$45 before taking us to Stanley Park. Su was determined to look at the cherry blossoms and take some pictures. Bonnie off-loaded us in a safe zone and wished us luck for the journey back to the hotel and onwards. She left and it began to rain, which got harder and heavier. We did take some pictures in the rain, but getting transport back could be a problem. Fortuitously, we found that we were very close to the Vancouver Rowing Club which is a reciprocal club of our ABC at home and for which we had arranged for permission to use their facilities. We arrived at the reception, somewhat drenched, but were quickly introduced to the Club Manager Michelle who received us warmly and showed us round the club with genuine hospitality. Most importantly, she helped us get a taxi back to the hotel. It began to clear up when the taxi arrived and we arrived the hotel safely and happy. Su decided to make our mark with a last meal at Dockside – the signature restaurant at the hotel – before we left, and we did. The trip to the airport was uneventful, as was the flight back, except that it was something like 14 hours and a half, or three hours more than the inbound flight.

I wish all of you had a peaceful Easter and would enjoy the bliss and happiness that Easter would bring.

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