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So Long January!

While it may not be the rainiest January that Vancouver has ever seen, it has rained a lot according to this chart. For those of us who are metric challenged, that translates into nearly 10 inches! And they told me that November was the rainiest month.

Nonetheless, in spite of the weather forecast, this lucky couple accepted an invitation from Giovanni and Pina for breakfast and sightseeing on Sunday.
As a rule, I am terribly unphotogenic, when Giovanni turned the camera on us, after I took their photo,
I was pleasantly surprised with the results. As a refresher, this sweet couple owns the furniture making business that supplies all of the Earls restaurants. Both of them were raised here in Italian families and they once took us out to dinner some months ago. After picking us up at the condo, as we were driving through downtown, I asked "where are were going?" The Pan Pacific was his reply. Perhaps it is too much to ask that anyone recognize that name, so I'll go ahead and tell you why it was so coincidental. Six months, pretty much to the day, we arrived in Vancouver and spent our first few days in that hotel. Seriously, what are the chances that he would take us there when there are a gazillion hotel restaurants in town? I mentioned, once we were seated, that it was bittersweet coming there because, when last we did, Baxter was with us. If you can imagine, only three days prior, they had to put down their 16 year old cat, so we were able to console one another. :(

After breakfast, in the pouring rain I might add, he drove us all over showing us neighborhoods we'd only read about. After a bit, we arrived in New Westminster, a town we'd gone through on the Skytrain a few weeks ago. Once the capital of the new born Colony of British Columbia, it is a town with a rich history and historic buildings. Asking if we minded walking in the rain, we said that we were now pretty used to it, so no, not a bit. Our destination was a coffee shop on the bottom floor of a former bank. Turns out, they own that floor.
He also stopped at an Italian bakery in Burnaby, insisting on sending us home with a box of real-deal pastries. Our tour included a drive down Commercial Drive, that I have now learned, was formerly home to many Italian immigrants, so many that, the light posts are adorned with "Little Italy" banners. When they dropped us off at 3 in the afternoon we could not thank them enough for a very fun day that would have been way less so without their company.

Around two in the afternoon, the rain finally quit on Monday and you know who went for a walk. And, by now, you can guess where that walk led to. In a round about way, I made it to Stanley Park, although when I got to this intersection on Beach Avenue, my hopes were not too high as to it being a dry walk. I promise, there are trees and such behind all of that gray. Mountains too.
I actually took a right at the light, roaming a bit in the West End because I love seeing the wide variety of housing options there. Every time I wander I notice something new, and on this, by now, rainy day, a low rise apartment building, completely covered in tile, caught my eye. I think it would make an excellent quilt, don't you?
Because so much rain fell on Sunday and Monday morning, water was pooling all over the place in Stanley Park. Unlike our sandy soil in Florida, where the water generally drains quickly, here it can take days to seep into the ground.
You can bet I visited the birdy area where I saw someone give the GBH a piece of bread. Yup, the whole piece.
My appreciation for Wood Ducks grows daily. Their colors are so magnificent.
I got super excited seeing a new type of duck that was hard to photograph as it swam around quickly and then would dive down for a bite to eat before emerging again. This would be a Common Merganser my friends.
Not that I knew that when I saw it, so I asked a passing woman if she liked birds and if so, did she know what it was called. She did tell me, however, I must admit I promptly forgot the name as we began talking, and eventually walking, together. We had to take a detour on our way to see where the beavers live because of all the ponding water.
Normally a path along the banks of Lost Lagoon, Marilyn told me she's lived here for years and had never seen it like this before. The ducks don't even know it is not the pond!
Marilyn lives on the 25th floor of the tower on the far right and walks in Stanley Park most days so her knowledge of the area was invaluable to this newbie. After showing me the beaver area, we made our way back towards the seawall and home. By golly, as we were getting close to the seawall, I began seeing some light in the sky, the sight of which made me happy once we got to the water.
It is only natural to point your camera towards the sun, however, oftentimes that sun does a number behind your back, and in this case, the midnight blue sky was caused by that setting sun. Highlighting some of the apartment buildings in the West End, I love that green grass caused by you know what.
Parting ways here, I continued walking along Beach as dusk fell. It has been some time since I saw one of the towers lit up like this from the setting sun.
I can't say that being this close to the condo was not a welcome sight because it was. Although I wear several raincoats, one on top of the other, it still feels good to take all of that off once inside. I was being lazy that day, not wanting to use my umbrella, so I put my very full backpack on UNDER my raincoat. Can you imagine what I looked like? No doubt some young person passing me by thought I was a crazy old lady and for good reason!

Once we are home again, it may take me a while to get used to having to consider my appearance  again. Being anonymous has some perks! Speaking of back home, about one month from today we will be in Orlando for Bill and Fallon's wedding. Actually our entire family will be together for the first time in quite a while.  Now that is something to look forward to.

yours truly,

Gail
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