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In the Meantime

Judging by how quickly the last week has passed, it won't be long before we are on the road again, heading back to rainy Florida.  And while it is not because I won't be happy to pick up our life in Orlando again, I would be lying if I said I was entirely ready to leave this beautiful part of the world.  Let's have a look at some of the beauty, shall we?

One thing I will miss is the "big sky", as I call it. Not entirely true though, because come October, that big sky will feel like a gray blanket pulled over the city, but for now it is glorious.
We have been super busy, since last we met, with both my usual wanderings, Canada Day, and family in town! Before they arrived, however, I made my way to Queen Elizabeth park where the flower beds have recently been replanted, so none of that to see, but oh how I love the trees!
Plus, the sunshine which had been in short supply of late. Mostly the mornings, and well into the afternoon have been cloudy, however, around 4 the sun makes an appearance. And with all that cloud cover comes chilly temperatures, ranging from 55 when we wake to 68 when the the sun at 9:15. I know that my sweaty family in Florida can't believe that I am still wearing a jacket every day and nor can I!

Lisa's daughter Amanda, along with her husband Matt and their darling seven month old daughter, Eliza, came for a visit. Well, actually, he was coming for both a conference and a visit. We were so thrilled to meet our new grandniece who, although they came to Orlando for Bill and Fallon's wedding, was not in attendance, thus we had never had the pleasure of meeting her. That has been now been rectified! Amanda and I agreed to meet up to go to the aquarium, a place I'd only visited during my two day visit here four years ago. What was I waiting for??? It was just as remarkable as I'd remembered.
Lord, have mercy, the jellyfish! Years and years ago, Matt visited the Atlanta aquarium and his jellyfish photographs had me mesmerized, and with good reason as they make for a fantastic photographic subject.
There are at least five large tanks with different kinds of jellyfish and they are sure the crowd pleaser as it was sometimes difficult to get up close. We persevered.

Stopping for a bit to feed Eliza, I took this photograph once she was done. Isn't she the cutest???
Speaking of cute, we fell in love with the Sea Otters who sleep on their backs while floating around. Here are some other facts about these fascinating mammals, my favorite of which is that they dine while floating on their backs, using their belly for a table.
Parting ways around 4 in the afternoon, I had just enough time to freshen up before meeting Bruce and some of the young women from the office for drinks and snacks at Earls. Then we did it again on Friday night, taking Amanda and Matt there for dinner as we wanted to show them what brought us here. They have lived away from Orlando for years now and had never seen the Earls that Bruce built in Orlando. Eliza was perfect, as was everything that night.
Saturday morning was gloomy, however, they wanted to see Granville Island, after which time I met them at the ferry landing, bringing them to see our place. And the view, of course. Earlier I'd been perusing the map, trying to figure out our return journey route, so when these two super smarties came, we not only spent time admiring Eliza, we also had some fun with explorer trivia. They did anyway, as I played the role of Alex Trebec while the rest made their guesses as to questions such as how big is Hudson Bay? Matt regaled us with a story about how during elementary school he once dressed up as Henry Hudson for an explorers assignment. Of course, there really is no better entertainment than watching a baby is there?
When I looked at these photos later on I realized she was waving goodbye, or I like to think she was, as we probably won't be seeing her again for some time to come. Leaving here, they went to do more city exploring while Bruce and I went in the opposite direction to meet up with Gregg and Zarita at Craft in the Olympic Village. What an interesting couple they are, having made some remarkable vacation journeys around the world. Then too, they were both born and raised in Canada, he, on a tiny farm in rural Manitoba, and she in Alberta. Vancouver is a mecca for smart young Canadians and these two fit that bill.
You may recall that one of Bruce's tasks during our stay was mentoring Zarita and that he has done although she is still none too happy to see him leave! That said, she has soaked in a bunch of what he's taught and is doing great, having just completed the beautiful restaurant in West Vancouver.
We'd ridden the #23 bus to Main Street followed by walking the few blocks to the restaurant, and while that was our original plan for our return home, instead we took the Aquabus, getting on here.
Well, that was fun. This didn't turn out great, as I took it through the wind screens on the ferry, for which I was grateful as it was chilly I might add, it does show our building and the surrounding area.
That would be us, adjacent to the every changing Vancouver House. Once we were home, looks to be some sort of "police incident" on the bridge. Pretty great sky too!
Sunday was Canada Day, the explanation of that is here. I wonder how many ordinary Canadians know what they are celebrating? Just thinking out loud here. Regardless of whether they do or not, Canadians are generally a proud and patriotic bunch. Following the church service, so as not to be mixing church and state (!), the congregation sang "Oh Canada" with gusto.
Lo and behold, the sun was shining when we walked outside!
We have a bit of a Sunday routine, however, in our last few weeks, we will be mixing it up some, in this case, we went to a new place for lunch where I had the MOST delicious pizza ever.
Walking home, via Seymour Street, we were pleasantly surprised to find this outside of our grocery store.
Not only were they handing out cake there, a little later I took a short walk along Beach while Bruce napped and they were giving out free cake and hot dogs at Tartine, two blocks from the condo. Maple leaf cookies too! Aren't they cute?
I have no understanding of how the water changes color, other than the reflection from a blue sky, yet somehow, the bay water  (in the distance) was nearly a light turquoise on Canada Day. Lovely, indeed.
I was surprised to find the beach empty, however, perhaps that was because loads of folks on our side of town were gathering at David Lam for a free concert.
Never one to pass a lemonade stand without stopping,
this young entrepreneur had a pretty impressive sign, don't you think?

People arrived on bicycles,
and on foot, walking on the sun dappled walkway towards the park.
This is the sort of event that if you were a tourist, you would love to stumble upon, seeing residents enjoying their city. At least that's how I feel about traveling. Sure, I love seeing the touristy sights, but seeing how the city works is great fun too.
Unfortunately the band was playing some screechy improv jazz, not to our liking, so after soaking in the atmosphere for a bit, we boarded the #23 bus, this time heading for English Bay where I felt pretty confidant there would be a big crowd outside enjoying the sun and friends. As an aside, one thing about riding the bus here is that they are always running, and we generally have to wait less than ten minutes should we miss one. Thought you'd like to know.

People watching was on our agenda, so we found a bench to perch on.
While not disappointed with the view, it was a bit chilly in the shade, so we moved closer to the shoreline. All was good. After less than ten minutes after finding our new perch, who should come along but Brent and his friend Philomena who was visiting from London! While cutting Bruce's hair on Saturday he mentioned that we must get together, however, I'm sure he was just as surprised as we were to run into us the very next day. What are the chances?

Let's go to the Sylvia Hotel! My goodness was she ever entertaining with stories of her homes in various places in Europe.
What a fun way to round out our already great day. While we were seated, loud honking sounds came through the open windows catching our attention. A mini Canada Day parade!
While we may be leaving in three weeks time, in the meantime we are taking full advantage of every single day remaining of this amazing year long adventure.

yours truly,

Gail

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