19 January 2013, 6:40 AM PST: I jolt awake to the alarm clock’s not-so-dulcet tones. Trying to figure out whether waking my boyfriend or shutting the freakin’ thing off comes first, I somehow manage both, albeit unhappily, operating on roughly 6 hours of sleep after I woke up and my brain would NOT shut back down from about 1:30 to 3 AM. We both stumble upstairs to the main floor of my parents’ house, where that blessed ambrosia that is coffee cake awaits us in the kitchen. We shovel down a piece of it each, grab our bags, and get into the car so that my mom, who so graciously offered to take us to the train station, can actually transport us.
Seattle’s been under an air stagnation advisory for days and the fog’s so thick visibility is reduced to maybe a hundred yards in places, but since she knows these roads well, and nobody is on them at the ungodly hour of 7 AM on a Saturday (a Saturday of a holiday weekend, no less), it takes 25 minutes at most to get to the train station. We say our goodbyes, get our tickets and passports checked, are given a seat assignment, and are on the train in about 5 minutes.
Around 8:30 AM PST: Almost an hour into our journey, I am desperately trying to stay awake enough to digest King Lear, which I must read for my Shakespeare course, as my boyfriend is powering through the Dresden Files short story anthology, Side Jobs. Realizing I am fighting a losing battle, I push my seat back (the seats on this train actually go back and every passenger has actual leg room!) and nap for a bit, sleeping on and off for about an hour.
Around 11:30 AM, PST: The rest of the trip is relatively uneventful (except for a few moments of me holding my breath as we cross rickety wooden trestle bridges that span entirely too much water) until we reach our destination: Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, BC. There, we must submit ourselves to the will of customs. Turns out, the Canadian government website is woefully inaccurate about what one can and cannot bring into Canada, and $3 (US, not that it matters terribly much) worth of tiny apples is unceremoniously tossed into a garbage bin (not even compost!), and we are questioned for a bit while some information is entered about us and/or the incident, and we are then sent on our merry way…
…to try to get change so we can buy bus tickets. It would work, too, if the change machine wasn’t broken, but my boyfriend convinces the money-changers to make change for us without a transaction.
When we get to the Skytrain platform, it turns out this was not at all necessary, as we could have easily bought tickets and received change, but hey, it’s a new experience. We navigate through downtown Vancouver, making our way safely to the hotel, and (hopefully) securing lunch.
About 6:40 PM: We visited the Crepe Café for an exquisite lunch (a ham, egg, and swiss cheese crepe for the boyfriend, and a salami, cheese (it was yummy, but I forget the type), and tomato Panini for me. We also went to the grocery store to replace the apples we lost, as well as to get some cream cheese for our bagels and cough medicine for me. The cough medicine came with a lovely tamper-proof seal… but no dosing cup! (Is this how it works in Canada? I really don’t know…) Thankfully, I have a decent eye for how much 2 teaspoons is, so I managed not to OD on cough medicine.
We then spent a good long while watching TV. We came across an ice skating competition… three performances before it ended, though two of them placed first and second, so it did make up for not seeing a lot of the program. We then proceeded to watch entirely too much of the Food Network. After a healthy (pfffff…) dinner of bagels and cream cheese, as well as an exquisite applesauce and caramel crepe (again, from the Crepe Café), we’re settled in for the night, trying to figure out what tomorrow’s adventures will be.