Friday Gastown, Granville Island and a Chinese Banquet!

Ren left us sleeping this morning and I didn’t wake till 9.30am and we met at the train station later. We walked to a different part of the sea wall which was full of bars and cafes and all were loaded with people. The weather was amazing. A huge cruise ship was in port dwarfing everything. We wandered through an old train station and I tell Ren I love old buildings as I gaze up to the ornate ceilings and admire the fretwork, while Ren tells me it’s just a building, and not even that old actually. Ren looks for dates. Seeing the last train out’ve there was 1979 she sarcastically says…”Well before I was born”, and then looking at me seriously asks. “Is it before you were born?” I’m reading when the place was built, and it was 1914! Ahhh yes it was Ren. Yes it was.

We head to Gastown and into a tiny cafe for coffee. Gastown is the oldest part of Vancouver that has been maintained as a reminder of the time with gas lights and old time buildings restored. It’s gorgeous and I can imagine it lit up at night being really pretty. Ren tells us she’ll show us something old, and before long we are at the steam clock, where heaps are crowded around a large clock situated on a corner. Ren chuckles as she tells us everyone thinks it’s ancient, but it was actually built about thirty years ago and donated to commemorate the fore fathers founding of the city. The crowd are annoying. I like to read all plaques and get the full info, but everyone’s trying to take pics, posing and don’t even care about the history. I have to laugh as all the tourists are standing around admiring what good condition it’s in and the clever technology of the day blah, blah, blah.

Ellie is the best baby ever and I can’t get over how easy she is and what a lovely Nanny Ren makes. Perceptive to her needs and pre-empting trouble she’s got it all sorted and I’m very impressed. She not quick to smile, but boy when she does they are beamers, though she mostly saves those for Ren.

We catch a bus to Granville Island and I can see how easily Ren makes friends. Her smile has people glance at her and then maintain contact as she’s beaming back at them. They return her smile and are probably wondering if they know her. Many say hello as if they are an old friend and I smile and say to Ren. That smile will get you into trouble!

We wander around Granville Island and its tourist Mecca I think. Lots of speciality foods and delicious treats, buskers and art galleries. “You guys are hard to impress” Ren says as we’re not oooing and ahhing over everything. We’re not ten Ren! Kyn, one of Ren’s kiwi friends works in a distillery here and we head in to choose a cocktail but I’m quickly drawn to the ‘whiskey mule’, only it doesn’t taste like I expected and it turns out when he asked Ren “whiskey, vodka or gin?” she chose vodka. Damn! It’s nice but I feel cheated just the same. Kyn tells me the drink is 47% proof as we leave. Jesus….You wouldn’t want too many of these babies!

Ren heads off to take Ellie back home and we grab a sea taxi back to sunset beach so we can get ready for dinner but I fall asleep almost immediately I sit down. Thanks 47%! and have to dash to be on time for William for dinner. William is from Gilbert’s family village in China and he is keen for us to meet his family as they now live in Vancouver.

He collects us and we seem to drive forever and while I have reservations about Ren finding the restaurant, she phones William and asks if she’s at the right restaurant cause actually, we’re not there? Won’t be long he assures her. We’re on our way. I’m impressed!

We have a magnificent seafood banquet and are stuffed when we stagger out but are pulled back down the stairs for family photos, and family we are as they pull out a book and show us where we fit. Though all in Chinese it’s difficult to find our name. They are keen to get all our families names so it can be updated. Gilbert promises to email that through and William tells him not worry about any of the females as they only want the males. “I beg your pardon?” “It just gets too complicated, he says so yeah, just the male names will be added”.

We go back to William’s place and his wife, Lillian is just so lovely. She tells us in broken English she is studying, learning English and can we look at some of the grammar questions she has. She is finding it hard to understand. Oh well this is right up Ren’s alley as she loves correcting us, so I hand the book to her, but wait. Lillian is just going to grab a pen and paper as she is being tested on it on Monday. Ren and I look at each other as we survey the questions on ‘adjective clauses’. Ummmm…I’m not sure we did adjective clauses in school we laugh. We know what doesn’t seem right…but we’re not sure we can tell you why. Lillian’s writes down all the answers. Cripes, I hope we haven’t put her crook…Good luck Lillian!

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