Overall, we found Vancouver B.C. to be a very welcoming city.  After all, it appeared to have more tourists than residents, spanning the entire globe.  And it was quite the destination for Canada Day celebrations.

We’ve always wanted to hit up Vancouver, as it is within reasonable driving distance.  The journey was long and a bit grueling, but the scenery was pleasant, and Aaron even made a fun time lapse of the trip.

The border itself was easier than we anticipated, though we weren’t expecting questions like where we’d be staying and if we already had reservations.  The interstate dwindled into a small country highway, and we took a detour over a picturesque bridge to avoid some traffic into the city.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Vancouver is beautiful.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

I wanted to pop my head out of the car window and take pictures as we came in, but Aaron assured me we’d have ample opportunities to wander about and get better shots.  I was surprised that upon first look, the city presented itself as uniform; the entire waterfront is lined with identical glass buildings.  Everything is new and shiny.  I wondered if they had all been designed by the same architect.  I later recognized this as simply a residential neighborhood filled with condos for the throngs of visitors and casual residents.  It certainly makes for an aesthetic skyline.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

We stayed in one such condo, and our view was spectacular.  I wasn’t about to get any sunset shots with all the other buildings in the way, but we spent a fair amount of time out on the little deck, enjoying the warm weather and planning out our next day.  When it grew too chilly there, we had the convenient option of a cozy sunroom.  More than once, I yearned to just take a nap in that little room.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

We were well settled in and resting up for our first full day of adventure when excitement struck.

Deep in dreams and warmly snuggled in blankets, reality slammed into us in the form of a terrifying, blaring alarm.  It took several moments to process what was going on; I think I was standing before I was fully conscious.  We finally registered the fire alarm and threw jackets on while trying to determine if we should exit the building.

Fortunately, all of my camera equipment (including my portable hard drive) was still neatly tucked in its bag, so instead of contemplating if I should grab it, it was faster to simply do so.  The hallway was full of more confusion, bunny slippers, robes, and questions.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

We descended the 15 floors to the street below and awaited instructions.  The fire crews were already there (that’s comforting), so the rest of us stood around, waited, and speculated as to the cause.  It was actually still pleasantly warm.  A few were holding their dogs or cats.  Many were on their cell phones.  I thought: I have a camera.

The lighting was horrid, of course, and I didn’t want to draw any odd looks, so I exercised as much stealth as I could.  I still managed to capture this shot.  I think the character of the picture is probably better than the quality, but it really spoke to how everyone was feeling at that moment.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

We were given the all-clear from the firemen (we never did find out what caused it – I really hope it wasn’t some drunk kids playing a joke), and the masses filed back inside.  We didn’t want to wait in the long lines for the elevators, so in our infinite wisdom, we decided to ascend the stairs… all 15 flights of them.  Nothing like a little exercise in the middle of the night.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Jazzed yet exhausted, we crashed (after noting the time: nearly 3am).  That’s one way to be welcomed into the country.  We were off to a great start!


 

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