Saturday & Sunday September 13 & 14

City of Glass

City of Glass

Chapter #1 of our Great North American Adventure came to an end yesterday morning when we disembarked, said goodbye to the lovely Statendam and her friendly crew, and moved bodies and bags to the stately (and very luxurious) Fairmont Vancouver Hotel for the next three nights. 

Gleaming Vancouver

Gleaming Vancouver

We were free for the rest of the day to do our own thing. And it’s hard to think of a better city to do it in. I mean, cities rarely excite me – once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all – but Vancouver is a worthy exception. This cosmopolitan showcase is the envy of the Pacific Northwest, with rain forests and mountains towering over skyscrapers everywhere you look – and fantastic mirror-glass reflections everywhere else. 

While our 68 mad midlifers ventured boldly in all directions and my wife joined Kaye in a shopping expedition, Tony and I took to the skies in one of Vancouver’s countless floatplanes. I got to sit up front with the pilot – what a blast! And the panoramic views from up-up-up-above were truly sensational.  

Floatplane fun

 Last night we reassembled for dinner at the historic Steamworks Brewery in Gastown (just walking-distance from our hotel) where we compared notes ate ourselves silly (yet again). Gastown (in case you’re wondering) got its name from “Gassy Jack” Deighton (famous in the late 1800s for spinning tall tales and talking without end). He arrived, stepping ashore with a barrel of whiskey, and told the local millworkers that if they’d build him a saloon, he’d serve them drinks. The saloon was up and running within a day … and the Gastown district still retains its historic charm and independent spirit.

Friendly Racoon

Today, after a welcome late breakfast, we went for a good old-fashioned Sunday afternoon drive (remember those when you were a kid?) aboard a couple of very comfortable coaches – and gained an even greater appreciation of this Canadian port. With the help of a running commentary from our expert guides, we Kiwis were introduced to English Bay, Canada Place, Chinatown, Robson Street, Gastow and Stanley Park (where we were greeted by some stripey racoons) – ending up at the very popular recreational area known as Granville Island.

By the end of which we were hungry again – so it was off for another banquet at the Granville Hotel.

Aahh, I tell you folks – this is tough. And as we tick off each new day, it doesn’t get any easier!

PEOPLE NEWS: The Midlife Madness Awards have been coming thick and fast:

* The ‘Locksmith Award‘ to Edna – who, that final night on the ship, locked her cabin key in her main bag (which was taken ashore during the night) and had to ask for a last-minute replacement so she could join Peter inside.

* The ‘Doesn’t Know If He’s Coming Or Going Award‘ to Murray – who, during Friday night’s dinner on the ship, complimented one of the ladies in her brooch. She explained, “I got it today” and Murray asked, “What, on the ship or ashore?” (You had to be there! You see, we’d been cruising all day at sea!)

* The ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On Award‘ to Olwyn (Fraser) – who, when trying on new clothes, left her singlet hanging in the shop’s fitting room. She realised her mistake hours later (when she felt a bit chilly up top) and returned to find her undergarment still hanging in the fitting room!

* The ‘This Horse Needs A Hearse Award‘ to Karen & Rodger – who took a ride in a horse and buggy several days ago – only to have the horse break down! The big Clydesdale got a blood nose (no kidding!) and lost all interest in towing tourists. A vet was called, followed by a horse-float with a replacement horse, eventually enabling Karen and Rodger to continue their seriously disrupted ride.

* The ‘All-Charged-Up Energizer Award‘ to Peter (Scales) – who has a cold for which he’s taking antibiotics. Now that’s not funny, I know, but wait, there’s more. Last night, before going to dinner, Peter wisely put a tablet in his coat pocket to have later (with food). However, during the evening he removed his hearing-aid (which wasn’t working) and put it in the same pocket. After eating, he reached into the pocket, took out the pill, and quietly (so as not to attract attention to his health problems) popped it in his mouth and washed it down with a glass of water. Which might have been the end of the matter, except … when Peter got back to the hotel his pulled out his hearing-aid and discovered that the battery was missing – so he reached back into his pocket and discovered (you guessed it) the pill! (Peter seems okay, although his eyes keep flashing like brakelights every few seconds, and you get a bit of a jolt if you touch him. We just hope the battery goes flat before he next has to walk through one of those xray machines at the airport!)

TOMORROW: We’ve got a 5:15am wake-up call – shock-horror!) – because we’re off to Tsawwassen (bet you can’t pronounce it) where we’re catching a 1½-hour ferry ride to Vancouver Island. So don’t change channels …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!

This entry was posted in 2008 Alaska-Canada by John Cooney. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Only your Mrs Tyler would be that organised as to lock a key in your suitcase!!! Was thinking the award would have been for falling over so a locked key is a different one. Nothing much happening here at all. Had my meeting with the teacher today which was embarrasing but we dealt with it. Got the first postcard in the mail this morning so Ethan will be pleased after school. Hope you continue enjoying yourselves, which I’m sure you will, sounds like you will have all gained some serious kilos by the time you make it home, you sure are eating a lot!!! Love to you both R, M, E & O

  2. Mum. can’t take you anywhere!!!!!!
    Will be dining out on that one for a very long time.
    Trying on clothes??? So the credit card is taking a hammering!!!
    Good for you, remember your daughters size when trying on things, as you know her taste as good as anyone.
    I just love catching up with all the news, really enjoy John’s blogs, they are excellent!!
    Everything fine here, no news.
    Will still missing his Nanny, thinks that you are still at the airport, that is where your holiday is. Keeps asking if we can go and see you there so he can play in the playground again.

    Love to Patricia

    Lots of love
    Bronwyn, Brian & Will

  3. To the Floyd Family
    On a ferry going back to Vancouver (1.5 hrs). Have spent glorious day on Vancouver Island visiting the capital of Victoria, also the beautiful Butchart Gardens. Unbelievably hot today. Thanks for last message, have met the Jurgeleits, but that’s all. Miss you all. Love Mum & Dad

  4. To Murray & Joy Jenkins
    Hi Guys
    I have been reading abut the things you have been doing and it seems that you are having a lots of fun. Go with the good times.
    The house ,yes lots of interest > shown another open home this weekend
    Billy had two 3rds>> Chloe had two 2nds,and Colin’s flying.
    Races here on Sunday.

    Regards Ronnie.

  5. Hi Aunty Pam

    How is Vancover!!! Thanks for your message yesterday – just missed you by five minutes. It was great to hear from you and so glad your having an awesome time.

    Mum and Dad have left Venice and are near Pisa. They were going into Pisa today – the rain has stopped. Apparently heaps of tourists everywhere!!!

    Melis is studying and I have been off work sick.

    Thanks for your updates – wish we were there

    Love Rebeck and Melis

  6. Murray and Joy

    Well, you’ve obviously settled in too well Murray – too many beers eh?
    Come on Joy, you’ll have to take him in hand.
    Sounds like to trip is lots of fun – as good as our last one? Surely couldn’t be!
    All well here, looking forward to catching up again at the Lake.

    You’re missing beautiful weather at home – apparently it’s in the mid 20’s down south – not too bad up here either.

    Enjoy yourselves – thinking of you and the Coons.
    Lots of luv Joc and Noel

  7. Hi Mum and Dad (Gillian and Peter Burley)

    Looks like you guys are having a great time over seas. I hope it didn’t take dad too long to cool down. I’ve been checking regularly to see if you guys won any awards. Julie has obviously been keeping a low profile since her name hasn’t appeared yet.
    Brayden keeps telling everyone that gran and grandad have gone away on a plane. However he hasn’t had time to miss you yet as we’ve got coco staying with us until Thursday.
    Nana is good and looking forward to lunch on Friday. She has received the postcard that you sent.
    Take care and be wary of anything green.

    Lots of love Veronica and Stu.

  8. Hi John – your blog is very descriptive as always and good to see that you and Roger have acquired some hats. Please give Dad (Don Clark) my love and best wishes. Weather has been glorious in Auckland over the last couple of days, very mild, spring is here. Walking dogs on Kohi Beach every evening, lots of people out and about. No doubt you have heard it is hotting up for the 8th November elections – and National doesn’t need to do a thing, Labour continue to put their big feet in their mouths, they are a obviously very desperate. Cullen tonight on the news made a dreadful fool of himself…… and it goes on. Happy travelling.\

  9. Hi Mum – wow it looks like you’re having a blast and I see you’ve jumped ship onto something flash. The Warriors had a geat win against the top team so are threw to the semis this Friday. The All Blacks had a win as well and won the Bledisloe Cup and the Trinations. Summer has finally hit and I’ve been doing dive courses. Josh had a great weekend sailing and doing an overnighter at Opito Bay with some friends and Rhys is off snowboarding for 4 days on Sunday with the school. We’ve got Ryans’ 30th this weekend so it’ll be a big party and a half! Winnie Peters is in the poo – nothing new.Loads of love Wendy Russ josh Rhys xxx

  10. Hi Mum and Dad,
    Thanks so much for your message via Robyn, it was so great to hear from you. Vancouver sounds beautiful, gone from being very cold to very hot. Speaking of hot, we have had 3 beautiful sunny spring days in a row!
    Went up to check the Apartment on Monday and all is well.
    Maddy running in cross country today so I will go and watch her. Spoke to Jerm yesterday and everybody is well back here.
    Miss you heaps but enjoy yourselves because the trip will fly by. Been gone almost 2 weeks already.
    Much love,
    Sally ,Hugh,Isabella and Maddy.

  11. Hi J & R & S & I & J .. How are you all?? Which of course is a totally ridiculous question to ask .. given that you are swanning around Vancouver while the rest of us mere plebes of society are working our tails off … don’t mind us though .. we are very gracious about it. (well definitely here in the ‘comments’ page .. where every Tom Dick and Harry can read what fantastic friends we are :))) That sign by the way is a triple chinned person.

    Regarding the walking saga … I decided I enjoyed watching you limp for what seemed like months Johnny .. and seeing as I look up to you (not in a height way) I decided to join your club. More later … Love you all xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s