Friday, June 26, 2015
"As I'm having breakfast in the hotel this morning there are some American youngsters who are quite noisy using unsavoury language. They think they are pretty cool but their behaviour and foul language are irritating. They're also harassing a couple of Amish people who are here. When I look outside I see a young girl dancing practically in her underwear on the street. She seems to be high on drugs. Great environment...
After breakfast I get my bike which is being stored in a separate room in the hotel because I was not allowed to have it in my room. I take the things that I need for today, I put the bike in the truck and drive to the airport.
As I drive through the city, I go from one traffic jam to another. On top of that my GPS gives me incorrect directions which makes me drive around only to end up at the back of the traffic jam! After two hours of this, I am running out of gas. I get off the highway to find a gas station. I try to ask people if they know where there is a gas station but nobody seems to know. And the GPS directions keep being incorrect.
It is now 11:30 and I still have 7 km to go in the traffic jam. If I get the car back before noon it saves me about hundred dollars.
When I finally find a gas station, my credit card does not work there so I have to go inside to arrange payment while the clock keeps ticking...
After filling up my tank I get to the airport at 11:50 AM. But the confusing directions in the parking garage make it hard to find Hertz. I have to circle around the airport and try again. I've had enough. It took over two hours to drive 20 km and now this. However the second time around I find Hertz. Two Hertz guys practically jump on the car before I've even parked it. When they give me the final bill I notice there is still a charge for an extra day. The men insist that this is the final bill. I'm not going to put any energy into these two losers, I'm thinking, and I go inside the Hertz office. Even though I am in a pretty bad mood, I try to be as friendly as possible. It works and after 15 minutes my final bill drops from $750 down to $570. That is a good deal and I notice that they even deducted a little extra.
When I bike out of the garage I have to work hard to keep up with the traffic. To be cycling here is not a good idea but it is the only way for me to get back to the airport. There I have something to drink and I buy a day pass for the subway. At my hotel they advised me to get a subway pass because there are so many hills in the city and so much traffic that it's almost impossible to bike. An older lady at the airport suggests I go and see Stanley Park because it is beautiful there.
I get on the subway and it takes a while before we get to the last station called Waterfront. When I get up to street level I am in beautiful downtown Vancouver and it's almost magical to be cycling here. The people here look better and healthier. There are also some really expensive cars driving around here I see a Ferrari and a Porsche.
As I follow the bike trail I end up at the waterfront where I can see the Olympic flame burners. Because the finals of the women's world championships soccer are held in Vancouver, it is busy downtown. There is an outdoor viewing screen and a studio room where Fox TV is doing their broadcast. The game that's on is between France and Germany and is quite busy in the Square with people watching the game. It is exciting and I watch it for a while as I'm sitting in the sun. I also notice how many beautiful women are walking around here...
It is becoming quite warm and the temperature is higher then yesterday. It is over 36°C and it's going up to 38°C.
After the soccer match I get back on the bicycle trail but have to get down some stairs to reach it. The bike path is very busy. Most Canadians don't know how to bike and they pay no attention. However, the path is beautiful and I am enjoying it tremendously.
The views are breathtaking and there are some large luxurious yachts in the harbour. On the peninsula are beautiful trees, plants and flowers and the views of the Vancouver skyline are breathtaking. I do draw some attention with my bike and my flags and my T-shirt, but compared to my experiences in smaller villages nobody here talks to me. At the most I get a smile...
I can't bike very fast here because in some areas I'm only allowed to do 15 km an hour and they say that speeds are checked. I think that's quite strange but when I end up in a one-way situation I understand that it is necessary. There is even a beach here and I really enjoy all of nature beauties lying on the beach. All jokes aside, it is really gorgeous here!
After hanging around for a couple of hours I decide to have a meal before I return to the hotel. Close to the subway station I spot a Japanese restaurant which seems to be fairly priced. I am received in a traditional way and order some sushi. The sushi is made with all kinds of fish and tastes wonderful.
After the meal I go down to the subway. It is a long trip on two different trains before I reach the hotel again. It's been a beautiful day and I enjoyed being a tourist today. There's nothing wrong with that, I still managed to do quite a bit of cycling.
It was wonderful and downtown Vancouver is really amazing!"
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen