Day 15 (Monday)
Up early and out the door, headed for greyhound. This has started to become a moment of dread for me. Honestly getting onto a greyhound for travel is quite daunting and, with my back still not feeling recovered from the initial trip out here, it’s truly not something I am relishing.
However, this was relatively quickly forgotten when I started seeing the Rocky Mountains looming ahead. They truly are spectacular. Now Mountains are not new to me. Coming from South Africa, I am familiar with a few mountain ranges, and I was reminded of 2 in particular while driving through the Rockies: The Drakensberg and the Swartberg mountains. The Rockies are a combination of the two ranges, the stony, layered rock of the Swartberg, and the lush greenery of the Drakensberg, with the addition of thousands and thousands of trees. It was difficult to take pics from inside the bus, but I tried a few – so here is a sampling of them. Some were taken on the few rest stops
The greyhound to Vancouver from Calgary takes about 14 hours. It’s a LONG, tiring trip, and it was great to get back to solid, unmoving ground again when we finally pulled into Vancouver. Chris picked me up and we drove to his place in Richmond, which is, interestingly, below sea level. Chris’ apartment is on the 2nd floor, and is a well laid out and nicely designed complex – most of which is still being built.
It was truly nice to get into bed and be horizontal after the bus ride – which, at times was a little hair-raising, the mountain passes are pretty high in some places.
Day 16 (Tuesday)
Chris got up for work and I got up, but had decided to stay in for the day. It was quiet and uneventful, I stepped out for a smoke a few times (its a no-smoking building) and Chris and I had Pizza at Pizza Hut for dinner – Their BBQ Chicken pizza is really nice!!! I also got the opportunity to smoke some cherry tobacco out of Chris’ awesome Boswell grizzly, and Chris snapped a few pics. We watched a movie before heading to bed.
Day 17 (Wednesday)
I woke up and Chris and I headed into Vancouver for the day - him to work and me to walk around a bit and check things out. The city is bustling and tall. Apparently, as there is no more free space, they tear down buildings and replace them with taller and taller ones, as the only space available is up. There are some very austere looking buildings throughout the city, and I would have gotten more pictures, but it was raining on and off all morning.
The gay Village in Vancouver was a bit of a disappointment for me. Tons of coffee shops if you want coffee. Heck – I swear the only thing people do there is drink coffee. But unlike the village in Toronto, I found this one lacking in the small independent, interesting shops to browse in. Besides the fact that they all only open at 10am and I had 2 hours to kill before that happened.
I hung around, and browsed some of the stores until almost lunch time which was when Chris was finishing work for the day. We then hopped in his car and went for lunch before heading to Stanley Park. If you ever make it to Vancouver – do yourself a favour – take a day or so to explore this park. We didn’t spend too much time there, but just a slow drive through showed the incredible beauty of this park. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Park
We stopped to take a few pictures – “proof” if you will that I was actually in Vancouver, and here is one of those pictures.
If you travel through the park, you will come across the bench and shelter, placed there in memory of Aaron Webster, who was killed in the park in 2001 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Webster), and a little away from this, off the main paths, you will come across this amazing carving in the trunk of an ancient tree. It’s not on the path, and isn’t very clearly visible from the path, so you may have to explore a little.
The final evening in Vancouver was a quiet evening, and Chris and I watched movies and talked, before heading to bed.
Day 18 (Thursday)
For some unknown reason, I woke up at 2:30 am, and was completely unable to get back to sleep. Perhaps it was nervousness of oversleeping and missing the bus back to Calgary, but either way – i was wide awake, and so got out of bed and caught up on emails etc before Chris got up to take me to the Greyhound yet again for the long, arduous journey back to Calgary.
In the 2 short days I had been there, I had completely forgotten to take any pics of Chris and I, so managed to snap this one outside the station, and one of Chris’ car, which, despite looking tiny from the outside was pretty spacious on the inside. Although I will say you REALLY feel every gust of wind in it!!
It was great to see Chris again and spend time with him. 6 years is a long time, and we had a great time catching up.
The trip back was relatively uneventful, and the mountains were still awesome, although I didn’t take any pictures of them on the route back. I did manage to snag the back seats of the bus – which was actually the best idea I had had on the bus – three seats was just long enough for me to actually lie down. A little cramped still – but it really managed to help me as I could at least give my butt a rest and stretch my back. I slept really well on the last few stretches heading back to Calgary.
After another 14 hours, arriving in Calgary and being greeted by two excitedly wagging pups was awesome. I had missed them, and that was even more apparent when I got back. Considering how much I slept on the bus, I was very tired when I got home and it wasn’t long before I was in bed cuddling Roscoe.
Day 19 (Friday)
Got Roscoe’s lunch made and got him out the door to work. The day flew by, and when he got home, the three of us piled into the car and headed out to pick up some bootblacking supplies for Berith as well as some grocery shopping and then came home and had dinner before heading to the Eagle for the evening. It was a nice night for us there, and a lot of fun and great conversation. I truly feel I am making some friends here – some of whom will probably turn into friends for life.
Day 20 (Saturday)
What a nice start to the weekend. Although tired, I made waffles for us for breakfast, and afterwards it was puppy time. A little training for both pups, and a little sex, although Berith is not being allowed to get off at the moment ;) which I am enjoying – and he is struggling with, humping about anything in sight.
The best part of the afternoon was puppy baths. First Berith, who is actually well behaved in the tub, although he gets cold and shivers easily, he was good and stoic most of the time in the tub, and while being dried and groomed.
Roscoe is a different story. The pup splashes and shakes and tries to climb out and bite at the water. And I swear they both would lie on their backs so i could wash their bellies all day. Im glad I was naked, because otherwise I would have had soaking wet clothes. I think there was more water on the floor than in the tub by the time I had finished with Roscoe.
Once we had recovered, we piled into the car and went across the city to visit some friends of Beriths, Paul and Lee and the pups got into a little trouble shooting each other with nerf darts before the host and I stepped in and took away their ammunition.
A drive home and a quick shower for me (to get rid of the wet dog smell of course) and it wa time to gear up and go to a Bodega and Bondage event hosted by the 2012 Western Canada Leather Sir/boy (Marc and his boy Daniel) a few blocks away from Roscoe’s home.
Sometimes, I feel very intimidated walking into a room full of leathermen. This was very briefly the case when we arrived, but that feeling quickly dissipated. There were a few familiar faces, the Hosts included, and quite a few new ones too. I was exceptionally greatful to see someone head to the tiny balcony for a smoke, and quickly made my way out there.
This was a good move. I secured a spot out on the balcony, and had an awesome time chatting and conversing with a number of people. One I have known on Recon for quite some time, and he and I spent the greater part of the evening on the balcony, chatting and smoking and watching the demonstrations through the glass doors. I also met Scott, a domineering and imposing figure who, it turns out, was born in Australia, and he and I immediately hit it off – and not just because we both have shaved heads and facial hair. He’s a hoot – and is friendly, and well lets just say that he and I will definitely be in contact again!
A few other very nice people I got the opportunity to chat with during the course of the evening, and, it was actually really a wonderful time. I think the concept of the party was awesome, all finger foods, and wine, and just a very laid back evening where demos happened as they happened, without a timeline or schedule to keep.
The pups even got to have a puppy play session with the other pups there, and Roscoe definitely maintained his Alpha status, albeit by use of sheer weight. He was sweaty and panting by the end of the evening, but I could tell he was a very happy pup indeed. All in all, a great evening was had by all, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some amazing new people and look forward even more to making more friends in the coming weeks.
Day 21 (Sunday)
Sunday Morning I woke up super early, my back was very sore, and its really starting to bug me now. I got up at 4 am because I simply could not get comfortable. This gave me the opportunity to clean up the kitchen and start preparing for brunch with my friend Scott (some of you may recall him moving out here a few months ago). It was fun to watch his reactions to the puppies, as they barked and yipped and played during brunch. I don’t know that he has been exposed to such open puppy play before.
The brunch was excellent, and filling, and ended with Waffles A’la mode – a definite childhood favourite of mine! Scott had to go to work, and the pups and I piled into the car again and went to McKenzie Lake – via a friends house – where I got to blissfully sit in a hottub. It helped ease a little of the back pain I have been experiencing, although it didn’t go away. The lake was nice, but the wind was cold, and i was actually quite grateful to get back in the car and head home.
I have now officially extended my stay, and changed my return ticket to the 10th of July. This is going to provide me with more time to look for work here, and, if i find some, plan the move to Alberta! So hold thumbs guys!!
Roscoe and I spent a quiet evening watching a movie and sorting laundry before bed.
I truly do feel at home here now. The pups are awesome and the feeling of family is growing daily. We’re all starting to get more comfortable together and even though the apartment is small, it doesn’t feel crowded or awkward – even when the three of us are all cuddled together on the sofa – it feels like home.