Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Terrific Canadian Mini-Holiday, Chapter I

I had an amazing long weekend in Vancouver with Gail; too busy to write about it as it happened, of course, and we were rattling from place to place anyway. I already mentioned my good fortune on my flight out on Thursday; that streak of luck went on to give us four rain-free days! Not a drop until Tuesday morning, when we headed to the airport for my flight home. On arriving back in the Land of Free (after my interrogation and partial strip-search) I found that it had been raining rather a lot here.

Friday I arrived in the wee hours of the morning, and was reunited with my baggage and with my cherished fiancee; Gail and her dad picked me up at the airport, and we went back to his place for a few hours' sleep. Later that morning Cheryl came by to drop off the three older Ems, and we spent the next few hours with them while the twins went for a checkup. Gail, her father and I walked with Melissa, Michael and Madeleine to a nearby mall for a meal. While we were there, I bought a pair of shorts and some sandals; I hadn't brought enough cool clothes, and the weather was unusually hot - in the upper twenties, even over 30 for the next few days. (Okay, for my countryfolk, that's 80 to 90 degrees! I heard someone on a bus mention "32 degree weather" and yes, I thought of skiing...)

Bubbles with Auntie Gail
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.
Back from the mall, we broke out one of the gifts I had brought for the kids; a big bucket of assorted bubble wands and pipes, and lots of bubble soap! Gail and I went out on the balcony and blew bubbles with the trio for a while, then came inside to see some photos from Mr. Edwin's recent trip from the Philippines, and watch some flying video that I had brought.

Friday evening we packed up our kits and took the Skytrain into Vancouver for a birthday dinner with George, his wife Lana and a circle of their friends. George ( is one of our online friends, a pilot for Air Canada, and quintessentially Greek! We took public transportation to join everyone at "The Mad Greek" restaurant in Richmond, BC, just south of Vancouver; George is a regular there, and gave us excellent advice on the menu (great roast lamb, far above the ordinary!) and treated everyone to appetizers and wine. It was here that I began my reign of terror over the local squid population, snacking on some delicious calamari. Later, as the food and wine worked their wonders, George got up and gave some lessons in Greek dancing - hopa! Gail and I stayed and chatted with George and Lana until the restaurant was closing, and they generously drove us all the way back to town - they, too, are far above the ordinary.