The jumbo banked hard to port then lined up on the runway as we passed over English Bay. The flaps went down, the throttles back and the fuselage shuddered. As we came in to land I caught my 1st view of my intended start point and I,m in awe, the mountains start at the sea and rise to where the clouds bow to meet them. For the 1st time I realise that this is really happening!
With a screech of tires & a thump we land & I,m here. I say good bye to my travelling companion Alison before proceeding with the formalities of customs & luggage and finally finding a room downtown at the Buchann hotel.
After dumping my gear I shoot out to explore & grab some desperately needed freedom not to mention food. Down town is very ethnic with loads of small restaurants & shops, lots of different cultures mixing with up market bistros. I know I,m going to like this place & finally I settle for a plate of pasta in Robson street along with a couple of cold beers. Sitting outside I enjoy the cool night air & derive surreal pleasure at the thought of pasta & beer at a time when in England I would be drinking coffee whilst cursing the day ahead.
Food & exploring over I retreat to my room with the intention of gaining much needed sleep but my body declines telling me that I should be up. With the prospect of little or no sleep I decide to assemble my bike. At 6.00am the bike is finished, a small buckle in the rear wheel has been repaired & I am acutely pleased with myself so I go out to grab a coffee & walk. North Americans are addicted to coffee & there is always a coffee shop open nearby. Coffee in hand I set off walking along the shore down at Stanley park watching the early morning joggers pass by & enjoying the view.
One old lady greets me & I ask about shops in the vicinity, I still need some supplies for my trip. Having given me directions she proclaims that it is terrible about London, I make a joke of the fact that it (London) is & that,s why I,m in Canada. She looks me in the face & says "No, no, I mean the bombs".Bombs? suddenly I,m covered in goose pimples & the hair on my arms stands on end. I scurry back towards the hotel in need of information ....................