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Uncle Markie out and about.

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May '12

Day One – The Canadian.

Checking Out Of The Canadian, Boarding The Canadian.

The blog post sounds confusing… Checking out, checking in, boarding, all The Canadian?

The WorldMark is at The Canadian, across from Wall Centre (home of the Sheraton). The Canadian is also a beer slogan (Molsen?), which BamBam had four of while we were hanging out waiting for The Canadian, the train that runs from Vancouver to Toronto.

Apparently, the Canadians like to call everything “The Canadian”.

My day, after The Canadian, and before The Canadian.

Up at nine, packed and out of the condo at noon. Off to the train station (via SkyTrain, C$2.50) to drop off my bag so they could put it in my “stateroom”, a.ka. a “roomette” on “The Canadian”. Damn, I’m about to wear out the ” key.

After dropping the bag (C$3, which they didn’t charge for the last time, but still totally worth it), I still had time on my SkyTrain ticket – got back on the train to go to the end of the Zone One area, but realized that the first stop was Commercial Drive where I know has nice restaurants for lunch (breakfast was a Slim Jim basically). Basically I have until 8:30pm when the train leaves to amuse myself. Commercial Drive here I come.

My buddy Pucci would like all the old Italian espresso bars, not turned sports:

My favorite memory of this place 20 years ago was of a couple of old Italian guys eating sushi, drinking espresso, and chatting in Italian.

Got off the train and remembered my buddy TomTuma often works from home. Called, and he was home, at least for a glass of fizzy ice water on the rocks before his next appointment:

Damn. Lose 25 pounds and you still look fat next to the skinny one.

Lunch at the Memphis Blues BBQ place close to Toms:

That would be the pulled pork on greens. Where I’m from, those greens would have been mustard and sautéed in bacon fat, not drizzled in a BBQ vinaigrette.

On the way back to the station, stumbled across this lovely duo busking on the street corner… cello and accordion. Can’t wait to check out www.sidewalkcellist.com to see if the accordion player is listed. He’s HOT.

Had to buy another SkyTrain ticket so I started exploring Zone One which is as far as you can go in an hour and a half. Down to Chinatown, Waterfront Station, Marine Drive, and eventually, back where I started: the train station.

The boyz (Hummingbird and BamBam) showed up at 4:30 for one last get together – and off we go to the place across from the train station which is part:

  • Bar
  • Youth Hostel
  • Odd restaurant

Cheap it was. Jameson on the rocks for C$4.50, beers cheaper, and for less than C$20, dinner for the three of us. Not exactly “take a date place”, more of a “pick up some rough trade” place. After lunch I didn’t needtoo much to eat (expecting and receiving sparkling wine and canapés on boarding).

Parted with the boys so they could have an evening, and for me to deal with the excitement of the journey. It’s a long train we have…

We have a seriously LONG train – and I’m in Car 213 which is smack dab in the middle of the train. There are THREE Vista Dome cars, and all-glass Panorama car (we lose that in Edmonton for the west bound run) and bloody TEN sleepers. Now I really see where all the old cool pre-Amtrak equipment went… to Canada. Good thing I’ve got the knee brace on as it’s a long way from one end to the other. Hell, there are even TWO dining cars on this run. 23 pieces of equipment – three engines, a baggage car, two coach cars and all the stuff I mentioned before. We lose the other engine and the Panorama car in Jasper tomorrow at 4 (thought I think we are running late).

The train was so long that to get it into the yard they had to split it in two – the coach/baggage/engines on track 4 and all the rest of the cars on track 5 – it still made for a half mile walk for the folks in Sleeper Car 210.

First – a shot of the Panorama Car which I have never seen on ViaRail before:

Sorry for the crappy picture, but it’s still better than AmTrak’s just for the number of people who can actually sit there… not a bubble dome, but can hold three times the people.

And I’m flummoxed over the last picture of the night, of the room (after the champagne and several cocktails).

So I did both.

One of the most interesting conversations on the train was with the “Bullet Lounge” car attendant who repeatedly had to answer… “Is this where I get breakfast”… “No, that’s the dining car, ask your room attendant.” That the Express Fares have filled up the train with many people who haven’t done this before (I’m channeling Swanda to not be snarky – it took me three times to rewrite that sentence.) Considering that normally my fare would be C$1800 and I got it for C$575 – it’s opened up rail travel in a sleeper to a bunch more people, hence, TEN sleeping cars and TWO coach cars (those were on sale as well).

[? ? ?] The last Alli® pill was on Sunday with my noon meal. And now I’m on a trip with three meals a day, doubtful any carb free. Started this trip at 210 and hoping not to come back as a blimp.

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Checking Out Of The Canadian, Boarding The Canadian.

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