Hello again from the Big Blue!
Vacation over and back to reality. This past week, reality included having a dead rooster thrown at our window, Prez getting bitten by a centipede (very painful), and the field behind our house catching fire (which was put out by myself, friends/guests Willow & Joe, the next door neighbour with his dribbly hose, and a guest at the neighbouring resort – thanks to all!).
Fire fightin’ in flip-flops…the crew
You know what, let’s go back to my vacation. More fun.
My first surprise occurred during my descent into Vancouver. After spending the bulk of my life surrounded by mountains of some description – the Rockies, the Kootenays, and the Sierras, to name a few – I guess they have penetrated my soul without me realizing it. As my Air Canada flight made a wide arc out over the islands of the west coast, the sun was setting and scattered clouds reflected a rose and orange glow. Something about those green dots in the water put me into a state of bliss. The mountains didn’t come into view until the very last moment when the plane made a wide circle to approach the runway. The site of them, basking in the late evening sun brought a lump to my throat.
Was it merely the topography, so stunning after a year of flatness, or was it memories of “home” rising up with those peaks that brought actual tears to my usually-stoic eyes? Who knows? I remained misty until we dropped low enough that the swaths of buildings and roads and cars became visible. There’s nothing romantic about condo complexes, there just isn’t.
If you haven’t been through the Vancouver International Airport before, then you’ve missed out on one of the few aesthetically pleasing airports in the world. Lots of glass and natural light help alleviate the claustrophobia brought on by most airport buildings. Certainly, this piece of architecture is worth the something-billions we paid for it? Isn’t it?
My next stop was to pick up my rental car. Sadly, our beautiful airport is located in Richmond. Have you ever been in one of those “House of Mirrors” mazes at a carnival? You know the ones that have you constantly ending up where you started, leaving you questioning your innate sense of direction and wanting to smash something with a brick? Well, driving through Richmond – if you are not a resident, a long time resident – is much like that. I was lost within ten minutes, driving in circles through a residential area, cursing the city planners and all of their offspring.
Eventually I escaped from the city voted “most likely to disappear after a large tsunami”, and hit my stride. Everything felt so…big…and fast…and new…and strange. I should mention that the car they gave me was this little, black pimp-mobile and the radio was pre-set to all the hippest stations, which meant I knew none of the songs. Had I been in LA, I would have felt an unnaturally strong urge to drive-by-shoot someone but, since this was BC, I felt only the pull to drive to Metrotown Mall and order a bubble tea (sorry, only lower mainland residents will get that joke).
I was en route to Casa Roney, home of Patty-Cakes and Martha but first I plotted a course to the Coquitlam grocery mega-plex, “Save-On Foods”. My quarry? Hot chocolate, Bengal tea, Barbara’s Bakes organic cheese puffs, and grapes. Inside the store, my quest suddenly struck me as overwhelming. OH MY COD! LOOK AT ALL THE STUFF!!!!! Seriously, I had to slap a hand over my mouth to stifle my giggles. Aitutaki’s main grocery store wouldn’t even fill the pharmacy department of this behemoth. If I’d not been so tired, I may have tap-danced through the aisles, it was that giddy-ifying.
With a happy heart, and a full bag of groceries, I pulled into my old cul-de-sac and strolled through the doors of the Roney’s. Hugs, hugs and more hugs! How wonderful it was to see those two, much-missed faces. After luggage was unloaded, we retired to the kitchen for cold ciders, lotsa chatting, and a BBQ steak dinner my friends had so thoughtfully prepared for me. As I discussed in my previous rant, you really don’t appreciate how much you miss physical contact with people you love until you get it. I wish I’d been a little less worn from my travels; I just couldn’t get enough of seeing real Roneys again. My guest suite was all ready for me, complete with fuzzy bath robe, relevant magazines and newspaper articles, and, of course, a bar of dark chocolate. How did they know??
I’m willing to bet not one luxury, five star resort makes their guests feel as welcome or as special as my friends did for me that evening. Thank you so much! That was the beginning of a beautiful visit.
And in a few days, I’ll share some more of it with you!
QUESTION: Have you ever had a memorable homecoming?
Until the next post, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!