Wow. Where to start!!
I am having such an amazing time over here but it is so exhausting!! And I really do not like hostels and having to share a bedroom with other people!!
The flight was surprisingly good - it was shorter than it was supposed to be too so we arrived in Vancouver early.. The food was also better than expected! (The following description is for Caity and Laurens purposes haha) We had Peppered Lemon Chicken with mashed potato and Orzo salad which was yum! (not as good as yours though Mum!!) And then we also had Kapiti Icecream for dessert :)
Then I watched the movied Horrible Bosses before taking a sleeping pill and falling asleep. The sleeping pill was the best pill I have ever taken! I was knocked out until the Pilot woke us at about 830am New Zealand time so I managed to get a good 8 and a half hours sleep which was awesome! Breakfast (once again, for Caity and Lozza!) was scrambled eggs with fruit salad and a cup of tea - also suprisingly yum!
Immigration and Customs at Vancouver Airport was horrible - we were literally stuck there for two hours, waiting in one line for at least one hour and then we had to go through Immigration to pick up our Work Permits which was at least another hour wait.. was a very anti-climatic begin to our Vancouver stay!
Once we had that all sorted though we finally stepped outside (after somehow completely missing the Duty Free stores!! So I was unable to buy cheap alcohol! Probs a good thing though :)) and started trying to lug our stuff to the train station. We had literally just crossed the road when one of the guys who we are travelling with to Panorama called out to us and said that we should just catch a 'Limo' which is literally a Limo but at Taxi prices. We had so much gear that we did not take very much convincing at all and so had a ride to our Hostel in a Limo - it was awesome and a very luxurious start to my trip!
We arrived at the SameSun Hostel Vancouver and checked in, and I was put in a room with three randoms and one girl who is also going to Panorama (Renee). The room was up a HUGE flight of stairs and we all had to carry out insanely heavy bags up these stairs to our rooms. That was not particularly fun at all haha Hostel rooms are really small and stressful and as a result things go EVERYWHERE and I am not so much a fan of them lol. We kind of just settled in, had a shower to freshen up from the flight (Dad you will love this; I am too short for the showers here! hahaha) and then headed down to the Beaver Bar where we met up with some of the other Pano people and then went out to a Bar called Speak Easy for dinner where I had soft Tacos.
The service here is amazing because everyone wants tips, its great haha all the waiters are so attentive to you. Tipping is weird though, I am still getting used to it! There is so much extra that you need to remember for costs and things cause HST (their GST) isnt on prices until you go out to pay.. So you can go out for a meal and think it is going to cost you like 10 bucks but by the time you add HST and then Tipping it ends up much more expensive! Its difficult to get used to!!
After dinner we watched a little bit of a random Hockey game that was on and then went for a wander down the street in an aim to find water and Chinatown however ended up walking into the prostitute district which was a major fail.. This guy came up to us asking if we needed help to get somewhere and one of the girls that we are travelling with (Billie) automatically said yes, and this guy (who was quite obviously on drugs and not quite well) told us where to go, before asking us to buy him a meal in exchange for the directions.. it was really sad..
We started to make our way back to the Hostel and then went back to the bar for a quick drink and then I left Aimee and Gemma and went to bed as I was exhausted..
The next morning we decided to be up at 745 in time to have breakfast, get dresses and shower and then make our way down to SWAP, the place where we were having orientation in time for 930.. Im sure you can imagine how I felt when I woke up at 845 then hahah.. I had to hurredly get dressed in the dark and then run downstairs to get some breakfast and meet the other Pano people who were going to the Orientation.. We got set up with our SIN (tax) numbers and got told about the banks and other things that we need to know while we are here.. I also found out that I have to pay TWENTY SEVEN percent tax while I am here haha so a bit bummed about that..
After orientation we sprinted to the closest bank to beat all the other people from Pano and set up our bank accounts etc... After that we started to walk back towards the hostel and stopped at a few shops along the way (Lozza and Caity they have such cool shops here, Sephora, Coach, H and M, Mac but they are all so expensive!!!). We dropped our stuff at our rooms and then met back at the reception where I met another Rachel Byrne who was from Ireland! So I chatted to her for a bit and then we went and caught the bus to the Snowboarding district to look for some gear for Gemma and Aimee..
The gear here is so cheap, and all brand new season stuff. There were a pair of amazing ski boots for like 300 bucks... Im starting to wish I had more money! Most of the shops over here are just snowboard related though.. like at least 75% of the shops I went into had NO skis boots or poles, just boards and bindings which is interesting.. Skiing is obviously the minority sport!!
We spent the rest of the day looking at the snow shops and then went back to the Beaver where we had a couple of drinks and then there was a trivia night which was themed 'Moustache' for Movember.. we were so sure that we had won that we were about to cheer when they called out the winners but it turns out that we actually came nowhere hahah. We still haven't quite figured out how that worked out lol
I got talked into having a few drinks and then we ended up at an Irish pub down the road for a bit before finally making it back to my room at like 2am...
This morning as we had booked a separate room for me and Gemma and Aimee, we had to check out of our separate rooms by 11 and then move all of our stuff into storage until our new room was ready, That was a bit of a mish and so it meant that we werent ready in time to leave with the rest of the group to go and visit Vancouver a bit so we just kind of did our own thing today. The first place we went was to the viewing platform which was a 360 degree view of Vancouver which was absolutely beautiful!! The weather today was not a cloud in the sky which made it even better!! You could see all the mountain ranges and things..We then missioned it to Stanley park which was also gorgeous, I got a little snap happy here and there are hundreds of photos of trees :) Dad and Diane you have to go here, Dad will go nuts with photos here!!
We did a bit more shopping in the amazing malls (I found this amazing shop today that had insanely cheap labels like Joico hair products for $10 and Guess perfume for $30, amazing Nike and Adidas clothes for like $15... im looking forward to having another look at the shops at Calgary too now!! So far most of the shops have been really expensive so it was nice to find some shops in my price range!!
We have now just made it back from this little dodgy pizza shop which has made me feel a little sick and are about to go out for our final drink in Vancouver as I am going to Calgary tomorrow..
Sorry that this has been an insane novel! Love you all and miss you all and would love to hear from you about what you have been doing!! My number is +1 (250) 270 0637 if you want to text me but I will have no internet access for a few days while I am in Calgary so will update all again soon :)
Take care, miss you, Im off for a drink!! xxxx