Not only that, the next day when I went to Golden Ears Provincial Park, the entire journey of silence surrounded by jungles of trees adds to this bliss. Merely saying it is beautiful is an understatement.
Apart from that, I don’t think I will dare to drive here at night. I had the urged to stop (which is not allowed) and take pictures in the middle of the road but I reminded my inner rebellion, 'What if a wild bear jumps on me?' There must be a reason why the authority do not allow anyone to stop and take pictures in the middle of the road.
When I reached the Aloutte Beach, a group of students just left in their bus. So I was alone with a lot of ducks/swans quacking non-stop in that echoic area. It is quite eerie if I were to think too much. The sparkling lake in the middle of mountains was so beautiful. About 20 minutes later while I was snapping pictures, a very fit man with a paddling board walked towards the beach. I had a chat with him for awhile before he proceeded to paddle, stand paddling. He told me that this is his morning routine to paddle from here to right ahead wherever that lake leads to. Wow! He is so daring to do that by himself.
I continued enjoying the lake and the mountains, ignoring the echoic quacking. A moment later, a middle-aged Chinese couple came and join in at the beach. Since it is very quiet with no humans there, it is good to start a conversation with strangers. I started chatting with the wife. She told me that both of them came here to visit their daughter and they were here too last week. The silence of the lake motivates them to come here again.
This is a beautiful location for photography and to enjoy the nature. I don't mind adding this as my place to visit again.
Remember to drive abit further after this area where there is a gorgeous stream of river. Follow the GPS and signboards.
Right after immersing myself in nature, I went to Granville Island Public Market which is about 2 hours drive from the park. This is another market which I enjoyed being in. There are lots of nice things such as souvenirs, postcards and food here. It is a calm, clean and non-hectic kind of market. This place was recommended by a Youtuber (Wolter's World) in his video "5 things You Must Eat in Vancouver" who is also the one who suggested to try the Nanaimo bar from this market. Nanaimo bar is made of coconut and chocolate. I don’t like coconut in cakes but this one is a 100 times thumbs up. Not too sweet. Should have bought more than one and bring home. Stuart's Bakery is where I bought the Nanaimo bar and other huge beautiful pastries.
I had fish and chips at Celine's Fish and Chips for lunch, and also bought a packet of Chinese vegetable fried noodles in that same food court, Gourmet Wok for my dinner. I had also prepared in advance by buying tomorrow’s breakfast at an organic bakery right outside the market. Like I said there are so many different types of food here that I could stay here for probably a few days only to try the varieties. A Bread Affair is located at a compound right outside the market. The grilled cheese - Huge and the only thing I can say is it was still good even though I microwaved it the next morning. Moral of the story before you visit this place --- Come here with an empty stomach.
These are my last stops for that day. My plan is not to visit any places on the next day. I will be resting and also will be returning the Dodge Charger at the nearest Enterprise Rent A Car located in Maple Ridge so that I do not need to drive to the airport early morning. I prefer to travel easy hence the pickup arrangement through Mozio.
If you ever will be in Maple Ridge, a walking distance across the road from Enterprise Rent A Car, there is this Indian food and bubble tea which you should try too, a decent one with reasonable pricing.
Maple Leaf Indian Cuisine
The cab driver who fetched me from this restaurant used to own this place with his brother before handing it over to their cousins. If you need cab from any of these places, one thing I learnt is that the stores' staffs will help you call for a cab, if you ask. They are helpful to assist you especially if they know you are a tourist. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you (not everyone but when travelling this helps).
The next day I drove to the city of Vancouver. I planned to take a look at the city since I will be submitting my book, Masterpiece in Your Heart-Platinum Edition to Little Sister’s Bookstore at Davie St. While I was driving and lost my way searching for a carpark, I noticed there is a huge beautiful land of water and a beach. Eventually, I found out it is called the Sunset Beach Park. The place is massive with the view of the North Pacific Ocean, also surrounded by Vancouver Island from where I was standing.
The site is gorgeous for photography especially with the clear blue sky. While waiting for the bookstore’s owner to come at 2.30pm I had more time to walk around that area and its downtown. J advised me to buy the Lululemon in Vancouver since that brand originated from there. In comparison to the one in Singapore which is double the price of the one in Canada. So I got a dance pants which cost around CAN$150 and a tank top CAN$80. That is the estimated price if I am not mistaken. (Urghh I should have bought that yoga pants for my gym workout).
Walking at Vancouver is nice surrounded with trees turning to colors of Autumn which I have been looking forward to see in Canada.
It is already 2.35pm. I am now in the mood to have Chinese food again. Randomly chose a Chinese restaurant in the Village, Banana Leaf on Davie. I was the only customer at that time. Had their fried noodle and long beans. Thumbs up! One of my favorite moments of eating out in Canada and in most countries I visited is their restaurants are normally empty but does not mean that their food are not tasty.
Right after meeting the owner of Little Sister's Bookstore and shop for beautiful pride pins and key chains for me and my colleague Hans, I decided to drive back to Maple Ridge. Since the travelling takes quite sometime, I have to make sure I will not reach too late at night in case there are bears wandering at the streets of Maple Ridge / Silver Valley where my AirBnB is. Driving at that side of B.C, I am tempted to keep snapping photographs of the landscapes surrounding me of those gorgeous mountains and spacious field of emptiness with the backdrop of sunlight. Impromptu, I ended up at a dog’s park somewhere in Maple Ridge - Jerry Sulina Park. It is such a beauty here and seems like I am the only one without a dog who is enjoying myself posing for pictures with that blues and greens backdrop of nature.
On the way to Vancouver airport, I had a transit at Calgary, Alberta. Ohmygod it is snowy there??? I want the snow in Canada. Okay, whatever it is, this will be a good reason to come again to Canada and this time I will make sure I will be there during Winter, how cold it is, no one can stop me.
Once I reached Vancouver airport, I took a cab to Richmond's Enterprise Rent a Car to collect my Jeep Wrangler. It cost around CAN$18 for about 20 minutes ride. Funny. The staff said he tried calling to inform me that they do not have the jeep at Richmond’s outlet but there is one at the airport. Great! As for replacement, he suggested other cars such as Hyundai SUV (which is too big) and a big luxury car which looks like the Bentley. If I drive this car it will make me look like I am the driver instead of the boss.
Also guess what, they have a Dodge Charger!! Acting like a teenager who do not know anything, I was like "Can you show me how it looks like?" I know how it looks like. I did my research but you know I need to act like as if I am disappointed before I said "Yes, this is a great replacement". This was the car I wanna try apart from the Jeep. I had test drive the smaller version of Jeep Wrangler in Singapore years ago which I find okay but I was curious to check out the larger version of it in other countries. Jeep Wrangler = Tomb Raider = Angelina Jolie.
Anyway, they replaced my dream car to my fantasy car, Dodge Charger. Tell me who will reject it? The only part I worried initially was the left hand driving. This is my first time. Before I decide to drive in B.C, I have been watching YouTube videos of you-tubers driving cars in USA and Canada. Basically, I imagine myself in a simulation, left-hand driving. But luckily it was not that difficult to get used to it. Only that this car, the front section is quite long which I need to get used to it first to gauge at narrow turns.
Right after that, I went to the nearest supermarket to shop for drinks and snacks since the place I am going to stay is faraway. I did some research of the Richmond area beforehand and roughly knows the place, but I ended up in a different supermarket as previously planned. T&T Supermarket is a huge mart with many range of Asian spices mostly Chinese and Korean. You can find mostly everything here. And on top of that, their staffs are friendly and open to lend you a hand.
Richmond buildings and roads are well-placed, clean and systematic, so no worries if you lost your way. The GPS directions are reliable. Right after my snacks shopping, I went to find a halal Chinese food for my lunch + dinner as it is already near to four now. I am craving Chinese food since two days ago. As suggested by Google, there is this huge Chinese restaurant nearby, Beijiang Restaurant. This was initially my second choice since the first one is closed at that time. I was the only customer. The Claypot Oxtail cooked in soya sauce and seafood fried rice are appetizing. Surprisingly, even though it is served in a big portion for probably two persons, I can finished the Claypot Oxtail. Decided to pack the leftover fried rice for my dinner later or tomorrow's.
It took about two hours to drive from Richmond to the AirBnb at Maple Ridge. I have been looking forward for this final stop because the place is away from the city and in nature. It is a house where the owner stays upstairs.
Worth the drive as it is in nature and near the Golden Ears Provincial Park. The place is such a beauty, huge with movie room, sauna in the shower, paintings by the landlord who is an artist, very quiet, cooling and the landlord is generous in terms of providing snacks and drinks. I didn’t eat so much of what she has there since I already purchased snacks way beforehand.
Well, I realized that the place I am staying is actually not that far from Walmart Supercentre where I bought a travel bag, Taylor Swift's Lover Deluxe album, Ellen DeGeneres' merchandise, fruits and more snacks. There are other shops and amenities near the area. The only thing is that you have to drive to stay in Maple Ridge. It is quite far if you plan to walk. I don't see any buses and trains. If you plan to stay here, rent a car.
PLACE TO STAY IN B.C
Maple Ridge AirBnB
PLACES TO EAT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Banana Leaf on Davie
Celine's Fish and Chips
A Bread Affair
Maple Leaf Indian Cuisine
Blog Posts for B.C