Canadians are nice. They are so incredibly polite and helpful that it’s sometimes almost confusing to an American – and I am from Texas, where we are known for being friendly.
Keith and I arrived in Vancouver from Seattle on Friday afternoon, for our TBEX conference (Travel Bloggers Exchange). We came on the bus booked through Amtrak – $40 per person, a pretty good deal compared to flying. When we arrived at the downtown Vancouver station, we boarded a local bus to get to the Wyndham Ramada Inn where we were staying. Although we had just exchanged some American dollars for Canadian ones, we didn’t know that the buses only accept coins – no bills. The bus driver told us to come on anyway, no charge. Now that’s nice.
Our hotel was provided to us by Wyndham and their Women on their Way program – these are the people who sponsored our Travel Giveaway contest with an incredible prize of 75,000 loyalty points to the winner! It was a great location right on Granville Street, not too far away from the convention center were TBEX was held. Friday night we watched the last period of the Canucks-Bruins Stanley Cup finals game in a Lebanese restaurant (which had the BEST falafels and shawarma!). After the Canucks win, the street outside was overflowing with celebrating Canadians…it was fun being part of the party.
Saturday night after the conference, the fun folks at Diamond PR sponsored a party for their “Men of TBEX” photo shoot and just a general good time mixing with the other travel bloggers. After the party, Keith and I hung out at the bar for another beer and met this fellow named Ronnie, a Canadian who had also spent many years in the USA. We talked to him for an hour or so, very interesting and affable. I asked him what he thought the best thing was about Canada compared to the US, and vice versa.
“In the US, it’s the First Amendment for sure,” he explained to us. Of all the differences between the countries, this is what he prized most about the States. For Canada? “Tolerance. Lack of racism and bigotry – you just don’t see it here the way you see it in the US.” Interesting take, I thought.
All in all, we had a great – though short – whirlwind weekend in Vancouver. We didn’t get to do much sightseeing as we were pretty busy with the travel bloggers conference. We did eat lunch on Sunday from an awesome food truck that we found (we are huge trailer restaurant fans, and Austin is a hotspot for this). Feastro served up some very impressive gourmet tacos – I had one with huge, fresh jumbo shrimp and an unbelievable cream sauce, and Keith’s was salmon and pesto. Delicious!
We have just arrived in Victoria to visit friends and continue our damn-near-free travels in the Northwest – more to come later.