Victoria, BC, and a bad day in Vancouver, BC
Since we had time in the morning, we decided to catch the ‘Titanic’ exhibit at the natural history museum in Victoria before catching the ferry. We caught the early showing of the IMAX movie, and then walked through the exhibit of preserved Titanic artifacts. Quite interesting. Very crowded though. The fact that clothes and paper survived (most by being encased in treated leather, which microbes can’t break down) is just astonishing. We’re also trying to figure out how a bottle of champaign, with it’s cork still in place, wouldn’t collapse under the pressure of the outside water. If it allowed sea water in, then how would it still have champaign in it? and if it didn’t, how would the pressure equalize? Anyway, cool exhibit.
Caught the Ferry over to the mainland. No vending machine hot chocolate this time. But they had a full service Cafe on board, so that was good enough. Got off the ferry and started moving towards Vancouver, which Katy and I had both been looking forward too most our whole trip. We’d heard such wonderful things about the city. Our first experience? Traffic, at a standstill, heading into town at 3:30 on a thursday afternoon. Oh well, every city has traffic. Also, the city skyline itself fails to impress me, the buildings look dingy (almost eastern-blockish) and there’s a -lot- of sprawl.
So we eventually find our way to the hotel, which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. ‘I’m sorry, we don’t have a reservation for you’. Apparently an email saying ‘Yes, please book these accommodations’ wasn’t clear enough for them to, ohh, I don’t know, actually book the room. Their entire reservation process seemed haphazard and incredibly unprofessional. The clerk also wasn’t incredibly helpful either, he refused to admit we’d been wronged, but did offer to call another place nearby that they send people to when they overbook.. ‘Not that that happens often…but when it does..’ yeaah, riiight buddy. So Katy and I aren’t happy at this point, we wanted to stay downtown, and this other place is 10min away. But after calling another downtown hotel and having them be booked up we didn’t have much choice. He called the place 10min away and they said they would hold a room for us. “We don’t know why, but they always seem to have room”, the clerk told us.
So we follow the directions to the new place (the clerk gave us the wrong house number, but we were able to figure it out from the online picture of the house… why did we need to do that? the place has no sign). It’s a B&B in an oldish looking medium sized house. We open the door and ask the woman who answers if we’re at the right place. Through her broken english we determine that, yes we are, but she hasn’t heard what’s going on. She calls the B&B owner, who also says on the phone with broken english, that she doesn’t seem to have any idea what’s going on. After 10 minutes of us going “WTF?!? You just talked to the clerk from the other hotel on the phone!”, we finally figured out they did have a room, available for both nights we’d be here, but it was c$10 more a night they we were quoted, at this point we just said fine.
This place is kind of a dump. I mean, the grounds are very nice, but the insides aren’t as nice. No A/C, the roof deck is rotting, the beds are squeaky and incredibly uncomfortable, the family that runs the place is nice enough but they don’t speak english well so we can’t ask them for advise on what to do. We don’t really have access to public transportation schedules, so to go downtown we’ll have to pay for parking. Needless to say, Katy and I were very annoyed by the point, but glad to have at least -a- room, somewhere semi-close to downtown Vancouver.
We looked up and found a Russian place online for dinner and decided to try it. The food was good, but I wasn’t feeling well by that point and we decided just to call it a day.
I guess our biggest thing was that every other place we visited, we were met by friendly people who were pretty eager to help us when we needed it, and we didn’t get that here. We got kicked out of our hotel, without them admitting any smidgen of responsibility, and they sent us to a place which wasn’t even run well enough to have more then a quarter roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. Hopefully we’ll get to see some more of the Vancouver everyone tells us is so great because so far it’s…far short of that.