China Town

April 16, 2011



It rained and snowed overnight and the temperature dropped. As soon as I stepped my little toes outside I knew we were going to take the day off. No sight seeing today. Donna agreed. We did the laundry instead and got caught up on email. We did what a lot of people on vacation forget to do, do nothing. We were rewarded with rain all day.

I got a call from the San Diego Union Tribune. It seems they are going to do a story about Austin’s and his high school friends’ new business experiment. That reminds me, have you joined the experiment by buying a pair of cool sunglasses or a lanyard for your keys. Visit the experiment


While most people think of April 15th as tax day, for me it is my mother’s birthday.  I called my mom first thing this morning and wished her happy birthday. She is 96 today. She said she had made the news on channel 29, Bakersfield this morning. They wished her happy birthday. I looked out and it was a bright and sunny day and we were back on our vacation schedule of seeing all the wonderful gardens in and around Vancouver. Today was no exception; we were off to see Bloedel Floral Conservatory, which is an indoor climate-controlled garden of flowers and tropical birds but to our surprise the views and gardens outside were just as spectacular. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities and it is easy to see why it has been voted “World’s Most Livable City” for 5 years.

And not to be outdone by the fine dining at VanDusen Gardens or Butchart Gardens, Bloedel’s fine dining is provided by the Seasons in The Park Restaurant. I think the best way to describe the food is that it matched the view, which was absolutely stunning. I had Duck 2 Ways, roasted and deep-fried in oil. The breast was slow roasted to perfection and served with a traditional delicious plum sauce. The leg and thigh was cooked to a golden brown where the skin was so light and crisp that it just melted in the mouth; unbelievable. So good I had a hard time not moaning umm with delight with each bite, right in the restaurant but I used restraint. I didn’t want everyone staring. Donna had the mushroom ravioli, which was also light and delightful in a cream sauce. Our table had a picture window that framed Vancouver’s skyline against the snow-covered mountains so beautiful we did not want to leave but with lunch completed we had to move on or get a parking ticket.


The weather forecast was for “chance of rain” so we decided to play our luck and head off for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in the Chinatown part of Vancouver. By the time we reached Chinatown, only about twenty minutes, the weather had turned bitter cold, windy and parking was an issue with all the parking meters marked “Temporary No Parking.” We parked a few blocks away and got to experience Vancouver’s homeless population, which dominated several blocks of sidewalk on both sides of the street.

Fortunately, we were headed in the other direction but I did have reservations about leaving our parked car. I kept having visions of returning and finding the car had been stripped or worse, not there at all. I pushed my concerns back, more than likely just my over reaction to a strange place and my imagination running wild. I locked the car and we set off to find the gardens, but I did glance back a couple of times just to make sure the car was still there.

We found the garden without much trouble but the weather was turning colder. We decided to take the guided tour anyway. The brochure stated stay safely under cover during rainy days. We were not impressed and this is one garden tour you can skip so when it started to hail we decided to leave and see if our car was still parked where we left it. That is, if we could find it? The strange thing about big cities is all the streets look alike.

Finding our car with all its tires right where we left it was a big relief. We jumped in, I turned on the GPS, I punched in Granville Island and headed to a place we knew would be fun to revisit. Years ago when Donna and I were dating and on a trip we bought sour dough bread, cheese and grapes, which we had for lunch. It was a wonderful experience we both remember. We decided to relive that experience so at the Granville Public Market we bought several kinds of imported cheeses, a big bunch of giant sweet red Globe grapes and a half-pound of thinly sliced Italian mortadella. Next we visited the bakery and picked up two loafs of freshly baked sour dough bread, one plain and one garlic cheese. The fresh bread aroma was like heaven to my nostrils. For dessert we bought two Almond Croissants, one plain and one chocolate.  With lunch in hand, we headed back to the motor home where we relived the experience and it was just as good the second time as it was the first. We might have to try that again tomorrow.

While at Granville Island we also picked up tickets for The Graduate next Wednesday afternoon, which we think will be a great way to end our vacation in Vancouver. One thing we noticed today is that the cherry trees and daffodils are starting to fade a bit with the rain and the wind. Our timing was perfect to see them at their peak.

57 Responses to “China Town”

  1. Sherry Says:

    Thanks so much Carlos for the pictures and stories of your fabulous vacation. I feel like you’ve taken me with you on vacation! I haven’t been able to get away in years.

  2. Lee Says:

    Hey Guys…your photography is awesome and greatly appreciated….take care ~

  3. Eileen "Teatime" Says:

    Once again, the pictures are just beautiful.
    I enjoy reading your vacation experiences and can relate, because we once traveled via motor home when our three children were young. Continue to have a great vacation and I really enjoy your updates.

  4. Tresbien Says:

    I wish you could see my big grin every time I finish reading your posts. But for a couple of issues, it sounds like the most wonderful vacation full of visual and gastronomic delights. Thanks for letting us all hitch a ride on your journeys past and present. Happy travels! Love, Linda
    PS What is Donna planning to make with the wool she purchased at the yarn shop?

  5. Joan from Colorado Says:

    Dear Carlos and Donna, It sounds like you are having a feast..(both for your eyes and your tummy).. beautiful pictures. thanks for sharing your experiences.. It is truly enjoyable. Joan

  6. Cathy Messer Says:

    Carlos and Donna, wow, I have enjoyed the pictures and your experiences in Canada while you are on vacation. Thanks for taking all of us on this journey with you. Always look forward to your next adventure in my email :-). Vancouver is a wonderful city, haven’t been there in years and you make me want to go back! I live in Eastern WA but have been to Canada many times and I love our Canadian neighbors. Your pictures are just beautiful!! Thank You. Enjoy the rest of your vacation. Cathy in Spokane WA.

  7. Roy A Steacy Sr. Says:

    Just wanted to say how happy I am, to follow your writings of your vacation. I’ll bet you never knew how many people would fit inside that motor home when you left San Marcos. Why there must be over a hundred I’ll bet, riding along with you and Donna.

    Keep on vacationing and keep on writing I, (we) all enjoy it very much.


    Roy A Steacy Sr.

  8. Debgboo Says:

    Carlos and Donna, thanks for sharing your vacation! Question: what kind of bird is the one with tuft on it’s head; he/she is beautiful

  9. Jo-Ann Says:

    How fun! I so enjoy your pictures and escapades… You write so beautifully… I have never seen some of those birds in your pictures above… How beautiful they are… Nature did good and had you to educate many of us… Thank you… I look forward to more of your wonderful emails…

  10. Nancy Says:

    When I first looked at your pictures I though you went to Hawaii. The birds and flowers are so beautiful. Then I saw the snow-capped mountains and knew you were still in Canada. I’m so happy you both are having such a good time. Thanks for the update Carlos. You’re a doll. Donna is a lucky lady. Nancy from Utah

  11. Betty Says:

    Wow The pictures you took are so beautiful…love the flowers the birds I am glad you are enjoying your trip…..Molly and mcgee said Hi…..Betty From N,J

  12. GeniaKnitz Says:

    Spectacular photos, Carlos, thanka so much for shariing bot flowers AND birds.

  13. Patti Says:

    Hi Carlos and Donna,
    Thank you so much for taking me on vacation with you. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver and now I have. Someday I hope to see it in person but at least now I have seen it in my head and in pictures. Enjoy the rest of your trip and be safe.

  14. Martha (calliopekid) Says:

    Thank you so much for continuing to send such beautiful pictures along with your daily adventures. I love hearing about all the different kinds of food you have described in such detail. Makes my mouth water just hearing about it. :-)
    Thanks for keeping me in the “loop.”

  15. sharon durham Says:

    so glad you are having fun and able to relive some special moments in your life! thank you for sharing your experiences with us… stay safe and drive carefully…weather in the US is terrible…..

  16. joym13 Says:

    I so appreciate you keeping up the blog while on vacation! I feel like I am there with you – it’s wonderful. :) Continued safe travels and I look forward to hearing about the rest of your adventure.

  17. maia Says:

    To Carlos & Donna, i love hearing all about the garden stories,food stories.Thankyou for all the updates. I live in the west end and there are two places that i know of you 2 might like #1 Blue Herons have nests in the trees in Stanley Park next to the tennis courts. #2 the Raphieal Bird Sanctuary in Delta, it is nice to bird watch & you can even feed the ducks & the chickdees i will give you 2 a tip they really like black sunflower seeds, dress warm though it can get cooler out there.

  18. FloridaSkye Says:

    Donna and Carlos, thank you once again for sharing your beautiful photographs with us. The food sounds wonderful; now I am hungry for roast duck. I hope you continue to have safe traveling.

  19. Linda Greene Says:

    Donna and Carlos, Great pictures!! So glad you are having a great vacation. Now I know where to go when visiting Vancouver. Any word from home regarding Molly and McGee? Stay safe..ldgreene123

  20. pelicangirl Says:

    lovely pics and I can smell the bread and cheese as I read this! Yum…….

  21. Wildcatwoman Says:

    Spectacular photos and blogging Carlos! Thank you so much for taking us along on your journey (again!) Wildcatwoman

  22. mandozee Says:

    Carlos & Donna: A do nothing day is always fun on a trip, to just spend time with a good book, or talk with a friend. Your pictures and discriptions are great as always. Mandozee

  23. Vic Keller Says:

    Carlos if the weather permits, take the horse drawn carriage ride, WE sure enjoyed it when we were there.


  24. Pat Proctor Says:

    I love traveling along with you,where are we going after Vancouver? I’m packed and ready,raingear,check,umbrella,check.sunglasses from Austin,check.Let’s get this thing rolling.Are we there yet?Drive safe

  25. Ginny Says:

    We love hearing about your trip.

  26. Barb Says:

    What a wonderful vacation were having…. I can hear the birds, almost touch the flowers and smell the aroma from the bread. How magnificent you write Carlos, what a gift you have. Donna thank you for letting us travel along and what excellent pictures the two of you are taking. We appreciate the time you take to keep us updated, and we love traveling along with you both.

  27. Theresa Says:

    Hi Carlos and Donna…so enjoying the photos. I can almost feel the drizzling rain on my face as I look at them. I do want to ask how the gas prices have been along the way as you haven’t mentioned that. I did love in the previous post of how you put the people in their place with kindness…lol hubby always says…kill ’em with kindness. :) Your pictures are breath both have such a talent.

  28. Camperfamily (Kim) Says:

    If only California has such wonderful Public Markets! I miss Granville!
    Love all your beautiful pictures!

  29. Lisa Says:

    This is so much fun! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  30. Sherry Kelly Says:

    What beautiful photos of the colorful birds and flowers. Again, thanks for sharing! Your posts are like pages in a novel. You have a way with words, Carlos! Keep them coming. Best wishes from Oklahoma.

  31. Judy Ambrose Says:

    Thank you again and again and again, Carlos. These beautiful flowers are a welcome sight sitting here in my living room in Buffalo, NY. No such colors here yet. You bring such beauty and sunlight into my living room. We have a beautiful garden, but the flowers are staying buttoned up for at least another three weeks. Keep your wonderful posts coming. Love living vicariously through you and Donna for a little while. Thanks again.

  32. Judy Ambrose Says:

    Oh and I must tell you, we put up our first birdhouse this year and we got a bird already!! I was so excited, just knowing there’s a Mom in there sitting on her eggs. Had to share.

  33. Carol Watt Says:

    WOW what pictures! Donna and Carlos what adventures you are haveing and sharing. We are planning on going to Vancover sometime this summer and now I know what to make sure we see and not. Thank you so much for sharing pictures that make the mind smell and hear what it is seeing. Looking for your next post. God bless you.

  34. Sally in Aus Says:

    Happy 96th Birthday to your mother Carlos…I believe she has given you a wonderful passion for nature in all its beauty and I know you both love to share photos.That is how the Owl box U stream started, wasn’t it?Thank you for sharing the delicious meals and fantastic sights of Vancouver…maybe one day I will get there with my husband.He is a very keen gardener so I am taking notes on the beautiful places you visit.Can’t wait for the next “sights and sounds” of your journey!

  35. NatureLuver Says:

    WOW, WOW, WOW!!!
    Pictures are beautiful and love the stories that go with them. Thinking I might need to visit Vancouver one day.
    Stay safe and God Bless
    Liz G., League City, TX

  36. francie bowers Says:

    Hi Carlos & Donna, love hearing about your adventures!! However his post reminded me of the MODs and what we do ‘between clutches’…trade recipes and talk about food!! Glad you are safe and sound and hope you get better weather, your trip sounds delightful!!

  37. Dee Says:

    I have always wanted to visit Canada, (the birth place of my mother), which most likely will not happen so I am so appreciative to you and Donna for the wonderful pics and blog. Also the fact that Canadians are so nice- my Mom was wonderful! I have been reading the blog and it is funny that my husband and I were at the Huntington Library 2 days before you, our Dad lives in Redding and we are frequent visitors to that area, in fact watched the sundial bridge being built and love Whiskey town lake and Shasta also. He is in Mountain Gate, about 8 mi about Redding.
    Continue to have a great vacation, Stay Safe.

  38. Janice aka dg1018 Says:

    It’s wonderful to open your blog and see such beautiful photos and read a wonderful story of your adventures. You have me adding Vancouver to my “Bucket List”. Botanical gardens are always one of my favorite sites to visit. What will you do with all your vacation photo’s????
    Can’t wait for the next installment of “Carlos and Donna’s Big Adventure”. Hey, that could be the title for another book.
    Safe Travels

  39. Caboval Says:

    Oh I had a smile on my face about the wonderous smell of the bread!!! Oh man thats my weakness!!! Thanks so much for your vacation updates I feel as though Im right along with you!!! Have a great time and I look forward to your next adventure!!! Love Caboval

  40. Joyce Hebert Says:

    thanks for the beautiful pictures…i love flowers and these are great…the birds are nice especially the green one…makes me wish i were there seeing it all…hope the rain ends and sunshine greets your last days there..

  41. AnnInSDtoo Says:

    Can hardly wait to see what comes next! Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

  42. June Schafer Says:

    Spectacular photos and adventures. Bet we are going somewhere just as beautiful next. Thanks for letting me “ride along” with all these great posts.
    Blessed travels!

  43. Kit Says:

    Congrats to your Mom, that is an achievement! Thanks for sharing your experiences and that bread & cheese lunch sounds great! Beautiful photos!

  44. Holly Sue Says:

    Dear Carlos and Donna,
    The colors of the birds and flowers are just spectacular! What an amazing city to visit with a feast for the eyes, senses, soul and stomach! There should be cameras following you, as your visuals and the descriptions of restaurant and market offerings would be a prize-winning travelogue – my mouth is watering! May sunshine and warming breezes continue to be your daily companions! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Love to you both, Holly Sue

    • Holly Sue Says:

      P.S. Congratulations to your dear Mother for a mile-stone birthday! Isn’t it wonderful to have a parent still with us as our own years “pile up”! My Dad was with us to just short of 102 and I was so blessed, as you are!

  45. ~Healani~ AKA FoxyTuTu Says:

    Sounds like its been a cold, wet vacation!! Well at least you are enjoying your time and reminiscing!It was 92 here yesterday (Sat) & down to 80 today. That one bird is cute! Looks like a Road Runner??? Stay safe & warm! Happy Trails!

  46. A FAN OF M&M Says:

    Carlos and Donna what a magnificent trip and what fantastic photos. We are thoroughly enjoying your updates and your photos. I now understand why Donna wanted to do this and cannot wait until I retire. We are going to buy and RV and copy your journey! Happy B-day to your mother! Look forward to more updates and more gorgeous photos!

  47. Donna Simonson Says:

    Carlos and Donna,
    I so love the romance the two of you share with one another. Recreating those days of loved shared years ago is like a wonderful waltz down memory lane. You both could easily write a book of how to be married to the end of your life with
    your soul mate. I understand why Molly and McGee chose your owlbox with all the love and committment surrounding them at the Royal home! The pictures of the birds looked like their screen shots for the next Pixar movie. :) Did they suspect you were a Hollywood talent scout?! I’ve always thought that rainy days were for being together with your love enjoying the rain on the roof. Thank you yet again for sharing with us. I think it would be an honor to wish your mom a happy 96th birthday . . . Happy Birthday Carlos Mom! Because of you we have much joy and fun in the world we live in today enjoying the gift of your son Carlos and his lovely bride, Donna. Thank you. Again safe, safe travels our dear friends.
    Love, hugs and prayers owlways,
    “OwlLuver”, Murrieta, CA

  48. Carlynne Allbee Says:

    You two are such romantics – thank you for the vivid descriptions. I can literally smell that fresh bread. Hmmm, do I have fresh butter around?
    Carlynne aka littleguys

  49. donna Says:

    Beautiful pictures Carlos and Donna! We love reading about your travels, so interesting and the food sounds yummy. Happy birthday to your mom!!! I’m looking forward to more updates, have a wonderful time! Be Safe, love from the east

  50. Christine Peters Says:

    Dear Carlos and Donna, as always it’s like being on vacation with you, seeing your fabulous photographs and hearing your stories. I am drooling over the food descriptions. So glad you are at last getting to do all the things you put off for the past year. It sounds magical.

  51. Diane Says:

    Thank you so much Carlos and Donna for letting us be a part of your trip. I have loved your commentaries!! You are such an excellent writer. The pictures have been fantastic, with the birds, flowers, etc. I’m glad you and Donna are having such a wonderful time. Beautiful scenery, too.

  52. CAequuslvr Says:

    Once again thank-you so much for including us in your travels. What wonderful places you are going. The photos and your stories are so appreciated. Oh yum, I could taste the food right along with you–chuckle.
    Drive safely.

  53. Diana Briscoe Says:

    Thank you so much for keeping us posted on your travels. I feel like I am right there with you two. You two are such romantics!! Carlos, if you keep eating and enjoying that cheese & bread that much you are going to have to go on a diet when you get hone. LOL. So happy you two are having a fantastic time. Your pictures are so absolutely incredible. You & Donna have such an “eye” for just the right shots! So have lots of fun in your travels, be safe, be Blessed. Love to both of you.

  54. Jody Veith Says:

    GREAT photos!!!
    Vancouver, the most vibrant city in No. American!

  55. jennifer Jone Says:

    Have a wonderful vacation u 2!

  56. kathy hollis Says:

    Love the macaw photos. Where are they?

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