Sunday, January 25, 2015


Brandon had a conference to attend in Vancouver so the rest of us tagged along.  While he was presenting papers and listening  to lectures we were able to do a little bit of exploring.   The verdict:  Vancouver is  beautiful.
I am still not sure about how fun it is to drag my kids around but they were pretty interested in it all.   
Our first stop was a  lucky one.  My good friend Abbey took us to her brother's studio.   He is the man behind  the new Nickelodeon show Blaze and the Monster Machines.  He usually lives  in New York but happened to be in Vancouver the same time we were and he let us watch them work  on  the final  sound  editing for an  episode that  will be airing next year.  Everyone was extremely nice to us and made the kids feel  like honored guests. 

I had no idea how intensely examined sound effects are.   This crew spent 20 minutes analyzing the sounds of crashing rocks.  At the end of the episode there are four wooly mammoth monster trucks and Jeff christened them after the girls.  Now they will forever be known as Rocky, Daisy, Rosy and Penelope.

Anyone who has tried to travel with children probably won't be surprised that  the most  exciting part of the whole trip for them is the hotel.   We stayed at La Quinta and we made good use of the towels, the pool, and the free breakfast.  
We  spent more time than I would like to  admit in the room watching  cartoons.   At one  point while watching  LaLa Loopsy I heard Rocky say, "Eww, there are boys in this show?" I  asked  her what is wrong  with boys and she said, "No mom, I said, oooh, there are boys in this show!" I stood  corrected. 

Brandon presented two papers.    One was about a  self-translating Puerto Rican poet named Uruayan  Noel.  The second was on an old version of Spanish called  Ladino that was preserved  when  the Sefardic Jews  were exiled.  He worked hard preparing his presentations.  I didn't get to  hear them  but I can say that he sure  did look good when  he headed in.

While he was hobnobbing with the academic crowd Abbey and  I were herding the kids through the city.   We took this little boat across the bay chasing after the promise of the "city's cultural and artistic heart" and the Kid Market which was sure  to be a hit with the little ones.  What we found  instead was a tourist  trap.  It was as charming as could be minus the fact that the indoor playground  (imagine what you might  find in a McDonald's) cost $10 a kid.   We opted to skip out and grab some food instead. 

I was worried that they would be disappointed but riding in the tiny boat was basically the highlight of their lives.

Our hotel was solidly located in Chinatown.  We went to the mall one night to  look  around and it  was easy to imagine that we were  actually in China.  Rocky kept thinking  that every store or business was  a  restaurant because every sign  had  Chinese characters on it.    We ate in a Vietnamese  place  across  the road.  The people  there didn't speak any English.  We ordered by pointing at  pictures on  the menu and they brought us dishes  and dishes of food.   We weren't exactly sure what was supposed to be served together but  we ate it all in our own way.   It was delicious.

Rosy the little queen  bee  would  hardly even put her big toe in the pool because it was  too cold for her liking.  The only exception was when her dad pulled her in. 
She  preferred the 'hot pool' which had a temperature more to her taste.
We loved Queen Elizabeth Park and spent a refreshing morning exploring  the trails.

Say Cheese!  This is my favorite statue ever.
On the way home from the park we dropped Brandon  off  at the conference.   Of course the road that I had planned  to take back to our hotel was  closed and I ended up lost.  I had a map that got me through  Vancouver but once I got to Richmond we were off the grid.  We drove around long enough for Rosy to be crying,  Daisy to have to use the potty and  for me to have a migraine brewing.  I finally decided that it was enough and that I would stop at the next inexpensive eating establishment  that we came across.   Of course it was  McDonald's.  I marched those kids in and bought  them Happy Meals.  Once again  I berated myself for not stopping in a  local place but I shouldn't have worried.   My girls have never had their own Happy Meals and they thought they had won  the  jackpot.  Of course since it was Canada inexpensive ended up being  not  exactly correct.  I asked three people for directions.  They all pointed me to a kid who looked like he was 15 and  was  apparently the only person  in the establishment that could understand me, but like any 15-year-old that I know, he had no idea how to tell me where we were.   I drank enough caffeine to kill 5 migraines and we magically found our way back to the hotel.  Rocky thought the whole thing was delightful and thanked me over  and over.   The moral of this story is that as I get older my sense of direction just gets worse.

What would a trip to Canada be  without sampling some Poutine.  
We finished off the trip in Stanley Park.
Of course we spent some quality time walking the Sea Wall.

We returned home with the most important of  souvenirs.  I feel a little less cool admitting that we bought them  at Target.  At least it was a Canadian Target which, if news reports are correct, will soon be extinct.   Even if we didn't buy them in a more exotic locale they still tasted great.

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