Although I’d been up for a couple of hours, I didn’t want to call my friend Philip too early, in case he was still asleep. But I suspect that he’s an early riser like me (except he doesn’t have a playful dog waking him). So, at about 7:15 am, I gave him a call to see if he wanted to go for a walk downtown.
He answered on the second ring.
We agreed to meet at the Yale/Roundhouse skytrain station at around 9:00 am. I told him that I would be driving to Richmond and then parking at the Bridgeport station, and taking the skytrain into the city. I asked if he could give also give Lawrence a call to see if he was able to join us.
“I’ll call you when I board the skytrain,” I said.
“Okay, I’ll be waiting for you at the station,” Phil replied.
Although the Bridgeport skytrain station is the third stop from the Vancouver Airport, the train to the downtown, was almost standing-room only but I managed to find a seat by a foul-smelling commuter. He had a suitcase on wheels in front of him and a smaller bag on his lap. One of his cases must have contained a couple of hundred pounds of garlic sausage because no person could ever emit such an odor. No wonder the seat beside him had been vacant!
For readers not familiar with Vancouver’s skytrain network, there are a few different routes to the downtown area. The Canada Line connects the airport to the downtown, and many air travelers use the train instead of taking taxis or limos. The train is not only much cheaper, but it’s also a much faster option! And I board the train at the Bridgeport Station by the River Rock Casino in Richmond, where you can park all day for $2.50!
And this particular train travels mostly underground, so there isn’t much to see, regarding scenery. So as we sat there in silence, I began to wonder if the garlic odor would transfer onto my clothes? I also wondered how long the plane ride must have seemed, to the traveler seated next to him!
And at each stop along the route, the doors would open, and a gush of air would sweep through the train, and now the passengers standing in front of us were snapping their heads around in hopes of identifying the source of the garlic. I tried to look innocent but when half of the passengers on the train are giving you the ‘evil’ eye – it becomes a case of ‘guilty by association’.
“The next stop is Yale/Roundhouse,” a voice announced.
I jumped to my feet and ran off the train without looking back. I slowed at the escalator and turned on my cell phone. When I got outside, I looked around, from side-to-side but I couldn’t see Philip, so I called his cell number.
“Hello!” answered Philip’s voicemail.
“Hi, buddy! I’m here in Yaletown, where are you?” I asked.
“Right behind you!” shouted a laughing Philip.
The sudden shock made me jump, and as I turned around, a smiling Philip extended his hand and said that he’d followed me from when I got off the train and was surprised that I hadn’t even noticed him! We both had a good laugh, and soon we were walking the seawall around False Creek. Phil said that Lawrence wasn’t able to join us because he had previous plans for the morning.
I confessed that I had never walked around the seawall before. Oh, I’ve been at various spots on each side of the waterway, but I’ve never walked completely around both sides. And Philip is an excellent guide because he lives downtown and knows the history and unique sites of interest, including the location of restrooms.
We passed many people with dogs, and of course, I had to stop frequently to introduce myself to many of them! It may seem strange to non-dog lovers but I’ve yet to see a dog that I didn’t like (although there have been a few I pit bulls that scared the you-know-what out of me).
And of course, we talked. I have always enjoyed our conversations – which cover almost everything under the sun.
We often talk about our love of motorsports and the legends. We spoke of our all-time favorite cars that we’ve owned over the years. Philip mentioned an Accura that he liked. He also had a Corvette that was pretty special. I told him about the Corvette that I once had as my company car. It was a blue convertible with a six-speed transmission. We both recalled our younger years when we knew the name of every domestic vehicle and the engine size. We probably resembled the two old guys sitting on a bench outside a TD Bank commercial.
We walked through the Market at Granville Island and then caught a water taxi back to the other side. Phil has an annual pass, and I paid a couple of bucks for the single fare. I wondered how the skipper knew that I was single? I was embarrassed to admit that it was during the ’80s since I’d last crossed False Creek in a water taxi – and I felt like a kid again! I didn’t even try to suppress the thrill I was feeling at this experience!
We stopped at a coffee shop that also baked bread. Is there anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread on a Saturday morning? My mouth still waters at the memory of eating a slice of warm, buttered homemade bread. Chester’s wife, in Vittoria, Ontario made the best homemade bread I’ve ever tasted but I’ll bet the bread in this shop was every bit as good!
We drank our coffees and then Philip walked me to the transit station, and we shook hands and said goodbye. I enjoyed my morning in the city and I’m so thankful for having such a good friend.
Here is a link to some video clips: False Creek walk videos
Sometimes, we forget what in life matters. Of all the cards, and gifts with bells and ribbon, the best present to me is still a new friend. And speaking of friends – I’m so happy to have you as a reader. And who knows, maybe our paths will cross one day, and we’ll enjoy a walk together!
Dedicated to my friend, Phil
Today’s tune (from Danny’s library of purchased music):