I've never made the drive on I-5 North to the border, but it's straight (not narrow) and easy, thank goodness. I was able to cross the border in ten minutes, and was on to my very first time in Vancouver!
I noticed several things immediately upon getting into town: its complete awesomeness, very skinny roads, flashing green lights that mean god knows what, super friendly people (I had to stop twice to ask for directions) and the accent. Oh, the accent. It's been such fodder for jokes that the whole trip I felt like people were messing with me. I also noticed how clean and just beautiful the city is. I loved it immediately! All the water and the very cool downtown - how have I never been to this city?
So I made my way to my hotel, checked in, and literally ran in my room, threw my bag on my bed, and ran down the street to the show. They were running just a little late, and I ended up arriving ten minutes before it started. How great is that?
The show was amazing. The venue - The Commodore Ballroom - was one of the coolest places I've been for a show, and the crowd was crazy. Easily my best Mika concert ever. I rarely drink (just because I prefer to eat my calories vs. drinking them), but I admit that I took the opportunity (after such a crappy day) to get trashed. Sauced. Looped. Tore up from the floor up. I made lots of local friends and we all had a great time. Despite being invited to other parties because I was apparently so much fun, I walked home after the show and crashed hard. Nice to finally sleep.
On Wednesday I went way out of my comfort zone and met up with blogger Buddhafied for coffee. It was great! I've read Buddhafied for a couple of years now, and he is super interesting and just the kind of person I knew I would enjoy meeting. I arrived at Starbucks a little early and tried out three tables before settling down at one. (Crazy.) I was nervous and itchy and just not sure it was a good idea, up until the part where Buddhafied ran in the shop and gave me a hug. From that point on, it was all great. I've met a handful of bloggers, and sometimes it's really comfortable and sometimes it's kind of awkward, but it was totally pleasant this time. It genuinely felt like we were old friends getting together for coffee for the 100th time. We talked easily and candidly, and for over 2 1/2 hours, about everything. We also dished about friends and blogger buddies that we admire, like Greg, Durban Bud (who actually introduced Buddhafied and I, without knowing it), and Dave2. I felt a great connection with Buddhafied. I guess I just mention all that because I was so pleasantly surprised and I was buzzing all day from the great time we had.
After coffee, I walked around town for a while - again, super impressed with the city - and then made my way to BC Place for the U2 concert that night. (Side note: I felt the humble vibe of the people so clearly. There's just something about Canadians - I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb just being American. Walking down the street I would think to myself, Don't walk so confidently! Something that cracked me up was that I'd been referring to the concert venue as the BC Palace since purchasing my ticket, and only figured out that it's called BC Place when I arrived at the concert. The venue is massive - it holds 60,000 people without counting thousands on the floor - but it's not a "palace" it's just a place. Ya know, the Place. If that thing was in the States it would definitely be the Palace.)
It was my first U2 concert. The Black Eyed Peas opened for them - I could have done without that, although I've Got A Feeling is one of my running songs, and that was fun to see. The band was dressed up ridiculously and I had a hard time paying attention to any of the performance - my mind looped through Fergie's terrible hair extensions, what an illness celebrity must be, and worrying I was going to fall to my death, as my seat was two rows from the very top of the
Palace Place. U2 was really fantastic. I'm not a die hard fan, but I have a few dozen songs that I adore and keep on heavy rotation, and it was just really something to experience U2 live. I was distracted by the size of the crowd, but I enjoyed myself very much. I was incredibly moved by both Walk On and the 60k person sing-along that was I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Chills. I also really enjoyed another one of my favorites - Stuck In A Moment. Super cool. Cross another one off the Life List.
On Thursday morning I got up early and drove around Stanley Park before leaving for home. The park is really beautiful and made me like the city even more. What fun to go someplace totally new. Even after the rough start in Seattle, I ended up having a great trip. I would love to go back and explore, bring my surf gear, and see Buddhafied again!