The HLWW had another gathering, this time in the beautiful city of Vancouver. I completely enjoyed the mountains and the beaches and the city.. I would caution folks that it is NOT cheap.
I think the best or rather worst story has to be the tour guide from hell. I was staying at the Hostel International, like I do, and it was great. One of my hopes was to go to the Capilanos and hangout in the trees. Hostels will usually have access and information of tours and transportation so I enquired at the desk. This wirey old guy pipes up that he has a tour going there Friday. He seems nice his price is right, why not. I checked with some folks I met at dinner who had been out somewhere with this guy and they said it would be great and they were also going to go on Friday. I should have read the fine print. We start out and I am expecting to get on a bus and head out to the woods to the Capilano. NO, we walked for an hour around the city. Apparently we had to kill time and get to the other side of town where we caught a regular city bus. I actually asked if I had the wrong trip which of course made me a favorite right off. Just before the bus came we were told to go to this coffee shop and pee, and buy some lunch stuff cause there would be no place for either of these events once we got started. I should have called a cab. We then proceeded to catch 2 more buses. The whole time the dude is telling us about himself. We arrive at a park and do not proceed down the trail but are lead off trail into the woods. Let me just say, I love off trail but I was not expecting that, or dressed for it. Some of my companions were also not prepared and frankly barely up too it. This was not a walk in the woods this was off trail hiking. Again I love that but not as a surprise, I had been hiking and walking a lot and well, my old injuries were starting to complain. Still I am capable and I do have good shoes if not my boots so I am getting along, not everyone was. If you stopped to take a picture you were ridiculed or chastise in front of the group or told if the group did not get to see the Capilanos that it would be your fault. WHAT AN ASSHOLE!!! So we get to stop for about 20 minutes to eat our lunch, no pee break because it was locked at this salmon hatchery where we stpped. No chance to look around because you need to drink your drink (if you still had some) and eat your food. I did see a giant bird grab up a salmon and eat it. After some more talking about himself, I swear I kept waiting for him to break into a rant about his relationship with Jesus. We covered everything else including how we all need to get off the drugs and liquor and eat better. I wanted to kick his ass but I restrained myself and settled for just a little bad behavior. While wandering we learned that he has a 2 million dollar life insurance policy on us (might cover 1 person's injuries if it wasn't too bad) and he is not a real tour guide, he just likes to do this, it's his hobby. The path we are taking thru the woods is just of his own making. And the whole trip is really all about him not us. We pop out of the woods along a highway and he instructs us to walk single file, so we don't get hit by the traffic, down to where at last we see the entrance for the Capilanos. We go in, the others have paid 25 dollars to enter, and I am free because I have a pass. I have informed Carol, whom I met at the Con, that anything under 2 hours, I am ditching this guy and his tour. He has us huddle around and says meet back here at 3:30. It was 3 o'clock. The others ran off like roaches, I extended my hand said nice to have met you but I am done with you now. Carol agrees and we wander over to the snack bar and get us a couple cups of tea. I am having a cigarette and our ex companions are dashing by in their haste to see the place in 30 minutes. They all comment on how if we sit and have tea we are not going to see everything. Here is the interesting thing. When I tell them we have jumped ship and will not be joining up with them they all stare befuddled, some even said "you can do that?' I told them they could join us and I would get them home but people seem to think, I paid for this and I am now obligated to see it thru even if I hate it. WTF, that is crazy to me. There was a bus every half hour till 7, the park closed at 6:30. Carol and I had a blast. We did the bridge, we sat up on the walkways, and we shopped. What happened to the tour? They rushed off and hurried back downtown so they could see the library. When they got there, it was closed due to a public worker strike that had been going for months. I have already got my next trip planned and it will be to San Francisco.