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Canada - Vancouver - Day 19

Today was the last day for Vancouver to change our opinion of the place before moving to Seattle. I woke up way before Karen, sorted out some ‘holiday admin’ and then started watching the City match.

After seeing them go behind in the 93rd minute we went down for breakfast. We had arranged a late check out and so drove the short distance to The Vanbusen Botanical Gardens to pass the time. In fact it more than passed the time as we both enjoyed the unhurried walk we had around the entire gardens. The flowers and trees were lovely and made us both wish we could do something similar with our garden. Perhaps we should, there is nothing stopping us.

As to be expected we ended the time there at the Coffee shop and wondered which of the 3 weddings that the Gardens was hosting at the same time to crash. All the weddings were of Asian heritage couples and we mused whether they had all chosen today because the date may mean something special in their culture (being 18/8/18).

From here we went back to the Hotel to check out. We discovered that we had a ⅓ bottle of wine leftover which Karen did her best to empty quickly. Then we drove to the airport to drop the car off without incident (and proving I was right not to take the £800 of extras that I was told I should have taken when I picked it up). Then the fun began we took the Skytrain with our luggage back into Vancouver to Pacific Central Station. We knew we had plenty of time and took it steady by taking the elevators where needed rather than the escalators which Karen struggles with without luggage alone with it (a fear of missing her step when she gets onto one). We only had one problem when we had to change stations in getting in the wrong elevator but that was soon sorted and we made it to the Amstrak station in good time.

We were very happy that our Global Entry status giving us easier access to the USA not also entitled us to priority boarding but also a free upgrade to Business Class. There was an enormous queue and scramble for coach class which we were glad to miss. However at the Immigration desk we were quizzed by the Security Lady about when we were last in the USA, I replied 31st July. She said they had no record of that nor had our passports been stamped. We explained what had happened when we had arrived into Seattle and she said that immigration should have updated their system. As it hadn’t been done she would have to charge us $6 each to complete a I94 document. I was flabbergasted that we were going to charged for someone else’s mistake in USA immigration. However as it was a relatively small amount I just handed over my credit card. She said it happens a lot with people who have Global Entry, I just thought that somewhere the system had changed and not everyone had been told. I just smiled politely and thought that it prudent not to argue and got on our way. Something for me to follow up when I get home.

On board the train we enjoyed the comfy seats and settled back for our trip across the border. The train stopped after a hour to let the border guards get on to inspect our passports again which was all quite exciting. The journey started slowly and there were some pretty sights and towns we passed through but all too soon it got dark and we did the last 90 minutes without being able to see anything. The Wifi on board also didn't work for the entire journey which was annoying.

Upon arrival it took ages for the bags to be uploaded and then the fun really began as there were no taxis available outside the station. It was chaotic, confusing and made worse by the fact we were tired. I decided we should try and walk in the direction of the Hotel to see if we could find one away from the station. As we started walking the reason for the lack of taxis became clear. The station is almost next to the Baseball stadium and the Mariners v Dodgers game had just finished. The roads were gridlocked and the pavements heaving with people leaving the game. We walked on for a few hundred metres and eventually I managed to flag a cab down in the traffic. A very nice driver from Eritrea then took us to the Hotel. Karen called him her saviour as it would have been one heck of a walk with our cases if he hadn't stopped.

At almost midnight we checked into our Hotel for the final part of our trip. Goodbye Canada, and Thank You you have been great. Hello USA.

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