2009-05-23 49 -123
 Designated Alternate
On the occasion of Mouse Over Day and imminent departure of one of our beloved graticule members on a week long hiatus (unless she's really lucky) from geohashing, we declared an official alternate at Canada Place. This location is highly transit accessible, has food, scenery, floatplanes, cruise ships, buskers, and as the American Society of Neuroradiology 2009 Annual Meeting just ended, we were prepared for an unusually large turnout as there are 473,532 square feet of highly flexible function space available. (Apparently, they warp space and time here!)
The meet time is 1 p.m., and we may move elsewhere downtown for other activities.
- Robyn attended with T-Rex but forgot her flag
- Wade grateful that there was no flag
- Elbie and her friend Simon
- Rhonda and Rhonda's mom, with their cruise luggage
- SueB Managed to convince myself I didn't need to work. I'll be there.
It was a sunny day and even though I had a crapload of work to do, I couldn't resist the lure of a geo-hash. Abandoning my computer I grabbed my bus pass and headed downtown. I have a love/ hate relationship with Translink, my bus was 5 minutes earlier than its scheduled time... but I was there ten minutes before it was due. Score one for SueB.
I was early, so I sat out at the hashpoint and basked in the sun until Rhonda and her Mom arrived, followed by Robyn and Wade who regaled us with their Bicycle Lock-up Blues (there needs to be a ribbon for that!), then Elbie and a slightly shell-shocked Simon who had no idea what he'd been dragged into, and finally Xore.
A lovely time was had by all, as we enjoyed the beauty of the day and watched the seafaring vessels go about their business (or pleasure).
At 2:30pm we escorted Rhonda and her Mom down to the cruise ship terminal to check-in for their departure. I think the rest of us were all a wee-bit (ok a lot-bit) jealous. I rode out on the skytrain with Elbie and Simon until they disembarked in search of the perfect bus to take them home. Leaving me to face my bus schedule all by myself... I mentioned the love /hate relationship... right?
When I arrived at my skytrain station my bus was still there... I ran down the stairs, it was still there... I dashed down the outside stairs, the bus was still there... I made a dash for the door...I made it to within 10 feet of the bus and the doors slide closed with a defiant slap of the rubber water guards and the subtle chuckle of the tires against the asphalt as the bus pulled away. Checkmate by Translink.
I decided to walk home from the station instead of waiting around until the next bus. In the spirit of adventure I walked along the Lougheed Highway instead of the safer (but longer) Brunette. Along the way I saw a mother duck and her new ducklings walking along a log in preparation for a swimming lesson. Happily I had my camera so snapped a few pictures.
What a great day. We should do the alternate hashes more often :)
 Rhonda & Rhonda's Mom
Won't have Internet access for a while but looked cool, collected and happy, so must have had a good expedition.
 Robyn & Wade
This was going to be one of the easiest Vancouver meetups ever, so it didn't need a lot of preparation.
- Coordinates in GPS (even though they were in no way needed to reach the meeting point) - CHECK
- Dinosaur strapped to back of bike - CHECK
- Geohashing chalk - CHECK
We jumped on our bicycles and rode along the Windsor, 10th Avenue, and Ontario bike routes towards downtown. Ontario Street ended in a detour through a construction site, but I think they may have given up on constructing anything, as it's been there for years. The construction site detour brought us out into the middle of a crowd of people. It seemed to be a dragon boat festival, with a team of dragon boaters wearing hula skirts, a team wearing leopard spots, teams dressed as chefs, pirates, hospital workers and monsters. We threaded our way through the crowd and continued around the end of False Creek (once a prime oolichan fishing ground) to Homer Street, where the bike lane took us all the way to the waterfront and from there we were at the front of Canada Place in a jiffy. Wade checked his watch, and jinxed us by thinking, "Two and a half minutes -- no problem!"
Canada Place is a hotel, convention centre and cruise ship terminal jutting out from the downtown core into the harbour. It is designed to look just like a cruise ship itself, with a prow and decks with railings, and sails. If you look at the satellite view you might think it was a big ship moored there. We had selected the alternate on the prow of the street level deck, so we could roll right up to it without going inside the building or up and down stairs.
But as we rolled up to the side, here is our story in pictures.
- We asked a bellhop if there was another way to access the prow of the convention centre, and he directed us through the inside of the hotel.
- When we asked him where the bike racks were, he said there weren't any. "Where are you going?" he asked. "To see someone off at the cruise ship dock." It was pretty much ''the'' most legitimate reason possible for being there, but he couldn't help.
Up three flights of stairs, down a few, around a corner and look, there was the round thing from the satellite view and there was Rhonda and Rhonda's mom. Another successful adventure!
 Elbie & Simon
Elbie left her apartment around noon, and walked over to the 99 B-Line stop closest between her place and Simon's. While waiting for the 99, a Route 17 showed up first, which Simon claimed would be sufficiently fast. Arriving downtown at 13:00, it seemed that may have been a mistake. The two took the SkyTrain up to Pacific, and then walked over to Canada Place, arriving mildly late.
 At Canada Place
All assembled we were a Vancouver record-setting gathering of eight geohashers, although maybe it doesn't count, being a designated alternate. We hadn't brought card games, because it was windy, and we didn't want to lose cards. We didn't bring Twister, because we just played that on Thursday. We didn't play frisbee because we'd lose the flying disc over the sides of the deck into the sea. No one was enthusiastic for tag, so we just stood around and chatted and admired the scenery. We could use some suggestions for games that can be played outdoors where it is wet or windy and without a lot of space, without endangering passers by.
Simon was a newcomer to geohashing. He asked the obvious question, "Why is there a dinosaur over there?"
"He's my geohashing mascot -- hashscot," explained Robyn, "I just put him on the coordinates."
"Does he have a name?" asked Simon perceptively.
"T-Rex," admitted Robyn, acknowledging its genericism.
"T-Rex marks the spot," explained Sue.
I'm sure Simon became enlightened.
| The Vancouver Graticule earned the 2009 Mouse Over Day achievement