Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Meeting Bob and Sonja, part 2

By now, I had seen a lot of the sights of Vancouver and Bob had been a terrific guide to this first-time-in-Vancouver tourist. We made our way to Bobs house where I met his wife of 42 years, Yvonne. I had previously read about Bob and Yvonne visiting a night market and I asked if we could go there before going out to dinner. They kindly agreed, so we loaded into a car and made our way to the Richmond Night Market. It was quite a place.

A long time ago, in celebration of Bob’s pink crocs, I bought myself some and posted just one picture on my own blog of me wearing these. They were only just in view and only one person noticed them. That one person back in April last year was of course...Bob. Here is that picture....




















Of course, I couldn’t travel to see Bob without my own Pink Crocs, so I bought them all the way from London as a surprise. Maybe it’s just as well a certain immigration officer didn’t ask to see in the saddlebags of the Harley I was riding!

It was only right that I wore the crocs that evening and so, here are Bob and myself near the entrance to the night market....

























The market was busy and with more people arriving all the time we were there, it was going to be almost impossible to move around freely pretty soon....





















Here are Bob and Yvonne, in the crowd. Without realising it, we had all worn pink....





















Even though we were soon to go to dinner, we couldn’t resist getting a small snack as we walked along all of the stalls preparing, cooking and selling food....





















I guess it was inevitable, but here is Bob with food again....



























Bob and Yvonne on our second tour of the food stalls....






















One of the features of the night market was a stage had been set up and (mainly) children were singing Karaoke. Some were good, but most were applauded for their enthusiasm, not their good singing voices! It must be a popular thing to do, as the crowd watching them was a reasonable size....





















I had hoped that Sonja, of Two-Wheelers Revisited would be able to join Bob and myself for the riding we had done during the day, but work pressures and a recently re-injured knee meant that she wasn’t able to make it. I was delighted however that Sonja and her husband, Roland, were able to come along to dinner that night. Yvonne had chosen a restaurant in Richmond and we had a plentiful and wide ranging meal of Sushi and other Asian delights. I wouldn’t have known what half the items were on the menu, so I was grateful that Yvonne selected for us.

We chatted about recent trips and football (real football, not American Football) and we all had a great time. It turned out that through reading her blog, I knew Sonja better than her husband, but Roland and I had plenty in common, having had similar aspects to our work backgrounds.

I should have taken more pictures that night, but took just one, of Yvonne, Bob, Roland and Sonja as we left the restaurant. Apologies for it being slightly out-of-focus....



























After the events of the day, walking around the market and dinner, I had a excellent night’s sleep at Bob and Yvonne’s house!

While at the Asian Mall the previous day, I saw a peculiar looking fruit called a ‘Durian’. Large and spikey, I had never seen one before and Bob advised that Yvonne liked to eat these, so I bought one. We decided to taste it and so wielding a small axe to break through the formidable husk, Mrs Skoot attacked the beast to reveal its contents....









































To prevent injury from any wayward axe blows, the two men watched whilst wearing protective crocs!















































The task of breaking into the fruit wasn’t as hard as it looked it might be and I was warned the smell puts many people off eating it, but I gave it a try and could hardly smell it at all. Durian has an odd texture and taste, but I can understand why it is known in some Asian countries as ‘The King of Fruits”....





















It was Sunday morning and we had heard that the main border crossing near Vancouver would be.... wait for it.... closed for most of the day to accommodate a once-a-year Girl Guide event called “Hands Across the Border” where Canadian and American Guides have a party at the border crossing!

We listened to the radio station that gave reports of border crossings and suspected that as the day went on, the alternative and smaller crossing points would get busier and busier. We decided to leave early and Bob accompanied me to the next available nearest crossing which we when we looked, Bob estimated it would have about a two to three hour wait time in the very long queue that had developed. We travelled further east by about 40 miles to get to the next crossing where luckily, the queue ws nowhere near as long and we got across in about 10 minutes....



























Bob in the queue....





















I was pleased that Bob was able to join me for the day and we rode south back into the USA. One of the places we went to was Edison, where we took pictures in front of the western-looking Longhorn Saloon.















































Bob taking pictures....





















We stopped for lunch at LA Conner and sat on the deck overlooking the river. Being a Sunday, there were many motorbikes out and about and it seemed half of them were in LA Conner. Bob ate a sirloin sandwich and I went for good old ‘fish and chips’. There were far too many chips, but I couldn’t resist them. By the time we finished eating I felt way too full.

One thing I have learnt being with Bob for a couple of days is that like quite a few people, he carries a camera almost everywhere. But, unlike most people, Bob uses his camera almost everywhere! He has an seemingly unstoppable appetite for taking pictures and his blog posts are full of the type of detail that comes with being a very active and interesting person. I watched him in action in La Conner, walking around, taking pictures....




















































Bob wrote on his blog about the trip to La Conner, but we agreed not to mention the two of us meeting for a few days, deciding to wait to see if anybody worked out that my encounter with the immigration officer was actually at the border into Canada. In turn, Bob wrote about La Conner, didn’t mention me being there, but did include a photo with me included in that post, but I don’t think anybody spotted this.

When I compare what I have written here about LA Conner and then compare that to Bob's post about the same place, my words seem weak and feeble compared to the fantastic way that Bob wrote about it. Click here to see what I mean.

Meeting Bob was a real pleasure that met all of my expectations of the man, and more. He gave up a couple of days to ride with me, show me around, entertain and educate me. Bob, it was a real privilege to meet you my friend. Many sincere thanks for a fantastic time.

One last photo before we parted, with Bob heading back north to Vancouver and I headed south back towards Seattle....

11 comments:

Jack Riepe said...

Gary France:

I read this episode with great interest, though I am playing catch-up as usual, reading all the missed episodes from the top down.

If I was in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Skoot, I would say to hell with dinner and eat my way from stall to stall. The grilled squid or octopus in the picture made my mouth water. And there is nothing like fresh dungenous crab. I quite applaud your choice of fish and chips, though there are few plces in the US, or Canada, that make it well. I highly recommend JP's on the water in North Bower's Beach, De.

I must take exception to the manner in which you are perpetrating the crime of durian. Several of my immediate family members are Vietnamese by marriage, and they graciously include us in many authentic meals. One of these meals was topped by durian. If you cannot smell this thing when it is opened, then you qualify to work in a poison gas factory. The durian is the closest smelling thing to ripe garbage, with a hint of human excrement, without actually being rotten.

When my friend Minh cut it open, every dog in three counties started sniffing and barking. Rescue dogs went into immediate body recovery.

I think the picture of you and Bob Skoot in your crocs summed up quite a bit. I think it might have made more of an effect if you guys held hands, and skipped away into the market.

Fondest regards,
Jack / reep
Twisted Roads

Geoff James said...

Great to see all the bloggers together Garry. Sad to say that I missed Sonja by less than a kilometre when she was in NZ last year.

I'm with Mr Riepe with respect to Durian fruit!! Perhaps it wasn't ripe because the smell of a ripe one is truly horrendous. On our recent s-e asian tour, all hotels in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore prohibit you from bringing them onto the premises!

motoroz said...

Glad you guys met up. Always fun to meet fellow bloggers. You are a bigger man than me with those crocs. :)

Charlie6 said...

Gary, great posting about meeting up with Sonja and Bob, and I learned about Durian.

Of course, now I have to find one to see who is accurate....you or Mr Riepe in terms of the smell when you break open the husk.

I like the angle of the boat's railing in the last shot....

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

cpa3485 said...

Pink Crocs and more pink crocs.
Ohhh, The Humanity.....

Jim

irondad said...

If you're ever in Oregon. I'm not as pretty as Bob. However, I do like to eat and have three cameras!

One of these days I'm going to have to come over and try authentic fish and chips from a British chippy.

Raftnn said...

Great blog Gary, always great to see fellow bloggers getting together. The food and company looked awesome......, now when are you visiting NZ, Geoff and I would look after you as well.

SonjaM said...

Gary, It was great to meet you, and I hope we can meet again one fine day. I will make sure to bring my yellow crocs along next time.

@Geoff: I also regret to have missed that opportunity. Yet again, I shall return...

bluekat said...

What a fun night out and around the town in your matching pink crocs. That Durian is an intimidating looking fruit. Ms. Skoot seems to have the task well in hand. Nice photo of you both at the end. (and the shirt looks like a nice match with the crocs.) Good post! :)

Gary France said...

Jack – You are so right about the temptation of going from stall to stall and eating the way around the night market. It would have been so easy to do this had we not been eating dinner just an hour or so later. I guess I am qualified to work in a gas factory. I have a very poor sense of smell, but I just couldn’t smell it, but I read somewhere there are many different types of Durian and just maybe this was one of the not-so-smelly varieties!

Geoff – Less than a km must have been very frustrating! I have heard stories like that about the fruit and even taxis ban them.

Oz – I just toughed it out with the crocs!

Charlie / Dom – From what I hear Durian can smell very bad, but still worth a try. This one hardly smelled at all though.

Jimbo – Pink crocs? Sometimes a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do.

Gary France said...

Irondad – Oregon would be quite easy for me to get to from Seattle on one of my trips there. I will take you up on that. Oh, fish and chips from a proper chippy – is there anything better?

Roger – A visit to NZ is getting nearer the top of my list.....

Sonja – It was great to meet you and Roland too. Let’s hope next time, we are able to ride together and yes, bring the yellow crocs!

Bluekat – Mrs Skoot was an expert with the Durian! The matching shirt and crocs was a 100% accident!