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Old 26th May 2023, 20:49   #1
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Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

In the past, I never paid attention to this detail. You know, about how far was Canada from home.

As they say, when you get the taste of "blood" it's hard to get rid of that taste.

We made our first land border crossing to Canada in March 2023 and since it's so close to home- 85 miles to the border and 110 miles from Downtown Seattle, now there is a constant itch to make a quick getaway to Surrey/Vancouver whenever we get an opportunity.

To give you a bit of the lay of the land, as soon as we cross the border, the first city is Surrey and this is a pretty big area and makes you feel like you have entered into India.

People walking on road, folks waiting at bus-stands, when you glance at the car next to you in signal. You will find a "Sardarji" tweaking his mustache.

When you cross the city of Surrey, the landscape and overall feel changes dramatically and then you feel- "this is Canada"

Amongst friends, we have a joke going- We go to Canada via. India. LOL!

Primary Reasons to visit Surrey & Vancouver :

1. Food, Food, Food- Hands down the best Indian food in entire North America (Better than Toronto, Canada). No place in US can even come close when it comes to authenticity.

2. Scenery, Scenery, Scenery- Being part of PNW, it's not surprising that this part of Canada is absolutely stunning. There is tons of places to explore if you are an outdoor/nature lover.

3. Hair Salon- Women folks love to spend time at the hair saloon as cost is darn cheap compared to Seattle.

4. Grocery Shopping- There are so many items which isn't available in US. It's like discovering a treasure cove.

On a Friday, I was out with colleagues for a BBQ party and came home pretty late. And, my friend who lives in the neighborhood called me at 7am and said, " Hey Avi, Let's go to Canada to eat some nice food".

Well, I was bushed from last night but, when someone says "Food" all lights in eyes light up and decided to make this trip.

My friend (He's now a regular in all Team-BHP drive meets that I organize) lives in Seattle from 30-years and never uses maps for Seattle nor Vancouver came to pick us up in his beautiful Volvo XC-90.

We left home at around 11:00am'sh and were back home at 1:00am and drove approximately 300 miles (including driving on the gorgeous "Sea to Sky" highway which was 50kms north of Vancouver)

Let the pictures tell the story of what can be accomplished in 14-hours and 300 miles later.

Our ride to Canada-

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Taking off from home

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Bellingham, US- This entire stretch is riddled with tall trees, snow capped mountains and is just before the border to Canada.

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Weather was fabulous- Bikers come out in hordes.

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Check out his helmet. LOL!

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Approaching Border

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We were on other side of border into Canada in literally 2-mins.

Line at the other end was ridiculously long for folks wanting to cross over into US. Easily a 2-hour wait at the border.


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Duty Free stores littered near the border

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Longest Train that I saw in my life. It was never ending.

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First Destination- Happy Singh- Amazing place to enjoy some great chat.

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Tandoori Chicken Momos- This was next level

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Steamed Momos

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Kathi Roll- Fabulous

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Pleasure of seeing this signboard was inexplicable.

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$28.00 for 24 of these delicious balls of water that burst into your mouth.

We had 48 amongst 4-adults. LOL!


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Canada or Punjab?

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Rabri Falooda served ice cold- Just like we get in "Gianni" in Old Delhi.

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There's a rumor this is owned by singer "Daljit Dosanjh"

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This video gives you a feel of "Payal Business Center. Doesn't it feel like being in Delhi?


Last edited by mobike008 : 31st May 2023 at 09:35.
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Old 27th May 2023, 21:12   #2
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re: Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

After enjoying those amazing delicacies in Surrey. We spent some time walking and sinking in the sounds of Payal Business Center. We decided to head to one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver- "Sea to Sky" Gondola Ride.

It's about 50kms (Not miles) away from Vancouver Downtown and about an hour drive. We drove through the fabulous " Sea to Sky" highway which is an absolute fantastic and super winding 2 lane per side highway with Pacific Ocean running through that 50kms to reach our Gondola destination.

I keep repeating this. PNW has got the most gorgeous views that you can enjoy as it has everything- Lakes, Ocean, Mountains, Tall Lush Green Trees and Vegetation.

We reached the destination around 4:30pm and we made a mistake of not buying the tickets online as we were too busy enjoying the drive.

When we reached, the ticket price kind of shocked me (CAD$ 75 per Person) and online was almost 20 bucks cheaper. But, online was closed and was available for next day. Since we made the drive, we went ahead and bought the tickets. I was told later that sight seeing in Canada is quite expensive.

We took the Gondola ride which was a good 8-10 minutes with an almost vertical climb to the mountain top. The ride gives you an expansive view of the surrounding snow capped mountains, lakes and amazing sceneries.

Once on the top, there is a full fledged bar and restaurant for you to enjoy drinks and food. There is a suspension bridge (pretty shaky) that you can cross to the other side for views from a different angle and on side of the mountain.

We spent a good 2-2.5 hours at this beautiful location.

Here are some pictures of the "Sea to Sky" highway in this post. Enjoy !!


Driving through Vancouver- I was told this bridge was shown in the Bollywood movie "Pardes"



A few pictures of the utterly Butterly gorgeous "Sea to Sky" highway.

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A video to give you a feel of this amazing highway. Check that motorcycle rider how much he is enjoying. Wish I was on that bike. Haha!



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A massive CAT was parked on side of road. Possibly as an Attraction.

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isn't this a driver's paradise?

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Parked at destination. Don't miss the background.

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Expensive tickets.

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Last edited by mobike008 : 31st May 2023 at 09:40.
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Old 28th May 2023, 19:34   #3
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re: Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

This post contains pictures of views from the top. I would highly recommend anyone visiting Vancouver to check this place out.

I'm told this is even better in Winters. So, we have already made plans to come back again in Winter for this gondola ride. Perhaps on the way to Whistler, Canada which is also on my list to visit in near future.

Gondola Ride- The weather was beautiful which added to the overall pleasure of this visit.

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Inside a Gondola after 6 years- Last one was in 2017 in Genting Highland, Malaysia.

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US !!

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Carefully treading my way through the suspension bridge as it was windy and shaking quite a bit.

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Gorgeous..isnt it? I can never get bored of this view.

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View of suspension bridge from other side.

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Surreal Views

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Just love this view.

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View of Suspension bridge from the main deck

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View from inside the restuarant

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View of parking when coming down in Gondola

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Gondola Ride View from Top Main Deck.


Last edited by mobike008 : 31st May 2023 at 09:38.
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Old 28th May 2023, 19:45   #4
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re: Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

After that enjoyable Gondola ride, we headed back to the ground around 8:00pm and drove an hour back to Surrey to a fancy Indian place called "Tasty Indian Bistro" which was quite upscale with pretty Indian hostess serving and ambiance was eclectic.

You will never find restaurants this decked up in US.

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Mocktails

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Tandoori Veg Soya Chaap- I will go back to this place only for this dish. It was super next level.

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Lovely Meal

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Desserts were also nice.

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We finished dinner around 11:00pm and headed to the border which is roughly 10kms and since it was late, there was just one Tesla in front of us.

US Officer " What are bringing back into US"

Avi " We are bringing back a lot of left-over food"

Office Grinned and Waved us on " Enjoy and Drive Safe"

So within 2 mins, we were back in US and home by 12:45 am.

That's how we spent 14-hours in Canada. Now this will become a ritual going forward as I'm totally enamored by this beautiful country.


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Last edited by mobike008 : 28th May 2023 at 19:54.
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Old 1st June 2023, 05:18   #5
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re: Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st June 2023, 08:21   #6
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re: Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

Amazing. Presume you are a US a passport holder or a Green Card holder. How easy or difficult is this for Indians with just a tourist visa. I once crossed the land border to the US a at Buffalo on a visit to Niagara Falls, and it was a painful experience - took us 1.5 hours even though there was only one car ahead of us.

Need to visit to Pacific North West sometime soon - missed a golden opportunity when my nephew was a UBC.
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Old 1st June 2023, 09:08   #7
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re: Volvo XC90 goes to Vancouver, Canada for 14 hours!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Amazing.
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Presume you are a US a passport holder or a Green Card holder.
Yes Sir. I'm one of those fortunate souls as it gives a lot of freedom to travel to many places in this world without having to worry about visa/travel documents.

I love travelling and enjoying new places so it definetly helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
How easy or difficult is this for Indians with just a tourist visa.
Depends. Folks visiting US on tourist visa/people on other visas like H1B need to apply for Canadian visa and it has the standard process of applying online, submitting paperwork, going through Biometrics and finally getting an approval on the visa.

Timeframe for getting the tourist visa to Canada can be a 3-4 weeks process while being inside the US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
I once crossed the land border to the US a at Buffalo on a visit to Niagara Falls, and it was a painful experience - took us 1.5 hours even though there was only one car ahead of us.
I have been to Niagara from both sides (Canada and US) but, never via. land border crossing. But, I heard it's not as smooth as it's on the west coast.

My experience each time here has been fabulous and there are 3-entry points and the time at border crossing keeps flashing on the highway many miles in advance so you can decide which border crossing to use to enter Canada.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Need to visit to Pacific North West sometime soon - missed a golden opportunity when my nephew was a UBC.
I have been to over 50% of states in the USA. But, PNW takes my breath away (especially Washington and British Columbia)

PNW consists of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

I'm blessed to live here as gorgeous scenery starts right from our door-step.
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