Since the Apple store in Vancouver is 45 miles north, and the only other one is 65 miles to the south, we decided to take my sick iMac to the one in Vancouver. This of course means we need to cross the Canadian/US Border, just 20 miles north of home. As we neared the border, we saw this sign, which tells us how much time we will probably need to get across based on traffic. We, of course, smiled at this because we are proud owners of NEXUS passes, which means we use a special lane that considerably shortens the sometimes intolerable wait times. (Before NEXUS, we waited sometimes close to an hour to get across.)
You could be in the US, considering all the Starbucks, IHOPs, and other stores that are so totally familiar to us here. The only thing is you can't hand them a buck: they want a loonie (Canadian money) instead. Fortunately credit cards are easy ways around the money problem.
Lots of high rise buildings as we approach Vancouver. The Apple store is located in the Pacific Centre Mall, so we are going right into the heart of downtown. The buses are electric, with wires above them. People seem to use these at a greater volume than we do in the States.
(I have mentioned this before, but you can click any picture to enlarge. I download my pictures in large size and then use the clever sizer to decide how to display them.) We parked in an underground garage that unfortunately didn't have any signs to tell you where you left the car. We carefully checked the few landmarks so we could find our car again. This is our destination, where I went to the Genius Bar. For those who are not Mac owners, this store could be anywhere. Lots of people wandering around in blue or orange t-shirts are the ones who direct you to your destination or sell you some gadget you can't live without, if only you knew.
After finding a coffee shop nearby so I could fortify myself, we waited a few minutes before my name was called for the Genius Bar. We explained the sound my iMac is making, our Genius plugged it in and in the incredible noise of the environment was able to diagnose a defective fan. We already knew this, but we had to leave my baby behind for 3-5 days. We headed back to our car, miraculously located it, and headed home. This next picture is taken at the corner of 11th and Granville in downtown Vancouver. It was the purple and the chocolate that attracted me, I guess.
It is still a fair distance to the US Border crossing, but we headed back south, having made only a few little errors in judgment. Husband had driven virtually all around the building with google maps and knew where to go to find the correct streets. We approached the border with this sign:
The wait times are always longer going across to the States, because they must hire more cranky and suspicious border guards. I don't know what the difference is, but instead of the 25 minutes stated here, we only had to wait maybe two minutes in our special NEXUS lane. We never fail to feel smug as we pass by all the cars waiting forever to get across. I well remember when I would look with envy at those people going so quickly through, which is why we got them in the first place. We had to send them a densely packed four pages of background material, go into their office for a personal interview, be fingerprinted and mug-shotted and then in a few weeks we received our passes in the mail.
They will call us when the fan has been replaced, but until then I am happily using my trusty laptop to keep up with my coffee klatch people and make sure I don't get too far behind! Happy Halloween, everyone! I'm taking my camera everywhere I go today, hoping for some cool pictures to share.