Sunday, July 12, 2015

BUS STORY # 453 (Will’s Bus Story # 2)

The 257 express to Horseshoe Bay. Photo by Busboy.

Mrs. B and I stayed in Vancouver’s West End for a few days visiting our old friends, Will and Carol. Will has been reading my bus stories from before there was a blog. He also contributed a fine bus story of his own early in the series that you can read here.

We have visited them in Vancouver many times since, but we’d never used TransLink, the Vancouver public transit system. Will rectified the unfortunate omission with a bus trip from the West End to Horseshoe Bay, where we took a ferry to Bowen Island.

What a ride! The 257 express crosses Lion’s Gate bridge, travels a roadway lined with trees, the occasional gap giving us glimpses of the bay beyond, then leaves the roadway for a street winding through a heavily-shaded, lushly landscaped residential area down to the ferry docks. This route has to be one of most beautiful municipal bus routes in the northern hemisphere.

View through the windows of the 257 from Lions Gate Bridge. Photo by Busboy.

A glimpse of the bay along the roadway. Photo by Busboy.

Leaving the roadway for the scenic route down to the ferry dock. Photo by Busboy.

Before boarding, Will handed us our tickets (pre-purchased!) and a “loonie” (A Canadian dollar coin) to cover the zone change. We boarded a standing-room-only articulated bus full of folks, some tourists, some locals, but the majority of whom were also taking advantage of the weather to visit the bay area.

When a seat became open beside a woman who looked to be our ages, Will took the seat and got his bus story, which he shared with us while we waited for the ferry.

The woman was on her way to Nanaimo, a town on Vancouver Island, to pay taxes on her house there. She bought the house way back when for $17,000 Canadian, and no one had a clue what would happen to real estate values in the Vancouver area.

She was a retired marriage counselor, that career a second one after having been a human development researcher. But, she told Will, neither of these was her first calling.

She had a horse when she was a young girl, and decided then that she wanted to be a stock breeder. She was taking piano lessons at the time, and one day, her teacher told her she was gifted, and that diligent practice would likely lead to a career as a concert pianist. The girl then confided her real desire. The teacher dismissed the confidence as a silly idea. She told Will she considered the teacher’s response, then got up and walked out, never to return.

If she ever pursued her original calling, Will didn’t hear the story. But she did tell him she still plays the piano, and performs with a group of local musicians.


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