I checked out of the Jane in New York around 10:00 am on September 14. I checked into the YWCA in Vancouver (semi-private room) at 10:00 am on September 16, two whole days later. The challenge in such travel situations is to stay as cool as possible, and as comfortable as possible, as long as possible, a challenge much easier to meet this time because I was flying business class.
I started out at the big Barnes & Noble at Union Square, looking up hotels in Footprints “India”. After an unexpectedly expensive lunch at EAT on Madison Avenue (NOT related to the UK sandwich chain!) I spent the afternoon in cool comfort at the fabulous Frick Collection. However, by the time I had walked the length of Bleecker Street and then trekked with my pack out to JFK, I was in dire need of a shower.
No problem! The British Airways lounge in Terminal 7, to which my business class award gave me access, duly provided a lovely, hot shower and fluffy bath towel. I changed into the clean undies, socks and top I always stash in my carry-on, and felt much, much better. I even managed a few hours sleep, thanks to my lie-flat seat on the Cathay Pacific flight.
We landed in Vancouver at 1:30 am local time (the plane would go on to Hong Kong), and by the time I cleared immigration and customs it was 5:00 am my time. I had not reserved a hotel, but the helpful T.I. people gave me a list of airport hotels with still-active shuttles: one no answer, two full, and the Holiday Inn Express would only come down to $109, way too high for me for just a few hours. Instead I settled in at Starbucks, with a big cup of regular coffee and free wi-fi.
After public transport started up I bought a one day pass, headed into town, and left my big pack at the Y. I spent the next couple of hours on Granville Island – empty at that time of day and clearly far more touristy than I had expected. After I finally checked into my hotel I did some overdue laundry and then indulged in couple of hours sleep in a comfy bed.
My temporary homelessness had not been too difficult, but I felt more sympathy than usual for the surprisingly large number of homeless people I saw on the streets of Vancouver.