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Finally it's my turn to share my experience on this subject, as I just drove from Toronto to Vancouver and got settled in Richmond.
I had to move from Toronto to Vancouver because of some reasons. As I had a car, driving is my only choice.
Before setting out, I got as much information about life in Vancouver as I could. I also post questions on this forum and get many kind advices from pmer, kevin2000, "Tiger that likes swimming" (Sorry I cannot input Chinese) and some others.
Now from my experience, I think the following things are important to a successful long distance journey:
* A reliable car and good luck - the essential part
* A cell phone and a CAA membership - together they give you enough courage to set out. But once you are on the road, you'll find they are useless. There is no cell phone signal except in several big cities, and there are very few call boxes along the road.
* A map - It is good if you have a map. But you can find your way without it.
2 The journey
It took me 5 days (9-10 hours' driving/day, 120km/h).
Day 1: In Ontario, along the lakes. Beautiful sight along the road. HIlls with yellow and red leaves. Some rain and snow just outside Toronto.
Stopped at a lonely motel 2 hours west of Thunder Bay.
Day 2: In Ontario. Same as the first day. Get an extra hour. Stopped at a small city called Dryden.
Day 3: Finally got out of Ontario. Better road. No hills, no color. Just dried trees on the plain. Passed Winnepeg, a city seeming as populous as Toronto. Got another hour. Stopped at Regina, a middle sized city.
Day 4: Passed Calgary. Entered Rocky Mountain. Entered BC. Stopped at the first motel after about 1 hour's terrible night driving. Got another hour.
Day 5: The mountains are so high. There are clouds at the feett of the mountains. Everything is white with snow. Got out of the mountains. Saw green trees and green grass. Arrived at Vancouver just before it's getting dark.
3 Getting settled at Vancouver
I stayed at a family hotel in Richmond for 3 days before moving into my new home in Richmond. I had thought to rent an apartment at Bernaby or New Westminister near the Skytrain rount. But as it's in the middle of the month, it's difficult to find an apartment that's available immediately. After making dozens of calls, I did find 3 apartments within my budget in New Westminister and south Burnaby. I drove there immediately but gave up my plan before arriving. The roads are narrow, crowded and very steep. The first apartment is located on a narrow but busy street. The sencond one is on a wide and quiet blind street among many low rise apartment buildings. But it is only one or two blocks away from the terrible roads and I did not see any Chinese face in that area. I did not take the trouble to find the third one and was on my way back. As soon as I was on the wide, quiet and flat road in Richmond, I decided to get settled here.
I checked all the listings on the English and Chinese newspapers and contacted all that might be suitable to me. There was only one match. It's on the first floor of a house, fully above the ground and in a quited and beautiful neighbourhood. The owners are a young couple, who came from China and were here for five years. They both have decent jobs and are nice. I made the decision immediately.
The biggest problem for a new comer is to get into communication. I called the local telephone company, Telus, immediately to set up my phone service. They made the appointment on a date 10 days from the day I called. The installation fee is $100. I was really angry but could do nothing. For the first time I realized how heavily I was dependent on a telephone line. No phone calls, no emails.
I went to the public library to get onto internet. This is troublesome too. First you have to show something with your new address to get the library card. Then you have to book a computer and wait for your turn. Finally you get onto internet and have to hurry up, as you have only one hour per day.
Fortunately nowadays there is internet access through cable. Their installation is much faster and I finally got internet access from my home. Now I can call my husband with dialpad.
4 Impression of Vancouver
The greatest difference between Vancouver and Toronto to me is that Chinese people in Vancouver are much richer that those in Toronto.
5 Current problem
* Cannot find a Chinese supermarket to buy everyday food. (I did see one but could not find parking space outside it.)
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