Cycling through Stanley Park
Last summer, my friends and I went to Vancouver, Canada to participate in an international conference for construction engineering. We were accepted to present our research in front of hundreds of professionals in the construction industry from small local construction companies to huge multinationals with billions of dollars in revenue each year.
We took our work very seriously, we worked through the whole 19-hour flight, we worked right after we landed and we stayed up the whole night before our presentation rehearsing and preparing. Expectations were high, we wanted to make our families, our professors and our country proud, which translated into stress and worry. On the day of the presentation, we wore our suits, put on our ties and headed to the hotel where the conference was taking place. The roads were jammed and so we had no choice but to walk the whole way.
Figure 1: This picture is from Google
As we were walking hastily through the beautiful city of Vancouver, we suddenly found ourselves about to enter Stanley Park, an island the size of Zamalek ravished in wilderness and trees surrounded by water and mountains in the background. We came across a shop that rented bicycles for people to cycle through the gigantic park. The conversation went as follows “Guys, I know you are tired, overworked and wearing uncomfortable clothes, but the only chance we have of making it to the conference on time is that we rent these bikes and go through the park.” I was surprised to find that they had no problem with that idea and we proceeded to rent the bikes and go.
Figure 2: Sight at Stanley Park
We were three Egyptian guys, wearing suits and riding bikes through a park. This made us look unusual, but we didn’t really care. The road took us to the outskirts of the island with trees and animals on our left, and the river and the mountain background on our right. The air was cold, fresh and filled with oxygen which made me feel like I was breathing caffeine. We couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the beauty that was around us and how special and ridiculous the moment we were in was. We would stop for a few minutes to take in the view then hurry back to the road in order to get to the conference on time.
After an hour and a half of pedaling our way through the park, we finally reached the hotel an hour before our presentation. Our bodies were tired and covered in sweat, but our minds were alive and fully alert. We rested and got up to give our presentation. We did very well and many of the audience member came up to us to ask questions with most of the feedback positive.
After finishing our presentation and networking with the people at the conference. We still had to return our bikes to the shop we rented them from. At that point, we were mentally and physically exhausted. However, we had no problem going through Stanley Park one more time. My friend even remarked that if Stanley Park wasn’t so mesmerizing. He would have gladly thrown away the bike and left his 300 CAD deposit to rent it. This was at around 9PM when the sun was setting. We hoped on our bikes to return home, this time, we tried to enjoy the moment. We stopped to smell the roses both figuratively and literally. Half way through the park, we parked our bikes, sat on the grass, and watch the sun set over an unforgettable day.
Stanley Park is said by magazines and travel websites to be the best park in the world, and I think it really is. It’s hard to imagine any other place that can surpass its magnificence in size, trees, landscape or scenery. After going through the park in the unusual way stated above, I went there every day until my flight back home.