Vancouver Day 5

Long lie in this morning. When we did drag ourselves up we went with Nate to this organic breakfast place a few stops down the road. It was called Aphrodite’s Cafe. A bit on the pricey side, but with incredible food. We all had omelettes, but the salad was one of the best I’ve ever had – and I don’t particularly like salads. When we got back we had to rush to get ready for Will and Anne’s parents to take us to Ernest’s cousins house. There was some confusion as to where this was; Anne was adamant that we were going to Whistler so I was excited. Unfortunately it was nowhere near Whistler and was more of a suburb south of Vancouver. Still a really nice place, and up a relatively big mountain. Gary (Ernest’s cousin) is a camera man. He’s done quite a few big movies including the recent Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and he’s filming a show called Eureka! right now. He had some pretty cool stories. His wife, Monica, is an artist and has tons of cool pottery and glass art in the house. We were there for the whole afternoon and I played some Splinter Cell with their son Lawrence, at least until the Family Timer kicked us off the system. Thank goodness my mom and dad never managed to install one of those … I almost had a tantrum and it wasn’t even my house J

We had a turkey dinner that was delicious. Oh! They also have a golden retriever named Shadow (from Homeward Bound no less) who was really friendly. The dog had some skin problems and had lost a lot of its hair, but recently they tried this new herbal remedy and also put the dog on an all raw seafood diet (lucky dog!) and it’s hair bloomed back. We had turkey and Shadow had a massive piece of salmon!

The neighbourhood had some interesting stories. Apparently they are close to a forest so there are bears and cougars that sometimes come into the burbs. Also, about 1/3 of the houses in the area were marijuana grow-ops!! All related to Taiwanese gangs and other organized crime. The houses all end up ruined in the end and mostly have to be completely renovated.

We left after dinner and made our way back to Nate’s house without getting too lost. I said goodbye to Anne’s parents. They were leaving the next morning at 7am so we wouldn’t see them until we got to Windsor again. Can’t remember what we did this night … I have a feeling I fell asleep ridiculously fast, so I’ll call it a day here.


Vancouver Day 4

Wedding day! The reason for the trip. Anne and I got up early and prepared our stuff for the wedding. We were getting picked up around 12 and the wedding was at 2:30. In the morning we found time to watch “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”. It’s a not-too-bad comedy whose shining gem is the fact that Eddie Izzard plays the evil mastermind. Brilliant!

Will and his mom and dad came to pick us up on time. We went to their hotel and got ready. Actually I’m not sure why we went to the hotel now that I think of it? Anyway, that’s how things go sometimes. Then we left for the wedding. It was in Stanley Park at a part of the park that Nate, Anne and I already walked past on Thursday. It was a short and sweet ceremony. Bees abound. The sun was out briefly, but most of the ceremony was overcast. This was quite pleasant as it was neither too hot nor too cold. Also Anne’s side of the family was quite relieved as none of them had brought their SPF 8000 sunblock that day. Everyone was fascinated by the bridesmaid’s dresses having secretly pockets massive pockets. Other than some microphone troubles it was a great time and their wedding vows were very honest and lovely. By the way, it is Stephen and Raylene wearing the groom and bridal outfits respectively.

After the ceremony there was the usual hour or so of pictures and then we left for the hotel again. By accident we got lost and by fortunate accident we had to drive all the way around Stanley Park. It was a fantastic drive! When we got to the hotel we ate some quick food and I had one of Will’s beers, Duchess of Vourgogne (I think?). Expensive but really a nice beer. Will is quite the beer buff, and so he knows tons of different kinds of good beers. I was looking forward to this trip J. He can drive the way back and I’ll just drink good beer all day. Unfortunately my looming sickness ruined that dream (spoiler alert).

The reception was at the Vancouver Convention Center West. From the dining room you could see the bay and the mountains, it was a really nice setting. I devoured my chicken dinner and half of Anne’s as well. I sat at the table with the Stephen’s mum. Stephen’s side of the family is from Ontario so they were under-represented there. The bride and groom gave some pretty hilarious and touching speeches later in the night. No one really got into the dancing very much unfortunately, but there was a really great photobooth where you could take pictures for free in ridiculous hats and costumes. Ridiculousness showed a direct correlation to alcohol consumption as the night progressed.

Anne and I left to make our way back to Nate’s place at around 1am and had a rough time of it because it was pouring rain and it seemed there wasn’t a cab in the city. We ran under overhangs and awnings (seems to be a common Vancouver activity) to the Sky Train and made our way alone (i.e. without Nate) back to Nate’s place.


Vancouver Day 2

We woke up pretty early and went for breakfast at this cool place that was a bus trip away. Nate knows that the express bus (the 99 along Broadway) doesn’t check tickets, so we got to ride that one free for most of our trip. Can’t remember the name of the breakfast place, but it was in Kitsilano near the beach there. We went to the beach, I think I had seen it before in my mom’s pictures of Vancouver. There were big logs on the beach and you could see massive ocean liners docked in the bay. On the other side you could see a hint of downtown Vancouver as well as Stanley Park and North Vancouver across the bay. Very picturesque. The weather was drizzly, and slightly cold but I wore flip-flops because I’m hanging onto summer with tooth and nail. The flops turned out to be a bad idea because that day we walked many, many, many kilometres. We hit Granville Island next, and spent some time there looking through the market. I bought a 2L glass container of cold milk and drank the whole thing. My favourite store in the entire place was this hat store which sold old fashioned hats of all sorts. It was like you had stepped back in time, they had ladders on rails to reach the higher hats, the music was from the 1930s (The Ink Spots, my favourite!), and the staff there looked straight out of old Time or Life Magazine covers. I also found those banana protectors I had seen on Dragon’s Den. I think it’s just the silliest idea I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t believe these people were making money off of these things. In the thousands of years people and apes have been eating bananas, I think it’s a strong sign of a bad idea, that no one has needed a banana protector until 2010. It’s not too far off inventing a device to twiddle your thumbs more effectively.

Next we took the Burrard Bridge into town. We walked around for a bit and found a Chapters. I wanted to buy Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, but it was too expensive so I think I’ll give it a miss for now. Another book I really thought was interesting was the new Richard Dawkin’s book on the proof so far for evolution. I can’t remember the name, but it’s got a really beautiful cover and lots of pictures inside. We made our way towards Stanley Park and that’s when my flops started to kill me. I went into about 10 shoe stores, but eventually my cheapness got the better of me and we just kept on trucking. Every now and then it would start drizzling for a while and we’d stop under an awning for a few minutes. We took the counter-clockwise trip around Stanley Park. It was really beautiful. I can’t believe there is this massive forest in a big city. We saw the aboriginal totem poles, which I thoroughly enjoyed. They were all replicas, which was kind of sad, because the British settlers, explorers, and missionaries basically stole, or told the natives to destroy, the originals. The four main animals shown were the wolf, the orca whale, the eagle, and a frog. The kings of the land, sea, air, and the transition between land and sea. After Stanley Park we made our way back into town, passing the statue of Lord Stanley and his plaque reading, “To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds and customs for all time – I name thee Stanley Park”. However, from the statue and the fact that Vancouver is perpetually drizzling, I’m pretty sure Lord Stanley was saying, “Do you feel any drops?”. In fact, studies* have shown that this is the number one saying for Vancouverites.

We then made a long walk to grab some sushi that Nate said was amazing. The place was called Koyoba (sp?) and it was really fantastic sushi. I highly recommend it to anyone in Vancouver. Apparently their Davie Street location is far better, so check that one out. We also passed these hilarious statues on the way there. I also found it cool that a lot of buildings had grass on the roofs. In fact one building (see below), had a massive tree on the roof! Cool, I love that concept of making these huge high-rise condos, but not actually decreasing the amount of greenspace in a city (at least from Google Satellite view).

After that it rained pretty heavily for the rest of the night which made our trip back pretty difficult. We stopped at one of the 17 million Starbucks locations and I finished a Sudoku before we realized that the rain wouldn’t let up. Running below overhangs we made our way to the Sky Train which they built for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Slightly disappointing in the respect that it was quite far removed from the sky (essentially a subway), but thrilling in the respect that the train was completely automated. You could stand up at the front and just watch the train go by itself. Cool! We also didn’t have to pay because the ticket machines were broken. So after a completely free ride back to UBC campus, we got home and hit the hay after a long days trip.


*Sample size: Nathan Belliveau

Vancouver Day 1

I flew from Toronto direct to Vancouver, the flight wasn’t too bad, about 5 hours long. West Jet is a really good airline with friendly staff. A funny trick they like to play is coming around with food and drink that costs money, and then 15 minutes later coming by with free stuff. I watched Dragon’s Den on the plane (they have live TV … in the sky!! Wow!). Landed and met up with Anne and her folks pretty quickly. Then Nate showed up and we were driven home by his roommate Justin. They live about 15 minutes from the airport, right on the University of British Columbia campus. We took a night time walk around campus and saw a 25m blue whale skeleton, as well as their two beautiful libraries. UBC campus is pretty incredible. They only had one building, Education Studies, which came close to the 1970s architectural travesties of UWaterloo. It was really great to see Nate again, and he knows his way around Vancouver like the back of his hand, so he was an excellent tour guide as well! We made our way back to his apartment and then Anne and I went to sleep around 12, which was 3am in Ontario time. Nate slept in the living room. Poor Nate!