Vancouver, Where Dreams Come True-ver (Part 1)

Just like the Vancouver public transit vehicles that apologize to you when they’re not in service, I’m also terribly sorry, eh, for this delayed trip report.  You know how it is: full-time job, two classes, two pets, one husband–life can be quite demanding at times.

So, continuing from where we left off last week, my co-workers barely made our connection in Toronto (where our layover was a generous 35 minutes. Plenty of time to get through customs and buy food for our impending 5+ hour flight to YVR), but we did, and were pleasantly surprised to find Air Canada sporting individual entertainment systems on their flight.  I got to watch Wrath of the Titans (don’t get jealous now) and Batman Begins…[suspense building]…for free!  When’s the last time you got anything free on an American carrier?  You can’t even get a full can of soda on flights anymore (US Airways, ya stingy jerks…!)

After what seemed like an incredibly long nap, I woke up in Vancouver, British Columbia! Look at them thar mountains!

Of course, since we’re American, we’re always hungry, so we stopped by this swanky little restaurant on Sunset Beach.

This beach..like, right downtown. What the what?

Unbeknownst to us at the time, Catcus Club Cafe is like the second-largest chain restaurant in Canada after Tim Hortons.

I did get this yummy fish taco, though…for like $18.

As you’ll begin to notice, a lot of the photos taken on this trip were of food.  Now, y’all have to understand that Lance…is not a terribly adventurous eater (how many meals last week consisted of chicken fingers, hon?), so I relished the opportunity to eat lots of crazy Asian-fusion nonsense with my more palate-diverse co-workers.

For example, that same night, I had…for the first time ever!…Korean Bimmity Bammity Bop. Or Bim Bam Boop.  Or something. (You get the idea.) it was super delicious, even the cracked egg on top.

Now, my hotel room (first of three on this trip).  Well, as you may have read earlier, I was strategizing more for maximum points than actual enjoyment of any hotel. Downside?  See for yourself:

I shouldn’t be mean to the Best Western Plus Sands in Vancouver–it was perfectly fine, and they even upgraded me to their Executive Suite (since I’m a fancy pants Platinum member in their loyalty program, which I did almost nothing to obtain).  However, this very…grandma aesthetic is just not for me.  But, I had to suffer through for the points. THE POINTS!

Hey-o, it’s Henry, my trusty neck-pillow! Isn’t he adorable?

The #2 coffee chain in Vancouver is Blenz (fierce with that “Z”, ya know!) I love trying out local coffee shops to see how they differ from stuff we have at home, and Blenz’s iced coffee…basically tasted a lot like Saxby’s iced coffee, very dark and chocolatey. Still, they’re way more badass than Saxby’s because they substitute a “Z” in for “D-S,” and “Z”s always trump “X”…duh.

Oh, and you should go bug my co-worker Kelly on her blog. She has a predisposition to hate anything with a cool “Z” in the name. Alphabet discrimination!

A restaurant devoted solely to poutine was about to open near our hotel.  Never fear, friends–though it is a Canadian delicacy, I did not immerse myself that far into Canadian culture.  The Year Without Fries continues!

Around lunchtime on our second day, we took a break from our conference to go to the Nero Waffle Bar on Robson. The owners/operators are honest-to-Tintin Belgians, and they constructed these really beautiful waffles:

Unfortunately, the waffles weren’t as tears-of-joy good as they looked, but, you know, presentation goes a long way in my book (that’s why my husband isn’t some uggo).

We then spent $40 a person to take one of those cheesy, hop-on/hop-off bus tours, that only decided to go to two stops before saying that no more buses were running for the rest of the day. C’mon, Canada!

We did get to go to Granville Island, which is (for you Philly folks) more-or-less Vancouver’s version of Reading Terminal Market, though with its own brewer and a prettier setting than Philly’s Market East (more like Market Least, amirite??).

You never see random American chocolates outside of the Fourth of July. Gotta love Canadians’ love of their country.

Above is the view of downtown Vancouver from Granville Island.  Simply gorgeous, and it really makes an East Coaster like me pause and wonder why the heck I’m living in Philly (oh wait, everything gives me that pause).

You’d best be watchin’ out, son.

For all 12 of you Fringe fans out there, the largest branch of the Vancouver library system serve(d? s?) as the setting for the alt-universe’s Fringe Division headquarters.  Now you know…!

And not surprising, much like with its health care system, Canada loves to rub in our faces just how prettier their cities are than ours.  There is foliage EVERYWHERE in Vancouver.  And if not foliage, pretty buildings and public art.  A far cry from the massive expanses of concrete around 30th Street Station in Philly.

Next, we hit up Chinatown to check out the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s classical Chinese park.  It’s a pretty standard Chinese park, but it was free and pretty (the paid section, the Chinese park, is supposed to be nicer and actually have plants from China, as opposed to Mexico in the free park side, as a little sign told us.)

TURTLES!

For dinner, we hit up Banana Leaf, which we assumed was a quaint little Malaysian restaurant…turns out it is part of a chain of like, 15 other Banana Leaves.  Though good for Canadians for actually having a ethnic chain that isn’t Panda Express!

Yumm-o super-fruit smoothie.
If I remember correctly, this was the Curry Boneless Chicken, which was pretty solid. The accompanying coconut rice was spectacular, though.

After my co-workers and I parted ways for the night, I decided to take a stroll along Vancouver’s expansive sea wall, which circles all of Stanley Park (which is 10% larger than Central Park) and the rest of the downtown peninsula. I apparently had no concept of how long it actually was (that’s what she said), because I made it about 15% the way around the sea wall before tiring out. Plus, with the sun setting and no lighting along the wall, the last thing I wanted to do was to accidentally fall into English Bay. Socialized medicine might do a lot, but revive me from drowning it can’t.

I was able to take some purdy pics, though…

These super strange (and slightly racist?) statues stand near Sunset Beach. Another good example of Vancouver’s significant public arts efforts.

Penguins have the right of way along the sea wall.
People gathered near Second Beach for a free screening of “Spaceballs.” Notice how there aren’t any guns or knives like at every single public event held in Philadelphia (I’m lookin’ at you, Wawa Welcome America.)
A gorgeous way to end a yummy day.

So concludes the wrap-up of Days 1 and 2 in Vancouver.  Come back tomorrow, where I’ll answer the question: did I meet a moose??

To be continued…

3 thoughts on “Vancouver, Where Dreams Come True-ver (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Vancouver, Where Dreams Come True-ver (Part 2) « LEG+JCB

  2. BLENZZZZZ!!! NOOOO! Rezizt all thingz with extra z’s in them!!

    For serious though. Definitely rough getting back and biking past the Schuylkill with garbage and debris floating around in it, wishing it had beautiful boats and moose grazing by the water. [You mean you didn’t see all the moose everywhere?!] Also, thanks for shouting out my blog… and for any of you who do read, careful not to add any extraneous Z’s! I mean bizness!

  3. Pingback: Vancouver, Where Dreams Come True-ver (Part 3) « LEG+JCB

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