Though I don’t feel we did enough over our four days in Vancouver to make the trip wholly worthwhile, at least the reason for our trip – to watch Michelle and Steven get married – was a fun day out. As well, Mack and I now know the areas that we would like to explore in further detail in the future – Gastown and Kitsilano to name a few. Below, a day-to-day recap of our trip, minus the restaurants that I will cover in greater detail.
After finally getting something to eat at a not-worth-mentioning salad bar, Mack and I walked to Stanley Park to visit the Vancouver Aquarium. It’s been years since I was there last, so many, in fact, that my memory failed to recall how absolutely tiny the attraction is. We were done touring the underwater galleries in no time (granted, we didn’t have the little-kid awe or curiosity we used to have), but I was most looking forward to the open air displays. My little otter friend Milo “Jack” was there, and though we stayed to listen to the brief beluga presentation (while actually spying on the Stockwell Day-lookalike), watch the otter feeding, and attempted to get a glimpse of the dolphin show, I was overall disappointed with how small the aquarium was. It was definitely not worth the $24.95 admission we paid at the door.
Mack with flowers
Swimming to the light!
In a bubble
Milo the sea otter!
There he goes!
The beluga is wearing a sweater (and yes, we were too cheap to buy anything)
After dinner at the newest Cactus Club, we headed to the Chinatown Night Market, a daily summer event likely held to try to bring traffic in to a neighbourhood otherwise abandoned in the evening. Given that we passed through an area featuring interesting buildings (the $10 a night hostel with chicken wire on the windows was notable for the wrong reasons), I wasn’t surprised at the mostly deserted streets en route to Chinatown. At any rate, we were greeted by a modest collection of booths selling everything from cheap trinkets and toys to home décor items and undergarments (at the unbeatable price of 10 for $10!). Of course, we zoomed in on the food, despite having just eaten a satisfyingly filling dinner. The dumplings were too irresistible (and cheap) to resist, being pan-fried right before our eyes, and a serving of vegetarian noodles seemed the perfect to top off our post-meal snack. The noodles were unfortunately lukewarm, but the dumplings tasted as good as they looked.
Trolling for trinkets
Pork and chive dumplings
On our way back to Triumf House, we stopped in Yoko Yaya (88 West Pender Street), a store very similar to Daiso in Aberdeen Centre – a mecca of $1-3 treasures (a word Mack would undoubtedly dispute to be used in this context). I was only able to wander the store for 20 minutes, as Mack’s threshold of pain was waning.
Though we took a few wrong turns, we made it to the church on time. The ceremony was brief but nice, and we stayed a short while for group pictures. Because we had quite a lengthy period of time to kill before the reception, the lot of us Edmonton folk headed out early to the Metropolis at Metrotown, also home of the Fortune House Seafood Restaurant where we were due at 6pm (I am thankful to the organizers of the wedding who had the foresight to book a restaurant in a mall, providing an easy way to pass the time for out-of-town guests).
We decided to skip the mall offerings and walked to the nearby IHOP (5137 Kingsway). Mack is forever waxing poetic about the addictive nature of their eggs, but after my experience, I’m hard pressed to distinguish IHOP from my local Denny’s. While I was intrigued that my ham and three-cheese omelette contained a splash of their “famous” pancake batter, I couldn’t distinguish what flavour, if any, was added because of that. The pancakes themselves, not gussied up with anything except butter, were also pretty ordinary.
Mack taking a hit of syrup
Dickson with his…salad
Mack’s Ham & Egg Melt
My Supreme Ham & Cheese Omelette
The sad-looking waffle (“It’s not IHOW.”)
We had enough time to take in a screening of Tropic Thunder (I loved Robert Downey Jr. with his over-the-top method acting satire) before heading to the restaurant.
The dinner was comprised of the traditional 10 courses of mainly seafood dishes. Thankfully for me, there were enough vegetables mixed in so I didn’t go hungry.
Mack & I
Jane & Yi-Li
Dickson and Violet demonstrate the perfect pout
Megan and Mack eat “air” (or so they thought of the deep-fried chips)
The crispy-fried pork dish was my favourite…talk about a diet-busting entrée
Stan & Felix demonstrate their “gangster” pose
The wedding party’s table toast
Group shot – congrats Michelle & Steven!
We then headed outside for a few more pictures…just like old times.
Everyone being random
Our only day of drizzly, grey, typical Vancouver weather was spent mostly eating and lazing around. We headed to Granville Island, the place where I spent my only free day in Vancouver over a year ago. Though Mack tried to dissuade me from doing so, I was keen to retry the Fresh Tomato and Cheese pizza from Bridges (1696 Duranleau Street), a dish I had confidently labelled in 2007 as the “best pizza I ever had”. The pizza was actually quite different than the one I remember – dusted with cornmeal, and (as it was summer) featuring a lot more tomatoes than the winter version, this pizza was less cheesy and chewier than the other. Mack’s halibut fish and chips were great – enrobed in a light and crisp batter, they made for a nice lunch.
Tomato and Cheese Pizza
Fish and Chips
We walked around the Granville Public Market, oohing and ahhing (at least, I was) at all of the wonderful produce available. The only downside of visiting such markets is having to restrain myself from buying everything, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to carry or eat our purchases before they would spoil.
I heart hydrangeas
We also wandered into the Net Loft and Kids Market, two buildings that I hadn’t been to before. The loft specifically was great, with a kitchen wares store, a cookbook shop, stationary store, and even a hat boutique that was so packed it was difficult to move between the shelves.
Mack by the harbour
After dinner at Vij’s (which absolutely deserves its own post), we chilled out at Blenz with tea and wifi for Mack and a paper for me.
Always on his iPod
Following a great breakfast at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe, we headed to Gastown for a walking tour. Having been on walking tours in several cities now, I can say I quite enjoy them. I never remember the small details or facts, but I find it’s a great way to be introduced to a part of town by a local.
Gassy Jack statue
Hotel Europe (looks like the Gibson Block in Edmonton)
The famous steam-powered clock