Optimistically Cautious

Monday, February 26, 2007

Vancouver Day 1: Getting Settled

As most of my faithful readers know, I went to Vancouver with a few friends this weekend, primarily to attend a blogging conference. Fortunately, we also had spare time to wander around and appease the perpetual tourist in me.

Mack, Dickson and I left Edmonton early Thursday morning, and with the time change, arrived in Vancouver before 11am. We then headed to the Trimf House on the UBC campus to check in. Although they didn't have hairdryers available as claimed on the website, the accommodations were comfortable enough, with an expansive communal kitchen, coffee machine, and of course, wireless internet access. One inconvenience, however, was the fact that reception staff were only on hand Monday to Friday, so bookings and payments had to be made in advance. Moreover, it turns out they had a policy of not cleaning "occupied rooms" on weekends.

Guest room

Lounge area


After dropping our bags off, we took the bus to downtown Vancouver to have lunch. We ended up in the food court of Pacific Centre.

Enjoying my Pad Thai from Thai Express (where Mandarin seems to be the language of choice)

"Who are you looking at?"

While the boys took care of something, I wandered around Robson Street. Surprisingly enough, I didn't end up buying anything (that day or any day). But I more than took care of a lack of material purchases in culinary expenses. For example, I finally indulged in something I didn't get to do in Toronto - buying a hot dog from a street vendor. I must say, the vendor parked on the southeast corner of Burrard and Robson was exceptionally friendly, so much so that he must garner repeat business from regulars (or even tourists - Dickson ended up at the stand two days later). And yes, the 'dog was worth all $3.50.

Assorted condiments

Later that night, we met up with Mack's sister Kimmi and two of her friends for dinner. Swayed by a man in a toga offering a free appetizer, we chose to eat at Kalypso Restaurant & Ouzeria (200, 1025 Robson Street). I ordered the Lamb Souvlaki, and was pleasantly surprised that the meat had already been removed off of the stick (it may be less authentic, but perfect for those who don't like to eat with their hands). While the lamb was tender, and grilled to medium rare as requested, the pieces also contained a lot of fat. Also, the "free appetizer" was misleading, as to eat the Hummus and/or Tzatziki, a few paid orders of bread were needed.

Dining room

Lamb Souvlaki (with rice pilaf, potatoes, and tzatziki)

Dickson, Mack & I

Before heading back to Triumf, Kimmi brought us to the controversial 2010 Olympic Countdown clock located near the Vancouver Art Gallery. To protect the timepiece from damage, the city has arranged for 24-hour security. Indeed, there was a yellow-jacketed guard next to the clock during our visit.

1085 days to go...

We returned to Triumf and waited for Megan to arrive. She ended up waiting at the Edmonton International for several hours, without apology from WestJet for the delayed takeoff. Thankfully, she arrived in one piece, and we tried to get some sleep in preparation for the headache called "Moosecamp."

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Anonymous Megan said...

Haha. It was a headache. I like that description.

February 27, 2007 at 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hot dog was good but not really worth $3.50!

February 27, 2007 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

1. Your friend should call WestJet Customer Service. We were three hours late getting out of Toronto last Christmas; I called the following day and received a flight credit for the full value of the ticket (before taxes, AIF's, etc.), no questions asked -- the record of the delayed flight was already attached to our names in their database.

2. TRIUMF House isn't a hotel, per se; it's a guest house, primarily for researchers at TRIUMF, a national nuclear physics lab on the UBC campus. We use it for all of our out-of-town guests because you really can't beat the room rates, especially on the west side.

3. You don't buy hot dogs from street vendors in Toronto? The lady who (used to) sell in front of Sidney Smith Hall at U. of T. had great dogs; even better, her husband has (had?) a chip truck on the same block and sells some of the best fries in town.

February 27, 2007 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Gravitas said...

Thanks for the information about TRIUMF; I had an idea it was mainly for University guests, but didn't know the residents were mainly researchers.

As for hot dogs in Toronto - that was an oversight and a regret on my part. Rest assured the next time I'm out east, one of my first stops will be at an outdoor vendor!

March 2, 2007 at 11:23 PM  

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