Pete Lee

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

O Canada

I'm back from my trek to Vancouver B.C. Some random thoughts and observations:

The traffic in the Seattle area can be absolutely horrendous. Using the expressways is definately the way to go. And, the argument for driving defensively (i.e., not tailgating) was demonstrated in spades as we drove by a three car/one truck accident. The freeway was closed in the opposite direction for five hours as investigators picked through the wreckage. The verdict: three people dead, and a handful of others seriously hurt. Is it going to kill people to add 15-30 minutes to a six hour trip from Portland to Van B.C.?

The Chinese food was delicious, although I went to more expensive restaurants this time around. My verdict on their value was questionable. I ended up at this whole in the wall (Park Lock Seafood Restaurant) which turned out to be better than a fancier restaurant recommended to me. The dim sum was absolutely delicious, and was a step up from what I've eaten in Portland (pretty good) and San Francisco (better).

A great place to stay is the Dufferin Hotel. You're not going to confuse this place for a Relais & Châteaux establishment, but the accommodations are simple and adequate: clean, safe, and well-located. It's in the Granville Street area, which is much like the area around Kells and Barracuda's on steroids. One difference, though: people in general are amazingly kind, talkative in clubs and helpful on the street. It's easy to see why Canadians are well-liked in my travels abroad.

From there, it's a 5-7$CAD (roughly 4-6$USD) taxi ride to my favorite clubs, the Lotus Sound Lounge (known locally as "The Lotus") and Shine. While the club music is passable on Friday and Saturday, Sundays are fairly dead in Vancouver, with the only viable options being Lotus and Shine. Non-teetotalling Portlanders take note: your favorite imbibes will not be mixed nearly as strong as you might expect. All bars use measured pours here. Pre-func'ing with liquor that you've brought from the US would be the way to go; wine, beer, booze and tobacco are all fairly expensive.

If it's a nice day out, I can think of few better things to do than to go bike riding in Stanley Park. I highly recommend Spokes, where you can rent a nice bike of your choice for between 10-40$CAD for six hours. I ended up with a 19$CAD model that was comfortable and well-equipped. The paths along the water in Stanley Park are absolutely beautiful.

If you're getting cabin fever, I can think of fewer better places to go (other than Mexico). All you need is a birth certificate (passport starting in 2006), driver's license, an ATM card, some basic maps of Vancouver, and you're set!

One small addition: my friend Samantha's Bank of America ATM card was not taken at many ATMs in corner shops. (My Electra CU debit card was.) The store owner indicated that it was very likely that she needed an ATM that is connected to a real bank (Royal Bank of Canada, CBIC, etc.). This was true. I also shouldn't have to explain why ATMs trump money exchangers...

3 Comments:

  • Nice synopsis. Haven't been there since a Y2K New Year's adventure with Jon's fraternity crew(ask him about it sometime and see how much he remembers), so you've motivated me to go on another drinking binge, I mean, trip up there.

    By Blogger Sarah, at Wednesday, June 01, 2005 9:14:00 PM  

  • Glad you like it. And when is Jon getting here?

    By Blogger PeteLee, at Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:05:00 AM  

  • I love Vancouver. I've had several memorable trips there. A very "Asian" city and really still "under the radar" as per what a lot of people think of as what the main cities on the western seaboard are.

    By Blogger Marcus, at Tuesday, June 07, 2005 4:04:00 PM  

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