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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Day 1 - Vancouver

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

I have to admit, COVID is tough. 2020 is tough. Working through COVID in 2020 is tough.

Everywhere you turn, there is a new rule or regulation that you are expected to adhere to.

Some places demand the use of masks or gloves.

Some places take names and numbers.

Some places won't let you near the door without sanitization.

Some places limit the amount of patrons inside.

Some places are permanently shut.

Some places are suffering and literally begging you inside.

Some places are doing absolutely nothing... like nothing has happened.

Some people want to hug you.

Some people want to shun you.

Some people are backing away as you approach, while others move towards you as you advance.

Odd times.

It is a hard time to try and remain safe, calm, kind... rational... sane,.. and positive.

I just completed a week of work that would have sent any ordinary person teetering right over the edge of insanity. Much stress, anxiety, trepidation and confusion has been boiling up inside of me, and the nervous collapses and peculiar personal explosions had begun.

It must be noted that I rarely work alone in these regards.

There has been the assistance of two or three callous agitators that managed to weasel their way in to the tension and contribute greatly to the burden.

My love of international travel and the lack there of, is also a colossal factor.

I was watching a movie the other day, in which one of the main characters announced that he was leaving to teach English in India for a year. This simple line in a mediocre movie did the trick and I sat, alone in my apartment, sobbing on my couch.

I want to go to India and teach English for a year.

Well... maybe not the teaching part.

So international travel is out...

There are two options in front of me.

If I fail to see more, please jump in...

  1. I can accept that international travel is out of reach for the next 2-3 years and I just have to deal with it.

  2. I can explore my own backyard.

I choose both.

Both options, thank you.

So... the adventure started today.

Vancouver Staycation 2020.

I checked in to the Granville Suites Hotel at around 4pm.

The usual precautions are in place, in regards to the novel Coronavirus. There's the masks, the constant sanitization, the Plexiglas barriers, the physical distancing and the limited supply of items in the room.

I had to phone for a wine glass.

I got a paper cup.

Beggar's can't be choosers.

As soon as I was settled in my room, I took off to explore this beloved city.

I have discovered that it is much more difficult than one would imagine.... exploring, photographing and writing about your 'home' city. It's an odd feeling to be a tourist during a time that there are very mixed feelings regarding tourists.

I'm not a fan of global pandemics.

I carry my camera around, convincing myself and pretending that I am a budding, young artist (emphasis on young) and not a foreigner from a town, a mere 45 minutes East.

My late lunch stop was a trip to Malaysia... the Banana Leaf on Davie.

Normally I am a creature of habit and tend to veer towards foods that I know I will enjoy. I am not very adventurous in the culinary department.

I decided to end that elementary perspective today and throw caution to the wind... as long as there are no mushrooms or cilantro.

I must admit that I have never had the pleasure of tasting Malaysian food before, so it was quite heroic of me to stop in this particular location. It turned out to be an absolute delight. Not only was my entire meal delicious, but the service was phenomenal and I will now be seeking out Malaysian food on a regular basis!

This will not be the end.

I had Tofu Goreng, which was deep fried tofu on a bed of lettuce, bean sprouts and cucumbers, drizzled with a sweet chilli sauce and topped with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. They looked like an elongated tray of little sandwiches.

It was good... but not as good as the Roti Canai.

This was flaky, layered fried bread served with a coconut curry sauce.


If I was basing this staycation on delicious food alone, I could call it a wrap immediately.

As tempting as it is to return to dine in the same location tomorrow... I must keep exploring.

From here, I continued up Davie around to Robson, cut through some other side streets, down Granville... and then back to the hotel to charge up my phone and get myself a sweater.

Back out on to the streets again, but this time I took the path down to the harbour for a leisurely walk along Beach Avenue to English Bay. The clouds were starting to settle in for the evening and Aunty Lin was right... I definitely needed a light jacket.

I hit the road this time, feeling slightly more courageous in regards to my role as a tacky tourist. I held my bulky camera, loud and proud.

Having spent my late lunch in Malaysia, I decide to venture to Italy for a light dinner. Caprese Salad has always been a personal favourite of mine and The Italians Kitchen & Bar in Davie Village did not disappoint.

A lovely red wine to accompany, as the sun went down...

Turns out I was still full from Malaysia... so I had my salad packed up for later and eventually gave it to a junkie sitting around the corner from my hotel.

He asked for spare change.

He got an Italian masterpiece.

Back at the hotel for the evening.

I'm tired.

All this exploring, picture taking, relaxing, eating and drinking has taken its toll on me.

See you tomorrow, Vancouver...

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