Day 3 - Vancouver
Updated: Jun 18
Woke up fairly early this morning after a successful, full night's sleep. Pays to walk back and forth across the city and eat all day...
No better way to rid your mind of trivial work troubles.
Sara left early to catch her shuttle back to Squamish and I headed down Hornby once again. This time, I was on my way to Waterfront to meet Jeanette. I had originally intended to bike down, but the thought of walking my bike all the way back didn't really appeal to me. I did it a few times yesterday and kept hitting my leg on the stupid pedal.
Wasn't in the mood for pain today...
Once Jeanette and I connected, we wandered back to my my hotel along Granville Street.
I had set the plan for the day for us to explore Granville Island and then head up to UBC to wander the beaches up there. Seemed like a good plan considering I had never explored that area before.
Granville Island was difficult... to say the least. Verydifficult.
I understand the trials and tribulations we face in regards to the entire year of 2020, but Granville Island seemed to take it all to a whole new level.
Some shops opened at 10AM.
Some shops at 10:30AM.
Some at 11AM.
Some at 11:P30AM
... and on and on it went...
Some were only open on weekends.
Some only on evenings.
Half of the places weren't open at all, but signage led you to believe the opposite.
There was zero consistency with the variety of shops & boutiques that normally attract the consumers. I understand this is a difficult year for everyone, but this tends to make it more so.
Trying to get in to the actual Market was a feat in itself. At the harbour front, every single door which regularly would lead you to the inside, was now equipped with an enormous red sign in front that read, "Emergency Exit ONLY."
There were 7 doors, in a row, commanding this of the public. Exit ONLY.
... don't forget the emergency part...
Eternally diligent and attempting to abide by the rules... we veered away from entering through an obvious 'emergency' exit, while others so evidently and deliberately broke these rules and entered the market willy-nilly.
We all contract COVID and rush out?
Someone starts coughing uncontrollably and we all vacate the premises in single file?
Seemed slightly extreme to have one, singular entrance... and 7+ emergency exits.
What do I know, though?
Each emergency sign instructed us to enter the building "through the door located under the neon sign."
What neon sign?
It was a sunny day. Everything was neon.
Each shop had sanitation at the door, which has become the norm now-a-days, but on a few occasions, staff members ran up to us, and in an almost accusatory way, literally barking "DID YOU SANITIZE YOUR HANDS?"
Yes.... yes... and yes again...
By the end of our open/not open browsing extravaganza, I was literally so clean that someone could have eaten off me.
Thumbs up for 2020.
We walked up to Broadway in order to make our way to UBC. From an entire summer of taking the bus to UBC, I remembered that Broadway was filled with lots of little hip boutiques and interesting cafes.
I remembered wrong.
Of course, I didn't realize that I remembered wrong until we'd nearly exhausted ourselves with exercise on this tedious street. Broadway was crap. Zero character. Once the smartening up occurred, we made our way down Yew to West 4th...
First stop was lunch in Greece.
Now, as everyone remembers from my International Culinary day yesterday, I was determined to travel then world, bite by bite, in this cosmopolitan city.
I adore Greek food... always have.
The unfortunate part about it is that Greek food doesn't always adore me.
We hardly ever get along...
Garlic has rarely ever been kind to me and Greek cuisine is often so heavy that I end up full for the entire day.
We were the only customers in the entire place, yet the owner/operator/gentleman seemed to be exceedingly annoyed by our presence.
Jeanette pointed it out first, "He doesn't like us."
I even threw out my kalispera and efharisto.
He was not impressed with my limited knowledge of the Greek language. I was going to throw in that I could also say "sea turtle" in Greek, but the lack of laugh lines on his face led me to believe that he wouldn't care.
If, at first, it wasn't evident that he wasn't particularly enthralled with having us as customers, it really hit home we placed our order. Jeanette inquired as to whether tzatziki & bread came with the meal. He gave us the nod, thumbs up and vocal affirmation to 'tzatziki' and a firm NO to bread... so we asked if he would bring a basket of bread to us.
He did... and an extra tzatziki (in addition to the ones we had with our meals) and charged us an extra $6.95.
Yes... but as this was not a hill I was prepared to die on today, I let it go.
Of course, presented with the opportunity to stuff a lot of saganaki, spanakopita, tzatziki and bread in to my mouth, is one that I often find difficulty in turning down.
We ate it all.
Anyone that knows anything, knows that a Greek lunch is not complete without a glass of Greek wine. Or ouzo...
No ouzo today, thank you.
One glass of Tsantali red and one glass of Tsantali white, it shall be!
Being stuffed after a feast of Greek carbs was enough to finish my culinary exploration for the day. Jeanette, not being adventurous in the dining department, made it quite evident that she wanted nothing to do with that part of my journey anyway, so she was temporarily off the hook.
Continuing on our merry way to UBC, we also stopped in for a locally brewed Vancouver cider, at a quaint outdoor, bohemian cafe. I was more interested in their toilet than I was in their cider, I have to admit, but one must make allowances at times.
When it became very apparent that UBC was more than a simple stroll down West 4th, we jumped on the approaching bus and continued along Point Grey until we reached the campus- our final destination.
In typical Joanna manner, my phone died as soon as we arrived... so we had to ask directions to the beach.
Seemed a bit of a novelty to go there... though our intentions were to remain fully dressed and unjudgemental.
It was actually quite surreal making our way down the steep section of stairs and in to a crowd of naked sunbathers, as cool as we had heard the stories of this place were. Legends of beaded jewelry makers, jello shots, tie-dyed t-shirts, woven baskets, homemade lemonade, bbq burgers were plentiful. Unfortunately, we veered off to the right immediately, vying to escape the pressure of feeling we might have to disrobe.
We bedded our time on the beach, finding refuge at a small log table near the ocean, and had a drink. Rangers were nearby and hauling bag after bag of garbage off the beach, to be taken away to landfill. It was shocking how much garage was left behind... especially for a place where people feel at one with themselves and nature.
It was difficult to act normal during some encounters... causal, like we spent the majority of our time surrounded by naked people.
I actually went out of my way to greet a few, as we walked long the rocky beach, and about 95% of them would not respond to my greetings, let along look in my general direction.
Was it because they were pretentious?
Didn't feel like chatting?
Or was it because I was fully clothed and quite obviously not interesting in taking off my clothes?
I'll never know.
What I decided, on that rocky beach, was to stop saying hello to naked people.
In turn, I will no longer expect people to say hello to me... if I'm naked.
We walked FOREVER.
I had asked the Rangers if there was the possibility of walking along the shoreline and they informed me that we could walk all the way to Spanish Bay, if we wanted to. They failed to let us know that it was a mere 5 kilometres on big, loose rocks. It was definitely not ideal walking conditions, but we managed to arrive.
Jeanette kept asking me if we were going in the right direction... ? I wasn't sure what other direction there was, walking along the ocean, but I was open to suggestions.
It was rather annoying that my phone had died, because I have come to explicitly rely on it for directions and time frames. Jeanette had her phone with her, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was purchased in the early 1980's and was not much help... and she's gonna kill me for saying that... lol
Once we made it to Spanish Beach, a lovely man at the local concession charged my phone enough for me to call Uber... and within 11 minutes, we were whisked out of there and delivered right back to Granville Island for a much deserved and appreciated glass of wine.
Seated out on the patio of the Bridges Pub in Granville Island, enjoying the happy hour wine and the fabulous views of the harbour, we had the privilege to have to listen to the gentleman next to us make a huge complaint to the manager about how there was bacon in his Caesar salad. Subsequently, he had his entire bill promo'ed.
There was also bacon in my wine... and I mentioned it to the waiter, hoping to have our bill quashed as well...
...but to no avail...
Uber has just arrived in Vancouver and has a policy now that all passengers much be wearing masks upon entry. Before we left that day, I reminded Jeanette to pack a mask for the day... just in case... and just in case came true that afternoon. I can't imagine leaving home without one anytime in the near future.
I have to say though, I am quite baffled by people that wear their masks when they are alone and
driving in their car.
After a refreshing break in the hotel for a bit of relaxation and a quick shower, we headed back out in to the streets in the directions of Tacofino.
Tacofino started slinging tacos out of a truck in Tofino, but have since expanded and they pride themselves on their California / Mexico-inspired beach food for the West Coast. This place came highly recommended and it could not be missed. I hadn't added Mexico to my international cuisine repertoire yet, so a stop there seemed like a no-brainer.
I chose the Bean & Cheese burrito with sweet and savoury black beans, spiced rice, picked jalapeños, cabbage, arugula, green onion, green onion, black chilies mayo, salsa verde, crispy shallots... and ... I eliminated the cilantro.
It was the ideal combination of delectable perfection.
Not to be missed.
My burrito was wrapped and not really worthy of being photographed... so I took a photo of Jeanette's instead. And hers had cilantro... so ignore that disgusting beast of a food in my picture.
I only ate half of my burrito, in full preparation to continue my food tour.
I had seen an advertisement for deep fried cheese & dough balls and I could hardly think of anything else.
Off I went to find Japadog and indulge in a feast of greasy carbs. I could almost taste them...
The craving was intense.
I finally found it on Robson and... it was CLOSED...
We ended up in Gastown at a pretty swank restaurant and although they said it was Happy Hour, we weren't too happy to pay the prices that they were advertising... so we moved on.
I do love Gastown, but sometimes it can be quite pricey.
We ended up in The Flying Pig and decided to order cake to celebrate Jeanette's birthday. We chose the vanilla cake with chocolate icing. When it arrived, it was the biggest piece of cake that I have ever seen. I would like to say that it was a delicious piece of cake, but it tasted more like a box mix and Betty Crocker icing. It was very heavy - perhaps as a result of sitting around for more than a few days. We cut in in half and split that, which was more than satisfying and didn't tempt us in to eating anymore.
We packed up the rest of the cake and told it with us, hoping to be able to gift it to someone worthy. When we came across our first homeless person wandering the streets, we offered him the cake when he asked us for spare change. As Jeanette reached out to give him the container, she tripped over her own feet and went flying down on to the pavement. The stranger definitely earned the cake, as he was kind and helped her up and back on her feet.
Jeanette ended up being ok and rested a while on a nearby bench while I wandered off to take pictures of the colourful sails of Waterfront.
Back to the hotel to call it a night and prepare for my final morning in Vancouver.
My tour of the world so far...
Definitely going to need bigger clothes...