. We walked past a man dressed in a fishermans cap and dawning an all-white beard who informed us, in his deep Barry Manilow voice, that it was going to be a sunny day. Having seen the weather forecast that morning we were skeptical because it called for clouds and rain, yet shortly after the clouds cleared and never came back. We now refer to that man as God. His dog is Jesus. After about 30 more minutes of walking we came to the totem poles. As we read about them, we learned they have a lot more significance than just some made-for-tourists Indian memorabilia. Only those that hold the crest of that tribe can carve the poles, and each one is a story, either myth or real.
After stocking up on souvenirs we headed back into the city, and through Robson St., one of many shopping districts in the city. Loaded with familiar stores, Thai restaurants, and pricey French bistro’s it was a nice stroll through Canadian culture. We then headed over to Gastown, another shopping district although this one had a lot more “swanky” bistros and history. It started in the late 1860’s as a mill town, some dude known as “Gassy Jack” brought the first barrel of alcohol and said “if you build me a saloon, I’ll serve you alcohol”. At the time, it was a completely dry town so the saloon was built in less than a day. Then we strolled a couple blocks to Chinatown, the 3rd largest Chinatown next to San Francisco, and New York
. We wondered to the famous Chinese garden, one that represents the Ming dynasty garden. Along the way we made a friend, she asked us to take her picture in front of a statue and we politely agreed and asked if she would take ours. She replied, “oh, I’m not good with cameras”, which is fine, had she not been taking pictures with her own camera when we approached. We tried to make our way to the garden when said friend proceeded to follow us and talk about the shady neighborhood Chinatown seemed to be. We simply nodded our head and tried to walk quickly around corners in an attempt to lose her. Finally when we thought we were safe, she came out of nowhere in what might as well have been a puff of smoke and informed us she was going to follow us. I just thought she was lonely and was willing to tolerate it for a while longer when I noticed Alyssa walking, no, sprinting to the gate. After declaring ourselves safe from the adoring fan we headed toward Granville St., another you guessed it, shopping distric. Though this one seemed to have a few more theaters, tattoo parlors, and trendy 1980’s shops. This was fitting considering we were approaching the trendy Davie St. district once again.
This is the point where we decided to take a quick pit stop at the hostel and recharge before dinner. But first I had to have one more snack, Canada’s very own Poutine
. This national comfort food is, in a way, quite similar to our Chili Cheese fries. However, instead of chili, gravy, and instead of classic shredded cheddar, cheese curds. The once crispy fries readily absorbed the gelatinous glop of shiny brown gravy, and the squeaky fresh cheese curds added a distinct saltiness to the dish. This national food is texturally strange at first and the old, school cafeteria-style gravy brought back childhood memories, truly a food to be enjoyed by toddlers and your great grandpa alike.
After a short nap we got ready and headed to Yaletown – Vancouver’s premier dining location and home to the wealthy. We walked around the sidewalks elevated about four feet from the main street and decided on little bar and grill called Milestones. Service was great especially because the waiter comp’ed my drink for reasons unbeknownst to me. Perhaps he poisoned it on accident. (Alyssa’s note: The waiter comp’ed the drink because it was new to the menu and not enough people were ordering it yet.) After dinner we walked over to the Yaletown Brewery for some of the smoothest beers yet, there was not one we didn’t like. We made our way back across town to our hostel before the sun even went down, leading us to believe it was still early. My curiousity got the best of me and I had to ask a nearby transvestite for the time, in a voice deeper than mine she informed me it was 9:30. One forgets how far north you are once you pass the border.
We made it home, packed up our stuff to get ready for a long drive in the morning, and bid good night to our new Australian roommates.
Monday June 7th was supposed to be a rainy day in Vancouver, BC. When we got up at around 8:30 our French room mates had just left. They somehow forgot to bathe along the way leaving behind a… different odor. Having said that we quickly got ready and made our way downstairs for a free breakfast that everyone and their mother decided to take advantage of. The spread consisted of fresh from the carton orange juice, raisin bread, muffins, oatmeal and bagels - typical continental fair. As we stood in the kitchen inhaling our muffins, we watched the many people bump, shove, and push each other to get the coffee accoutrements and decided to get out of there and hit the city. Our first destination was Stanley Park where the famous totem poles call home. On the way we stopped at the local Starbucks and took pictures next to the "A-Maze-In Laughter", the statue that kicked off the Vancouver Biennale. The walk through the park couldn't have been a more beautiful site if I had painted it myself (being the artist that I am). It started with a stroll through a garden filled with huge plants straight from the prehistoric era