Vancouver

Hello world! Life is getting a bit crazy, so I’m trying to squeeze in a post about Vancouver before uprooting my life and driving cross country for the fourth time. I’m not panicking, you are!

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The view from our Air Bnb downtown was quite nice!

About a week ago, Chad and I went on a mini 5-day vacation to Vancouver, Canada. Why Vancouver? Well if you want to get Global Entry and do an interview without having to schedule one (which you cannot schedule at LAX or Burbank by the way), you can do the interview while coming back on an international flight. We figured kill two birds with one stone. Travel to a new country and complete our global entry applications. Also, Vancouver is a city I have been wanting to visit since I’ve moved to California.

Vancouver is a beautiful city! It was so clean and easy to get around. Maybe one day I could even see myself living there (one move at a time for now). Our first day was spent walking around the city. Of course, our first stop was a convenience store to buy umbrellas. Our idiot selves did not think that the pacific northwest would be rainy enough to warrant umbrellas during our visit. To be fair we packed very last minute. We stopped by English Bay Beach, which was gorgeous. Also, what stood out to me was the plethora of purple shells lining the shore.

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Enjoying the terrible beach weather
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Purple shells everywhere

Next to the beach were these creepy (maybe not creepy to others) statues of a little boy. I naturally sorority squatted next to one of them.

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Cue the door songs!

Next, we walked around Stanley Park. It is a large park that borders downtown Vancouver and is surrounded by the waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. Fun fact: Stanley Park is about one-fifth larger than New York’s Central Park. There are a lot of attractions, hiking spots, and restaurants around. the park. Prior to its uses as a public park, it was the traditional territory of Coast Salish First Nations and its history of habitation dates back more than 3,200 years.

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The park features an 8.8km seawall that surrounds the peninsula.  here is also Lions Gate Bridge which is visible from the seawall. Last thing I’ll mention in the park is the totem poles. These feature work by Kwakwaka’waka people of northern Vancouver Island as well as local Nations.

Later that evening we had dinner at The Dark Table. The below italicized text is from their website and I think it sums up what they are about perfectly:

“The blind dining concept originated in Switzerland in the home of a blind man—Jorge Spielmann—who blindfolded his guests in an attempt to show them what eating is like for a blind person.

Spielmann’s guests enjoyed the experience immensely, and claimed that when their sense of sight was removed, taste, smell, hearing and touch were amplified to the extent that the social act of eating took on a whole new meaning. These initial dinners evolved into a restaurant concept that included a dark dining room and blind servers, a tradition that Dark Table will continue.

With an unemployment rate of 70%, the blind face obvious challenges in a society that is preoccupied with visual communication, but in a dark dining environment, the tables are turned—the non-sighted servers guide the sighted.

While Alameddine is proud to offer employment to blind and visually impaired people, he admits that it is truly the blind offering this unique, eye-opening experience to the sighted.”

So, in case you were questioning it, yes, we ate in complete darkness. It was so dark that when you closed your eyes it was no different than keeping them open. Our waitress, Yuko, who was amazing by the way, lead us to our table and served us all evening. At first, I was little anxious. I am actually pretty terrified of the dark, so this experience was a bit fear inducing at the start, but by the end, I learned that I am fine and I should just trust my instincts. I must admit that Chad and I both ate lemons by accident. That was an unexpected twist (lemon puns). I also may have gotten food all over my face trying to get bites into my mouth. Overall the experience was incredible and opened my eyes (okay terrible way to word this, but here we go) to the way someone who is blind would experience something as simple as dining out with friends. They have locations in Montreal and Toronto as well. If you have a chance to go, it is worth the trip!

The next morning, we went to Granville Island. It is a peninsula that was once an industrial manufacturing area, but now is a thriving spot for visitors. There is a daily market open as well as many restaurants and shops right on the water.

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Later that day we adventured to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park. The bridge is a simple suspension bridge that crosses the Capilano River. It is 140 meters long and 70 meters above the river (look at me using the metric system now that I traveled). The park also features tree top adventures with hiking paths running through the tree tops with mini suspension bridges connecting them. For the thrill seekers, there is the cliff walk, which is a narrow walk right at the edge of the 70-meter drop to the river. Of course, we had to walk across!

The next day we did as every basic girl does, we waiting an hour in line to try a hip brunch spot called Jam Café. I don’t know if I can ever say food is worth an hour wait in the rain, but my food was amazing! We then walked to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It is a classical Chinese garden, which is the first Chinese garden built outside of China.

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We also walked around the Gastown district of town. Gastown was Vancouver’s first downtown core named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain, and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon. The town soon prospered and quickly became the center of trade and commerce. Obviously, there is a lot of history that happened from then to the Gastown now, which features a hip part of town with old buildings, new restaurants, eclectic shops, and many tourists. I will spare you all the details here. Fun fact: Gastown was designation a National Historic Site of Canada in 2009.

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Gassy Jack statue

Gastown’s most famous landmark is the Steam Clock. It was built in 1977 to cover a steam grate. Although originally the clock required power from electricity, with the financial support of local businesses, the steam mechanisms were restored and it now stands as a major tourist attraction.

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Steam Clock

For our last day, we headed first to the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. Now a beautiful botanical garden, was once an old golf course, that the British Columbia provincial government and the city of Vancouver signed an agreement to provide the funding to develop a public garden (Leslie Knobe would be proud I think). The place also featured a hedge maze and waterfall.

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Botanical Gardens
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She thinks my tractor’s sexy

After the gardens we went to Salt’s Tasting Room, a wine tasting place on Blood Alley (yes, I did type Blood Alley – supposedly it was not a nicer area of town just a short time ago). The place had a ton of wines, cheeses, and meats. What is not to love? Since we had to be in the taxi to the airport by 4pm, we had to call it an early night.

We got back from our vacation and Chad had to immediately leave for a gig in New York City. Now, I am finishing up my last week of work in Los Angeles and scheduling the moving company to pick up all my things (okay just my bed and dresser, I don’t have that much real things). Then, this Sunday my mom and I start our road trip cross country to Alabama. Roll Tide! Lots more updates to come!

Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the food options on the tree top adventures that I obviously purchased with my hot chocolate…

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BEAVER BALLS!

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