Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh Vancouver, Canada

About an hour drive North of an alpaca farm in Washington is the Canadian border. Not to be confused with the border going to Baja Mexico, there is a peace arch, lots of green grass temporarily housing Japanese tourists and a mysterious lack of uneasy tension. A stones throw North of the border is Vancouver, BC. To be confused, Vancouver is a melting pot of Seattle and Hollywood, with a dash of I can't put my finger on it.

When you drive into the city it seems almost like a fairy tale town. The buildings are gorgeous, but give off the impression that they might be run down and then you realize that it's just the general architectural style of the town.* Stanley Park is the same way, absolutely beautiful, but flagrantly exposing it's flaws as natural beauty. Chinatown on the other hand truly is run down (watch out for homeless men purposely jumping in front of your car).

Vancouver has a wide variety of great restaurants. At the Gyoza King I immensely enjoyed ramen soup with Kimchi, perfectly spicy and very inexpensive. At Vij's they are generous with traditional Indian appetizers while you wait two hours for your table. Keep your eyes open at Vij's. I'm pretty sure I spotted Kiefer Sutherland eating when we got on the wait list. For the morning after you can get excellent Belgian waffles and crispy bacon at Sophie's Cosmic Cafe.

After finishing your dinner there are numerous options for going out on the town. I chose to go to Lift, the bar at the Westin. At Lift you are guaranteed to overhear someone in the film industry using it as a means to pick up on chicks. Outside there is a gorgeous view of the city and a firepit to sit around. What I enjoyed most was talking to all of the business men that were in town hanging out buying me drinks on their company card. A perk when going out at hotel bars.

I didn't have a lot of time to go shopping, but after wading through a lot of orthopedic shoes I managed to find a beautiful pair of French sandals at Umeboshi and instantly fell in love with almost everything available at Eugene Choo. In the same area of town there are also numerous thrift stores and boutiques carrying local designer clothing.

I suppose confused isn't the best description of Vancouver, it's more like a low-key fusion restaurant.

Photography by me.

Updated 8/24/07
*I was so humbly informed that Vancouver was coined the "City of Glass" by Douglas Coupland.