A couple of weekends ago, Allyson's old friend Justin came to visit, and we took him up to Vancouver for a highly enjoyable weekend of food, drinks and sightseeing.
We managed to sidestep a half-mile-long line at the border by skipping over to the truck crossing when we reached Blaine, where there was a much shorter ten-car wait. Upon arriving in Vancouver we checked into a Hostelling International hostel on Granville Street (which was LOUD, but as we were on the third floor and facing away from the street it was much quieter in our room). Settled in, we headed off to a bar that had good food and music; I also discovered that I actually like Lagavulin; strange since to date I have not enjoyed any of the whiskey-type alcohols I have tried.
The next day, we went to the Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park, and Allyson and I took pictures of the sea lion that made the *boomf* noises that amused us so during our last visit to that city:( boomf-type creature! )
Allyson has suggested a certain resemblance between myself and the sea lion species, a suggestion I find somewhat difficult to disagree with.
After the Aquarium, we enjoyed lunch at the Granville Market, suffered the ignorance of otherwise pleasant shopkeepers ("There's a war in Israel?") and eventually went back to the hostel for a pleasant nap and spree of internet-usage.
That evening we went out for a night on the town. We greatly enjoyed an Asian restaurant that served tapas (tapas appear to be big in Vancouver) and managed to make everything quite delicious. Unfortunately, the name escapes me at the moment, but I recommend it quite highly.
Plans to hit the Sin City goth club night were changed by a certain degree of apathy on our parts, but we dressed up a bit prior to going out anyway. I thought this picture of Allyson was lovely:( Allyson looking gorgeous, and the Tarantinoesque visage of Justin )
We decided to try a wine bar in Gastown that sounded interesting, but we were disappointed to discover that it had been closed for about two years. We wandered around Gastown for a time looking for somewhere else to enjoy drinks and conversation, and eventually decided to honor the hobbit habit of Second Dinner, and decided to enjoy some sushi and a surfeit of steamed soybeans over another series of drinks. Justin took great delight in the ritual exclamations in Japanese exchanged by members of the waitstaff, which in turn appeared to amuse them highly.
As the night grew long and our drinks multiplied, I got a call from leiden
saying that he, inevitability
and others were at a jazz club on the other side of town, and suggested that we join them. Unfortunately we were already in a somewhat unwieldy inebriated state and did not feel able to make the journey, so we finished our evening and returned to the hostel to sleep.
The next day we visited the H.R. MacMillan Space Center, which is housed in a really neat-looking retro-futurist building, the sort that looks like a mushroom as designed by Apple Computers. We watched an embarrassingly bad science film on the possibility of alien life and wandered around the exhibits for a time. One thing that was at once pleasing and saddening was how quick and helpful the staff of the Space Center were -- pleasing, since it made the experience a good one, but saddening, because it really suggested that they don't get very many visitors. Its halls were fairly empty, and I for one had never even heard of it before that weekend, for all that I have visited Vancouver regularly all my life, and my passion for all things astronautical is well-known.
We whiled away a few more hours in Vancouver shopping before leaving Justin as he would be staying on in Vancouver, having enjoyed our time in the city. The words "Why couldn't we live here instead of Seattle?" were often said, the answer of course being that our patience with the institution of socialism is highly limited.
All and all, a highly enjoyable and much-needed weekend away.