Tuesday, August 07, 2007

West coast livin'

LB and I are in BC and are having a lovely time. We left super early Saturday morning and arrived with a slight delay in Vancouver at 11am local time. We grabbed our bags and a quick cab ride later (with the absolutely nicest cab driver we've ever had, who drives a hybrid cab and took the time to explain to me how the car's computer worked!) we were at our friend Phil's apartment, just a few short blocks from Kits beach. We spent the afternoon walking around the neighbourhood, hitting some cool boutiques (I admit it! I caved and bought a pair of shoes - if you've ever been to gravity pope on west 4th you'd understand!!!! but this doesn't mean that I'm not going to be good again - I am, just a small slip up!) and then having beer and nachos on the water at granville island.

Saturday night we took Phil to dinner at a local restaurant karv, where we had the best fries I've had in a long time - hand cut potatoes, dipped in a lemon pepper beer batter and served with garlic aioli, and a delicious gooseberry crème brûlé. Then it was time for the finale of the Celebration of Light competition, where different countries compete in a fireworks competition. Update: I just checked the site to link it, and it turns out that Canada won this year! Yay us!!! They are set off in English Bay, which just happens to be in perfect viewing range from Kits beach. Phil's friend Jay invited us up to sit on the roof of his building and watch, and it was spectacular!!!! By that time, our poor bodies were so jet lagged that it was all we could do to walk the few blocks home and throw ourselves into bed.

Sunday, we were up bright and early, and we had breakfast at Sophie's Cosmic Cafe on West 4th where we had one of the best breakfasts we'd both had in a long time, thanks to Daph for the recommendation! Then, we grabbed a bus (the girl next to us had the most beautiful Goyard tote, I kept wondering whether it was real or not - how I covet one!) to downtown and walked up to Denman Street, where we rented a tandem mountain bike to ride around Stanley Park on! Now, one of the ladies whose blog I read regularly, emilystyle, has a tandem bike and she makes it sound like a lot of fun. And since LB and I bike 3 or 4 times a week, we figure that it would be a piece of cake. It was NOT. It was awkward and wobbly, and things weren't looking good for the first 10 minutes...but then we hit our stride and we had a beautiful ride around the park, the devastation is terrible, I'll post pics when we are back to a computer with a card reader or a USB port. We stopped at the totem poles, and the beaches, and then headed back after 2 hours. They were shocked at the store that we lasted the full two hours- they said that most couples last 10 minutes and then come back to get single bikes...they didn't know what stubborn people they were dealing with! Thanks to Shannon for the idea, and to emily for the courage to try it and stick it out!

After all of our walking and cycling, we decided that ice cream was certainly in order. On Phil's recommendation, we headed up Denman towards English Bay to check out the Marble Slab Creamery. It was quite possibly the best ice cream we've ever had. First, you pick a flavour - I picked birthday cake, and it honestly tasted like one!, and then you pick a fixin', including all sorts of candies, chocolates, fruit and nuts, and they mix your scoop with your fixin'. I had mine with a Reese's peanut butter cup, and LB had praline with coconut mixed in. We both got giant waffle cones and can't say enough things about it - I'm having a love affair with this ice cream sandwich!!!!

Then, it just so happens that we landed in Vancouver at the same time as Pride. And the parade went across Denman to English Bay. So we partied it up, walked around Vancouver's Gay district, and celebrated with style. Everyone was in such a great mood, and it was fabulous to be in a city that actually celebrates its gay community, unlike Ottawa, with its Draconian approach to festival funding and ridiculous demands on non-profit community groups... Of course there were a ton of gay people there celebrating which was amazing, but what struck us far more was the number of families and people who just came down to show support and have a good time - it was heart-warming and lovely. A great day.

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