Sunday, October 23, 2005

43 Things to Do Before Leaving Vancouver

Yes, it is true. In January, Anya and I will be moving to Ireland. As my days here are now numbered, I am feeling the pressure to do all of the things that I wanted to do but never did. Why rush if I have my whole life?

Well now I have only until January 6th, and I'll be away for at least 2 weeks during this countdown. This has led me to write my list of things to do, so I can actually get them done.

In no particular order, here are my last wishes:

  1. Eat at Bishop's
  2. Run along the seawall
  3. Eat a slice of Nat's chorizo & mushroom pizza
  4. Eat gelato from Mondo Gelato immediately following pizza
  5. Stay at the Wall Centre Hotel with Anya
  6. Run up the Grouse Grind for the first time
  7. Eat brunch at Bacchus
  8. Run through Pacific Spirit Park
  9. Walk along Spanish Banks at Sunset
  10. Walk along English Bay at Sunset
  11. Watch the Christmas boats float by
  12. Take the water taxi from Yaletown to Granville Island
  13. Kayak in Indian Arm
  14. See a Canucks game
  15. Go to a sports bar and cheer for the Canadiens
  16. Have a drink at the Cambie
  17. Eat at Subeez and have them get my order right, bring my food at the same time as my companions and do it under 1 hour
  18. Eat a Triple-O Carhop Classic
  19. Drive through Whalley
  20. Walk along the beach in White Rock
  21. Sit in Duthie's Books and read for 2 hours
  22. Have a 3 hour lunch and never come back to the office
  23. Visit Westwood Plateau to see how they live
  24. Visit Maple Ridge
  25. Say goodbye in person to all the people who became my friends here
  26. Relive my Friday after-work ritual under the Cambie St bridge
  27. Drop by and say Hi at Maximizer
  28. Sit at my old desk at 840 Cambie and watch the hairdressers across the alley
  29. Eat a roast beef and stilton sandwich at Moonpennies
  30. Lounge on the furniture at Inform
  31. Stay up all night and walk home in the rain
  32. Have lunch special and Vitamin Os at the Trap and Gill
  33. Eat at Simply Thai
  34. Run at Burnaby Lake
  35. Host my own farewell party
  36. Wear my Grateful Dead shirt out of the house
  37. Rent a karaoke booth with my sales team
  38. Eat a Yaletown roll at Honjin
  39. Sit in the garden at Queen Elizabeth Park
  40. Spend hours walking around downtown with nothing but caffeine and euros, knowing that I might only be back for vacations
  41. Walk across the Lion's Gate Bridge
  42. Rent a cruiser bike and cycle along the seawall
  43. Cruise Robson St on a Saturday night playing Rush at top volume

Monday, October 10, 2005

The great thing about taking a vacation to do nothing is that you get to do nothing. Last week I was in the mood to do absolutely that: sweet fuck all. Waking meant that caffeine would soon be injected into my system, followed a few hours later by a nap. If I felt up to it, I visited a winery or went on a short hike. If not, I stayed in and watched Dave Chappelle and Ali I was so relaxed by the end of our 6 days in Naramata, that I was actually too relaxed to go to work on Friday.

This is a departure from the action-packed vacations I am used to; itineraries filled with activities every day from morning until night. I think I am by nature a slow traveller. Along with the slow food movement, there is now a slow travel movement.

Now the batteries are recharged and I am ready to get down to business for the next 3 months. It’s going to be busy, it’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be blogged.

After a relaxing Friday at work, the Whale beat the Inferno 5-1. I went home after the game and found that Anya had arranged for her mom to babysit while we walked up the street to the PNE forum to see if we could get tickets to Arcade Fire.

The show had sold out almost immediately, and there were no scalpers to be seen. I was ready to give up and go home, but Anya had that determined look that meant she wasn’t going without turning over every rock. Out of nowhere appeared a man with a beer gut, track pants and high top running shoes and a fanny pack, the scalper uniform.

Anya negotiated him down to just 125% of the face value. The show was fantastic, and vaulted instantly to my top 5 shows of all time.

There are some photos of the show here.

After playing two encores, the band snaked through the crowd carrying various percussion instruments (Regine had her accordion) and played Kiss Off, by Violent Femmes. Then they non-chalantly ran the gauntlet of applause back the stage and were off.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

After an usually anti-climactic quarter end, Anya and I escaped Vancouver for Naramata, where we have settled for the week at Elephant Island Winery.

Our plan is to do nothing.

The morning after arriving we discovered we had a strong wireless connection, which gives us something to do in lieu of watching Dave Chappelle episodes.

Chris and Lu were up here too, staying at their friends Heidi and Michael's agriturismo ranch, just a short walk through the orchard from our own lodging. Anya and Lu had been planning a dinner for weeks, and Heidi and Michael were happy to have them take over the kitchen, as long as it meant not having to cook for anyone else.

Anya brought two wines we picked up in France in 2001. Sadly, the burgundy confirmed our suspicions at the time that we were in a tourist trap. The Bordeaux, which we picked blindly in some wine shop in Paris, compensated for the incredibly thin and pricey Burgundy.

Our appetizer was a goat cheese and red pepper strudel, followed by a roasted eggplant and tomato ratatouille-like thing. The main course was lamb chops, followed by blueberry pie and my own Euro dessert, for the perfect ending.