Thursday, December 18, 2014

GCA XI: Granville Island & Metrotown

Looking Out

Truth be told, our schedule for the second part in Vancouver was a bit fluid. Based on a recommendation from our hosts, we visited Granville Island. Took a bus (she even taught us how to cheat! But we didn't do that. Actually wantend to buy the tickets on the bus, but since we didn't have any coins, the bus driver just gave them to us FOC!) and subsequently went by foot. Nearly went the wrong way as the signage was quite bad. Doubled back from on top the bridge and walked under it instead. Along the way, we asked directions from a woman who was luckily going the same way. Started off at Net Loft, a place where the local art writers from Emily Carr University sold their wares. Most of the shops weren't open, so we had a simple breakfast at Net Loft Cafe first. Wandered in Net Loft and then the Public Market. Fantastic selections of fresh produce, arts and craft. Interesting to note that all the fruit sellers spoke Cantonese. Then went to RIP and the Kids Market.

Exploring the Public Market

Is Chocolate Better Than Sex?

Sausages Galore


Cured Meat

Silo Art

Sockeye Salmon

Farmer's Market

Under The Flyover

The Crystal Ark


Covered quite a huge area. Stopped to catch our breath at Tony's, a popular fish and chips joint. Tried the halibut, some scallop and the white clam chowder. And the waitress was perplexed at our choice of fries as side dishes for both the mains. Potato poisoning.

White Clam Chowder

Scallops & Halibut

In the evening, we went to Metrotown to meet up Kenji and his di, George. While waiting for them to turn up, KH did some luggage shopping at Sears (took him ages to finally decide on a Delsey). That bag really came in handy because we had a lot more to bring home (bought six pairs of bras for SK from Victoria's Secret). George was a tall, lanky fella with interesting facial features (thanks to his mixed parentage) and a perky ass. He shook my hand then turned to Kenji to ask, "Is he your ex?". Haha. We had steak for dinner that night at The Keg. We were given an outdoor table but that didn't work too well cause it was a little cold (there was a heater above me thank goodness) and Kenji was a little concerned about the 'bombs' from ravens flying back to their nests. I shared a prime rib with KH, while Kenji had a hankering for lobster. George was famished having just a granola bar since lunch, so he ordered the rib steak that was approximately 16oz of beef! Everyone was in the mood for alcohol so we had mojitos, slushy bellinis and whisky sours all around. Had a nice round of conversation with George (he's a traffic engineer by the way), but towards the end, he started to slur-- drunk on steak from the looks of it. LOL. Kenji then sent us home...

Monday, December 15, 2014

LRT Celebrities: KPop Kim

As with all my travel posts, they can lengthy affairs that sap your patience. Hehe. Tater even suggested that I just fast-forward to the current. But, I can't! This blog acts as my journal. A place where I compile all my life events, memorable or mundane. Anyway, stay with me for just a few more posts. Hehe. Today I'll reward everyone with an LRT Celebrity, KPop Kim! Been ages since I found someone of this quality. Rare to see someone all-dressed up, with slick hair, flawless skin and big guns (I'm such a sucker for muscular arms) on the Ampang Line. I managed to get some pretty good shots since it was two in the afternoon. Perfect light. Even managed to get his pits! Enjoy!

Monday, December 08, 2014

GCA X: Goodbye Banff, Hello Vancouver

Banff View

It was the day to head back to the city, so we got up earlier than usual and checked out. Drove back to Banff to have breakfast at Melissa's Mistake, a famous breakfast place in town. We went for the weirder items-- crab and asparagus omelette and eggs benedict with chorizo. Surprisingly, the potatoes came grated, like noodles. Pour over coffee was bottomless but wasn't that great (expected I guess). Their large pancakes are quite popular too.

Crab and Asparagus Omelette

Before leaving Banff, we had time for a few more tourist attractions like The Hoodoos, a weird rock formation that looked like a huge termite nest. With one hour left in our schedule, we squeezed in the Banff Springs Hotel. Took a look around the luxurious and historical hotel (1888) and then continued driving to Calgary to catch our flight out to Vancouver. Returned our rental and took a look at the final reading of the odometer-- 900+km, not bad at all. Fast food at Chick-fil-a was lunch and a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks.

The Hoodoos



Eat Mor Chikin

Watched a few more episodes of The Big Bang Theory on the plane and we were back in the big city. For the first time, we took the sky train. Wasn't really sure how it worked cause there was no control station nor turnstiles. We just bought a couple of tickets for Broadway City Hall station and hopped on a train. Dragged our bags to East 8th Avenue and Main where our hosts were waiting.

Racing to the Gate

Owl of Dreams

Ruven and Goldie lived in Depencier House, a heritage house made of wood that was actually jacked up and relocated during the construction of Main Street. It ended up in an awkward location hence the address 8½. We were a bit dismayed when we found that we had to drag our large bags up two long flight of stairs. At the landing, we were greeted by BearDogg, their adorable pet Chow Chow. We were shown to our room and there were more surprises-- no door lock, no attached bathroom and the window was held open by Webster's Guide to American History. Aiyak. But it was a nice room. And the house was full of art and knick knacks that reflected the hipster neighbourhood very well. All around us was cafes, thrift stores, art galleries, local fashion boutiques, vapour lounges (medicinal cannabis wor...) and curio shops. And strangely with a street full of adventure gear stores.

Buddha's Coin


Lived In


Window History

Our hosts gave us some pointers on the bus and train system (the honour system!) and presented us with some food options. After settling down, we went out in search of dinner. The huge dinner crowd at Martini's was very reassuring, so when chose that. Went for the garlic mussels and pork ribs with penne. Both were excellent choices. Also got a Kolsch and to KH's delight, he was requested to show his ID. Cheh. With such a satisfying dinner, we got home, showered and skanked. Bliss.

Penne & Ribs

Friday, December 05, 2014

GCA IX: Lake Fatigue Syndrome

Morning Food

Our great outdoors adventure was about to end. Already our last day in the Rockies. Although I'm not a fan of roughing it out, I must admit that it's very breathtaking out there. Breakfast was at Laggan's. Couldn't get the door open cause I underestimated it. Needed to put in more muscle! The woman sitting at the counter beside the door told me it happened to her coming in. LOL. Tried a little something called The Cure. Definitely cured our hunger. First on our list was Bow Lake Summit. From up there, one could get an amazing view of Peyto Lake. Although the name of the place seemed to suggest another hike in the cold, on the contrary, it was extremely easy to access by car. Just a short walk from the parking lot would bring you to the look out point. Minimum exertion, maximum enjoyment. With that said, it's truly a perfect place for tours, so we only managed to enjoy the view for an uninterrupted thirty seconds before the tourists came pouring in by the bus-loads.

Lake Peyto

It's Crowded at the Top

Family at Lake Peyto Lookout

The Cold Mountain

Quickly escaped the crowd and drove to Bow Lake. Met a lake celebrity there (a geeky Asian)-- Red Riding Hood Rob. Caught him getting a second look at KH and I. Another trekking adventure was before us. Went around Bow Lake to get to the Bow Glacier Falls. The trail was super muddy and the guy we met along the way (he was half drenched, with muddy feet) suggested that we leave the marked trail and go on the river bank for a more direct route (sesaran vs jarak). Decided to go on the road least travelled, guessing our way by looking for footprints in ground. At a certain point, we cut back to the trail and a went into the pine forest following a small, faint trail. It was very quiet, with spongy moss beneath our feet and wet pine trees lining the way. Truth be told, we weren't sure where we were going. Double backed a bit but we pressed on when we saw stacked stones here and there. However, it didn't seem to lead to the falls and we made our way out (luckily we managed to retrace our steps), traversing the steep trails, fallen logs and wet branches.

Little Red Riding Hood @ Bow Lake

Bow Lake Pano

Bow Lake

Lonely Bow Lake

Bow Lake Trail

Nearly Lost

Mossy Pano

When we got out, it dawned on me the importance of tear proof outerwear in such situations where every single thing seems to snag on your clothes and backpack. Back at the river bank, we finally found our bearings and followed the stone heap markers (I wonder how we missed such an obvious trail marker). It was an easy trek on the smooth stones and sandy ground. Reached the foot of a steep flight of wooden stairs built into the hillside. Ugh. Elevation. Climbed to the top and followed another trail with a great view of rushing water and the Bow Glacier Falls in the distance. Far away, we could make out the glacier that was the source of the falls. A few old couples were sitting around enjoying the view and we did the same. Feeling sapped by that adventure, we made our way out. Loitered a while at Num Ti Jah Lodge to enjoy their heaters before heading back to Laggan's at Lake Louise for a spot of lunch. Tried their elk stew and I must say that the piping hot stew was really what we needed. The shredded meat was a bit gamy, but it was good.

I Will Follow You

Following the River

Bow Glacier Falls Pano

Bow Glacier Falls in the Distance

Elk Stew

Feeling a little more adventurous, we decided to visit the adjacent Yoho National Park. Went to see Emerald Lake, but I have nothing much to say about it except that it has a nice gift shop with artisanal knick-knacks. By that time, both of us already had Lake Fatigue Syndrome. Initially, KH had wanted to canoe, but it was really, really cold, so we scrapped that idea. Shoud have done it at Lake Moraine when the weather was better.

Emerald Lake Pano

Emerald Lake Restaurant


Retired Boots

Next was the Natural Bridge, a place where the strong current of the river had cut through rock creating a bridge of sorts. A bunch of kids were seen in the restricted area, crossing from rock to rock. One wrong step and one would most probably be killed in the swirling blue green water. On our way out of Yoho, we stopped at Field, a small village in search of dinner, but found nothing. Ended up back in Lake Louise's Mountain Cafe. Shared salmon with rice and a cream soup. Nothing to shout about. Went back to the hotel to pack as it we were scheduled to re-embrace our urban creature comforts the next day.

Natural Bridge

Man Against Nature I

Man Against Nature II

Fearless Youth

Standing Around