Friday, September 14, 2007

Vancouver: Pretty and Polite

Chad and I just returned from five fun days in Vancouver. The city and surrounding areas are beautiful with tall trees, a backdrop of mountains and little harbors and inlets all over the place. The weather averaged 72F during the day and 55F at night -- a welcome respite even from this mild Austin summer.

The British Columbia residents are incredibly polite and friendly. We stopped in the local Urban Outfitters store to buy a light jacket for Chad, and the lovely lady behind the counter asked us how our day was going and wished us well, which is never likely to happen at an American location of Urban Outfitters, where you're more likely to be sneered at and tolerated during any transaction. A bus driver let us on the bus for FREE when we didn't have the exact fare, saying, "Hey, we're friends. Hop on and you can pay at the transport station when you catch the ferry back across." Wow. I'm inspired to be even nicer than usual. Pass it on, and all that.

If you venture to Vancouver, here are our top three picks:
1. Granville Island Public Market
2. Capilano Suspension Bridge
3. Stanley Park

For those foodies out there, we had great meals the whole time we were in Vancouver. My favorite two spots for atmosphere (because I'm all about the ambiance and less about the chow) were: Glowbal and Brix, both in the Yaletown neighborhood with lovely patios and twinkling lights. Chad really loved Tojo's sushi restaurant. Tojo's had a vegetarian omikase (which means the chef picks your meal and brings out different courses like a tasting menu) so I was in luck. The veggie meal was good, but honestly, this place is quite expensive, spare in decor / atmosphere and not really worth the price unless you're a major sushi fan. Chad is a major sushi fan, so he loved it. Tojo's restaurant was featured in the book (and also on the TV show) 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

When I go back to Vancouver, I hope that Chad and I can stay at the Wickaninnish Inn for even more nature exposure and more of a retreat feel; rather than spending so much time downtown like we did on this trip. Overall, this was a wonderful vacation! I can't wait to go back to Vancouver.