Monday, July 06, 2015

First weekend in Vancouver - off the cuff thoughts.

Touched down on Thursday morning, during a bright and sunny day. Usually I'd head off to my accommodations, but this fine day I was a helping transport camera gear for a friend from Singapore, so I took a taxi straight down to Burnaby and dropped it off at his place - he was going to fly off to USA for holidays in just a few hours! Thankfully no flight issues on my part, so that went smoothly.

Transit was through Narita Airport, a very pleasant experience I must say! I had little trouble getting my SGD exchanged for JPY, had my first bite of Japanese food (in Japan!) and the airport had shower facilities that were very easy to access.

My dslr has been on the fritz lately - having to jiggle the battery before it powers up - so after I touched down in Vancouver I decided to just leave it behind while I went around.  Shot some pics with my mobile phone but not really inspired with it. Should have brought my compact with me but I was busy house hunting.

Right now, I'm holed up a few blocks away from Davies Street, Vancouver's gay neighbourhood. One of the food places I visited along Davies Street, called the Banana Leaf actually had very good Malaysian food. Very close to the real thing. That surprised me. My first sip of the teh-tarik and I had very good feelings the Char Kway Teow I'd ordered would be good, and it did not disappoint. The Roti Canai was really an exercise in decadence, as I knew the noodles would be filling enough, BUT I HAD TO KNOW! Once again, it did not dissapoint. I am highly tempted to head there right after I post this for dinner, but I think trying out other places would be more prudent.

Weather wise, it actually reminds me of July in California, warm, and not too humid, with very enjoyable cool evenings. Unfortunately, there is a massive forest fire nearby, causing the air outside right now to smell like Singapore when the Indonesian forest fires are going on.

I've also sampled some of the fast food, and the McD's mcmuffins do not dissapoint. Not as kickarse as New York or Singapore, but still several notches above Adelaide. I was also introduced to this Japanese Restaurant called "Black Rice" smack dab in downtown. That has to be the bestest sushi I've had ever, bar none.

Side note: I've had a few japanese dons here already, and one thing that stands out is that all the dons I've had have had a layer of lettuce. No pictures right now, but I've had a Karrage Don and a Chirashi Don, from different places and both had have a layer of lettuce between the rice and meat.

I'm guessing this is a  healthy local thing, but it really disrupts the flavours as they should be. I haven't yet have a japanese curry yet, but if they somehow put lettuce in, I'm going to.... eat it all.

Apart from my food excursions, I've made a trip down to Burnaby to buy some new toys, and I'll blog about that later. Mainly, my time has been spent hunting down an apartment to rent, and in between, exploring the downtown area. There is a massive Tom Lee's music just blocks from work, I can't believe they actually sell boxed copies of software, saw Trillian on the shelf, even an Omnisphere 2 upgrade. The best buy I visit is very well stocked as well, even having underwater filters for gopros.

One other thing I've been needing to get used to again is prices not having taxes on them, and paying tips on food and services.

The people here generally seem quite friendly, though I must say that rarely do people hold the door for people behind, and when I hold the door for people, some look bewildered and surprised. Is door holding a taboo or something not done here?

In any case, I'm looking forward to my stint here in Vancouver!

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