Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vancouver: Art, Chinese, Kilometers

Waking up in Vancouver, Canada was like waking up anywhere in the world. You are cozy inside your bed, but slightly hungry and need some orange juice (or coffee). So we checked out of our hostel and headed around the neighborhood to get some breakfast grub.

We ended up at the Smile Cafe, which served basic breakfast and Chinese food for lunch and dinner.

It seems the stay at the hostel was refreshing enough to give us both energy to walk around downtown Vancouver. First we stopped over in Gastown, which is famous for a steam powered clock but we found the view more interesting.

Looking out onto North Vancouver...

I forgot to mention some of the graffiti we saw on the walk over, such as Mr. White from Breaking Bad on one wall...

Speaking of Breaking Bad, which just finished forever, you have to watch it. Even though it is dark and violent it's all worth it, trust me.

The maple stores along Gastown were the most enjoyable to shop at, with maple syrup being transformed into different formations such as cookies and sugar. I didn't bring a whole lot of Canadian money with me so didn't pick up something at this store. However Ian walked away with some premium maple syrup, which is going to make him cook up a lot of pancakes.

As mentioned before, Vancouver's impression on me is that it's a diverse place and this is reflected in the selection of cheap Asian food. What I also found uncanny was how the window displays of said Asian restaurants were similar to ones I saw in Korea. This makes me wonder if Canada has more of an influence on Korea than America does, as previously thought (or visa versa).

For the most part Vancouver felt like Seattle just more dense, populated and international feeling. Differences would appear in forms of street signs, and other municipal items. I also found driving around Vancouver quite easy but also odd at times. For instance many green light signals would flash and I didn't know if this meant they were changing to yellow soon or meant something else. Also liked how for right turns they coordinate it so that cars have a chance to go and then crossing pedestrians. It seems they have definitely thought out their infrastructure a bit more.

Since the weather put a damper on outdoor activities we decided to go to the Vancouver Art Gallery, which takes up a whole block in the city.

If anything I now know of an art gallery space in the Pacific Northwest which houses contemporary art and has current art rotating through it. I was really excited to see that the Korean artist Kim Sooja is going to be showing soon, and I think I'll try and get back up to the gallery during her exhibit. Otherwise the exhibits on while we were there were interesting and also displayed some local artists.

By the way if you're wondering about the area the following is a map I made for our trip:

Of course we didn't get to everything, but enjoyed our stay nonetheless. After the art gallery we headed to Chinatown to take in the sights and some grub before heading back home.

Vancouver's Chinatown felt similar to San Francisco's with the ornate architecture, shops and gate at the entrance. However, I think because it was a Sunday we didn't get the full impact of the area. Yet we still managed to find a garden and a restaurant that satisfied Ian's dim sum craving.

The above photo reminded me of a Monet lily pond painting just not in blue pastels.

Leaving Vancouver was kind of sad as I knew there was still more to see and I wanted to immerse myself more and get a better feeling for it all. But time and money were a factor. I hope to visit the area again, and hopefully with better weather.

The drive back home was also fun and I'll post photos from that soon. Otherwise, see you again Vancouver!

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