Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thanksgiving Recap, Part III: Vancouver

[Part I]
[Part II]

The original plan was to fly into Seattle, having dinner with Mark, then drive up to Vancouver for a few days (through the weekend) before heading back to DC. I'd never been to Canada before, so this seemed like a great opportunity to get away.

Vancouver reminded both Mark and me of the city we left behind. Vancouver is so Asian influenced that there were excellent, authentic Asian restaurants all over the main strip where we stayed. It was a little on the strange side going all the way to Canada and indulging in Japanese and Vietnamese food, but I'll be damned if the food wasn't really really good. And, of course, cheap. The exchange rate was just slightly below a 1:1 ratio, but it was still pretty decent. (At one point I withdrew CAD80 from an ATM; the bank charged me a withdrawal of US$65. Woo hoo!)

We spent most of our days walking around the city, taking in whatever sights were available. (There weren't that many, frankly.) Of course, given my situation (see Part I) we couldn't really go too terribly on foot. But we did get to see some cool stuff: the waterside, the Chinatown, Granville Island.

Chinatown was freaking awesome. This is one of things I miss most about living in Washington, DC. I lament the fact that there is, in fact, no Chinatown to speak of in this city. The only thing coming closest to a real Chinatown is out in the 'burbs and is not Metro accessible. This is odd because in most other major metropolitan cities, Chinatowns are generally in the center of the city, right outside downtown, and in fact are kinda economically depressed. No so here. Vancouver's Chinatown was large, expansive, surprisingly clean, and loaded with great restaurants and stores. Unfortunately, I was gun shy about eating too much, but we did manage to get a good set of bao -- buns with various fillings -- to take for the trip back. They were yummy, and yet again I was reminded of the stuff that seems wildly difficult to track down here in DC.

Granville Island was also excellent in a Farmer's Market sort of way. Again, food galore; again, unfortunate all things considered. Mark indulged in a samosa and pot pie; I eventually picked up a few meat pies on the expectation that I'd eat them back in Seattle. Definitely a cute place and I would love to go back.

The most fun stories about Vancouver, however, have to do with the people. Oy, the people.

Mark and I decided we would try to meet people to hang out with before we made our way up there. I went through Craigslist, and found a guy named Ivan. Mark apparently chatted with some guy on (I think -- he never did tell me explicitly) who agreed to meet up as well.

I made plans for us to hang out with Ivan at a bar on Saturday night. Immediately before, Mark met up with Craig (yes, his name was Craig) at his apartment. (I'm not sure if they were planning to hook up or not; I didn't ask.) After about half an hour, Mark and Craig picked me up and we headed out to meet Ivan at a bar.

Craig didn't know who we were looking for; all I knew was what Ivan was wearing. As we scanned the room, though, Craig called out: "Hey, Ivan!" Yes, in the teensy tiny little gay world in Vancouver, Mark and I had managed to independently connect with two people who knew each other. This was just ducky.

Ivan was pleasant as a matter of first impression, but hot damn if he didn't turn out to be an annoying-ass know-it-all drunk very early into the conversation. At first I tried to defend (internally) self-centered cockiness, but after a while there really was no more excuse for him. I gave up trying to think of him as an even remotely likeable person, and decided that I pretty much just liked the fact that he spent most of his time over at the pool table waiting for a game.

Craig seemed nice enough, but clearly had an agenda that didn't involve me, or even being out in public for that matter. Quite early in the our conversation, he mentioned that something about the "date" that he and Mark were on. (Mark would later corner me in the bathroom to make clear to me that he certainly didn't consider this gathering a "date," and I was to act accordingly to ensure that nothing untoward happened.) He was rather touchy-feely with Mark, and in fact pretty much stopped engaging in any conversation whatsoever once he realized he probably wasn't getting any that night. Blah.

But the gay scene was okay, even if it was a little restricted. Two fun bars (one with an exceedingly high cover, though) and one cool hangout bar that appeared pretty well mixed. Mark got cornered by a rather drunk strange man from San Francisco in the first bar we went to. He had hovered around us for most of the evening in the freakish, stalker-y sort of way; we had spent most of the evening working to be sure that we were on the other side of the room from him. Mark got cornered as I settled up the bill. I laughed.

All in all, I'd love to get back there sometime. I told Mark we could go back next year for Thanksgiving again. Make it some kind of tradition. It was fun.

I just will make sure not to eat at the airport beforehand next time.


NotCarrie said...

You are so right about DC...I've never understood the lack of a Chinatown.

aL said...

well DC's Chinatown is not like Hawaii's Chinatown, but at least that's better than nothing. Besides, I have to drive 40 minutes to get to an actual restaurant (which does not include sit in take out).

Sub Girl said...

with craigs, it's usually hit-or-miss! yeah i work in chinatown/dc, and its severely lacking.