21 January 2013, About 8:25 AM: Well, breakfast this morning was a bit different. Not that I’d gotten used to having breakfast in a pub, but the hotel does not do a good job of informing its patrons when there is going to be some big to-do in the pub that would effectively cancel breakfast if the hotel didn’t have a basement. Said basement, however, is a nightclub. It looks a little more mod-dungeon-y than the pub, which is your quintessential old-style wooden pub, and the display of alcohol is lit up like a Christmas tree, though I suppose that’s only to be expected.
Of course, in my just-woke-up haze, I forgot my camera. I’m kind of glad the boyfriend decided to sleep in, as I had him bring it down for his breakfast. We’ll see how that went in a bit.
We have to pack up and be out of here in two and a half hours… Arg. It’s not that we have all that much to pack; knowing that this would be just a weekend and that we wouldn’t have a car or anything, we packed as light as possible. My aunt suggested that we get the hotel to hold our baggage for us if we were going to be doing any walking-intensive activities so that we could return to the hotel and grab our stuff. However, we’ve opted for a different route. We’re going to hang out at Starbucks for a bit, have lunch, hang some more, walk to Chinatown (which is a little over a mile from the hotel, so it won’t be that bad), hang out there, grab some dinner, then walk another little bit (probably a half-mile or so—Google Maps gave the distance in kilometers, and distance is one of those things I have a harder time converting) to the train station.
Ah, the boyfriend is back, and with pictures of the nightclub! Just a few, though, and obviously, it’s not the nightclub in its full glory, but I’m still happy. :) Time now to start packing.
12:40 PM: It turns out that they were filming a movie or TV show or music video or SOMETHING of some sort in the pub. When we left the hotel, the setup outside made it clear that something was being professionally filmed. I do kind of wonder what it was…
We’re sitting in a Starbucks about three quarters of a mile from our hotel. We figured it was as good a place to sit as any. Homework was attempted for a little while on my part, but King Lear is boring and difficult.
The boyfriend, however, is far more productive (and better at focusing) than I, and finished his homework fairly quickly. Now, he’s puzzling (ha ha) over a page in my puzzle magazine while checking Facebook. (We also just found that the part of the Starbucks we moved to actually has wifi, which makes us happy.) We’re going to head out in a bit, though—Starbucks probably wouldn’t look kindly on us eating our obviously non-Starbucks bagels and apples in here, though we did order drinks and a small pastry for the boyfriend.
3:25 PM: We killed a little more time wandering to Chinatown. We wound up eating our bagels and apples outside the Border Services Agency building on the way there. It seemed like the security guard there wasn’t quite sure what to make of us. I mean, who in their right mind picnics when it’s a little above freezing? Believe me; I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t had to.
Anyway, we were looking for a store we could kill a bit of time in, since we were both absolutely freezing. Suddenly, out of nowhere, we found a mall. Like, a legit (if tiny) shopping mall on the outskirts of Chinatown. We couldn’t get inside fast enough.
We spent about 15 or 20 minutes wandering around, since about half the shops were closed and the other half didn’t really seem worth exploring. However, the second level did have some really awesome walls carved with famous landmarks from around the world, and a strip of lights with a night sky background so that the lights were stars. It also had a food court, where we settled down for a little bit to get our bearings. We were considering eating dinner there, but I was dead set on finding the New Town Bakery, as I’d read in reviews that their food was cheap and really, really tasty.
So, we adventured off again. I was pretty sure that we had to keep going the same direction we had been coming from, because I hadn’t seen any ostentatious “New Town Bakery” signs (though, if you’ll refer to part 2, I’m good at missing the obvious), but it seemed to me that if we were at the very west-most end of Chinatown, the bakery we were looking for would be in the heart of it, so we walked east.
It took a few blocks and some rather confusing moments figuring out what the heck the addresses were doing, but in the end, we figured that they were decreasing west-to-east, and I guessed that, since we were in a decreasing 100 block, it was going to turn around soon. With that, we headed toward Chinatown proper, and found the place where it was supposed to be… only to find that it had moved about two storefronts right and we hadn’t even noticed. We popped in for a few minutes, and their food is in fact incredibly well-priced for how much you get. However, I can’t yet speak to the quality, because we’re getting our dinner there, and it looks like we’ll be able to eat rather enough even splitting our grand total of $8.56 CAN between the two of us. (The place takes only cash, or this wouldn’t be an issue, but it is a good way to burn the last of the money we have, rather than changing it back in the States.)
We went back to the food court and will be camping out here for another half hour (which means we will have spent a grand total of two or three hours there… ^^;) or so before we go and pick up dinner, then go to the train station and eat before boarding the train to head back.
4:50 PM, At the station: Considering that we paid a grand total of $5.66 CAN for our dinner and that it was exposed to the cold for a half-hour before we ate it, it was pretty tasty! We both got BBQ pork buns, which were a little lacking in spice and surprisingly sweet. Not anything to write home about, good or bad. (Considering they were each $1.30 CAN, I’m a little surprised they were as good as they were, to be honest.) For dessert, I had a butter cream horn, and the boyfriend had chocolate cake with icing.
Again, I was a little underwhelmed by the food itself—the majority of my chosen pastry was phyllo dough, and it seemed a little stale, though I imagine at least part of that was being pretty much flash-frozen by the weather, but still… (Though, also again, we paid a little less than you would normally pay for a really cheap entrée in the U.S. for one person, so I won’t say I didn’t get what I paid for, or rather, that I got less than what I paid for.) The boyfriend’s verdict on his cake was “not bad”. We both ate all of what we ordered, and, were I hungry and low on money in Vancouver, I know exactly where I’d go, but if I could splurge on food like last night’s shawarma, I’d sooner go for that.
Also, the station has really crappy wifi, so my wifi’s been cutting in and out as I’ve been writing this. Thank goodness I put entries in word documents first!
It’s now a little after 5 and I think they’re going to have us start getting ready soon. Over all, it has been a great trip, but I’ll be glad to be back in my apartment in a few hours.