Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stories of the Road, issue 33: The Great Gray North


This blog post is long overdue, but with good reason.  My latest client is headquartered in Vancouver, a city that's been on my top destination list for quite a while.  I was determined to make the best of my time there, thus I resolved to spend my weeknights seeing Vancouver rather than writing about it.

I'm never sure how much my feelings about a new city are influenced by my predispositions.  I've long imagined Vancouver as a Canadian San Francisco, so I had an easy time spotting similarities: the waterfront geography, the West-coast attitudes, the seafood-heavy menus.  There was even a dense fog (which the locals repeatedly assured me was uncharacteristic) languishing in the streets for most of my stay, reinforcing the impression that Vancouver was separated at birth from its American counterpart.

Vancouver's air is charged with the same ineffable energy found in other distinguished metropolitan locations.  I felt it as I walked to pick up dinner after work, wearing a smile that seemed to spring from my chest cavity.  I'm not a spiritual man, but I'm positive that some cities radiate a metaphysical verve yet undefined by science.

The travel requirements for this project were aggressive: Sunday night arrival and Friday afternoon departure for four weeks straight.  Lucy flew in for a ski weekend in between.  I tested my snowboarding skills, which were almost so rusty as to be worthless.  After three hours of scraping down the face of Grouse Mountain in thrift-store snowpants, my ass was ready to mutiny.


The food quality was top notch throughout town.  The sushi restaurant population downtown seems too large to be sustainable.  I never had a bad piece of fish in my time there, and I'm certain that my blood now contains enough mercury to manufacture several thermometers.  Oh, and let's not forget the poutine.


Why hasn't America appropriated this dish yet?  It certainly meets our minimum legal requirements for sodium, cheese, and fried food content.

Kudos to monstro (AKA Steve Wolfhard) and his friends for showing us a good time at Gyoza King.  Lucy drew a fantastic Vancouver travel journal when she vacationed with her dad last fall, so I have to plug it one more time.