Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Alaskan Adventure: Vancouver

Okay, so NOW begins our last week in the house. Got a lot done this weekend. Still a lot to do, but we're making good progress. I keep telling myself, "If we can just make it to Sunday..." But, in the grand scheme of things, it's just moving stuff. No biggie, right. RIGHT? 

Totes agree with you guys about Hunger Games. If I were to write a story, it would be like, "Mary Sue was a nice girl who met a nice guy, Joe, and the worst thing that ever happened to either of them is that Mary Sue's hair got singed at a bonfire and she had to cut it, but she liked it short even better, and one of Joe's shoestrings broke and he had to buy a new pair. And they lived happily ever after. The end." I'm predicting it would sell about 4 copies...3 of which would be bought my my Mom...but it would be a happy story with no stressful or tense moments. But, HG is a good set of books, I will admit. Very captivating and they really make you root for the characters. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the 2nd book now and it's like COME ON!!!!! President Snow can kiss it. 


Guess what? I have a few pictures!! Starting with Vancouver. 

That Wednesday morning, we were up at 3:30 and left the house at 4:00 in order to get to the airport about 4:40. Our flight left at 6:00 on the dot, so we thought we had pleeeenty of time. The Birmingham airport is an international airport, but it's not a huge airport and I mean, how many people are flying out at 6:00 a.m. on a Wednesday, right? Apparently, everybody. We've left tons of time super early in the morning and literally walked right through security. Wednesdays seem to be a pretty popular day. Took us about 5 seconds to check our bags and get our tickets. Then about 100 hours to get through security. I'm not kidding when I say the line went back 1/2 mile. So serious. Actually, it moved pretty quickly and we got to the gate about 15 minutes before they started boarding, which is about 30 minutes before they actually leave, so we had plenty of time. But, it scared me for a second.  

By the time we laid-over in Houston and then got to Denver, I was starving and all I could think about was pizza and ice cream and little Hugsy found me some. 

From Denver to Vancouver, I thought, I'm gonna get a cup of decaf coffee. Remember when they used to give you tons of free stuff on airplanes? Cookies, peanuts, granola bars, drinks, etc. Now they just barely give you a small cup of coke or coffee. So, I was getting my free coffee. The lady said, "It's instant. Is that okay?" I've had instant coffee before. Sure, that's fine. No big deal. Now, I was expecting Starbucks Via or anything, but HOLY COW...this was the worst thing ever. I have never drank (drunk?) anything so repulsive. It tasted like a porta-potty smells. 

Finally made it to Vancouver! BEAUTIFUL city. We got a taxi from the airport to the hotel downtown and it was such a nice drive. The houses are beautiful. There are flowering gardens everywhere. It's so lush and green and surrounded by snow-peaked mountains. It's a perfect city, really. And so clean and it smelled so nice. Canadians are healthy, y'all. Like, crazy healthy. Even the McDonald's commercials touted the fact that they use free-range, organic chicken with no chemical processing for their chicken sandwiches and nuggets. We ate at a fabulous little diner for breakfast both mornings, Joe's Grill.  Everything was organic. The best bacon I've ever had. The freshest strawberry crepes with creme. Even the waffles were free-range. It was goooood. 

19 weeks with baby boy

Excited to head out for the day!

View from our room.

Our room at the ClubIntrawest. 

Creepiest artwork ever.

They had Gilchrist and Soames bath products in the bathroom. I've never used their stuff before. It was tough going back to my Pantene. It just smelled so amazing. 

We had a telescope in our bedroom. Tried to spy on the office building across from us, but nothing sinister happened. Just people working. Lame. 

On Thursday, we met up with Rebecca and Richard, who were staying at a B&B not too far from us, rented some bikes and headed to Stanley Park. It's about a 6 mile trip around the entire park on the Seawall and Richard figured we'd cover more ground and see more by riding. Such a good idea. The weather was perfect and the ride was so nice. This is the marina.

We finished with our ride earlier than we thought we would and decided to walk from Stanley Park to Canada Place and then Gastown.

 Canada Place

We stopped by a chocolatier called Leonidas. Soooo good. I got chocolate...

 And David got macarons.


The steam clock

It's like a mini Flatiron Building.

That evening, David and I went to The Urban Tea Merchant. Okay, yes yes yes, I made my husband go have tea with me. He wasn't thrilled with the idea at first, but warmed up to it. And when we got there, he was more than happy to eat what they served us, which was AMAZING. It was one of the most fun and entertaining dining experiences I've ever had. And you can ask him yourself if he'd do it again. I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. 

It was such a formal, fancy presentation. It was kind of funny, because we're not used to that kind of stuff. We walk in and I made us a reservation, so it was all such a show how they welcomed us and showed us to our table. We were in jeans and I asked the server, in his tuxedo, if we were dressed okay. He said, "This is Vancouver, the most casual place in the world. You're dressed perfectly." So, even though it seemed super formal, it was really inviting and relaxing. 

We chose what type of service we wanted and it came with our own pots of tea. They had over 150 types to choose from. One pot, a Japanese tea, was $75. We forwent that one and each chose something we could pronounce. I got a decaf Chai Rooibos and David got a Black Vanilla Tea. All of their teas were prepared the "right" way. Apparently, tea bags dilute the flavor. You're supposed to just use straight up leaves and herbs and what not and it has to steep for an eternity or something. But, yeah, who has the time, right. But, you could definitely taste the difference. I've had rooibos before, but this was like rooibawesome. 

But, let me tell you about David's vanilla tea. I took a swig just to try it. You guys...I can never drink tea again. This stuff ruined me. It was like drinking hot melted ice cream straight from a Tahitian vanilla plant. It was unreal. We bought a bag in the store downstairs for after I get unpregnant and can have loads of caffeine again.

After a few sips of team, the server brought us champagne classes filled with straight up chilled white tea, the purest form of tea. Nothing else in it. It was supposed to be a palette cleanser. It was awful. That's harsh...let me rephrase. It was AWFUL. I didn't want to hurt their feelings by not drinking it, so I thought, "I'll add some of this raw sugar to it and maybe that'll help." It did not help and then I had huge chunks of sugar in my glass that wouldn't dissolve because of the extremely cold beverage. So, sweet David saved me and swigged it all down for me so it looked like I drank it.

Then, they brought us our food.

Here we have a tier of chocolate-dipped madeleine, gooseberry fruit, petit-four, ganache truffle, tea-infused macaroni, chocolate strawberry, and fruit (with some tea-infued rhubarb).

The second tier was two four-cheese mini quiches and a raisin scone, cream, and jam.

Third tier was egg salad sandwich, cucumber sandwich with tea-infused wasabi spread, beef carpaccio with something foam, smoked salmon on rye, shrimp and green apple spoon, olives and mini pickles, and tea-infused chicken salad in waffle cone. It was all much more fancy sounding and had more ingredients that I can't remember when they explained it to us. The girl who brought it and went through everything had a fabulous French accent, so I couldn't understand most of it anyway.

We ordered a second service that was a smaller version of the first one just to make sure we had enough. We definitely had enough, but we ate everything.

I feel like I'm cheating on Canoe in Atlanta, but I have to say it because it's true. This is the best food I've ever eaten. David agreed. It was such a neat experience and the people were so friendly and welcoming and the food was freaking awesome. And the tea...ooooooh, the tea. I miss the tea. If you're ever in Vancouver, save 90 minutes and go do this. Seriously. 

The Sheraton Wall Center. ClubIntrawest is on the 28th-30th floors.

Friday morning, we had breakfast with Richard and Rebecca, went shopping and then headed back to Canada Place to board our ship! Could not have been more wonderful weather. Actually, several crew members told us they hadn't had this good of weather since the Alaskan season began. It had been overcast and rainy, but the sun came out for us.

Right under the line of trees is the Stanley Park Seawall where we rode the day before. Same bridge I took a picture of.

 You can see the Seawall here again.

 That night at dinner, our waiter, Lyndon, asked me what I wanted for dessert and said, "Nothing." (There actually was nothing that I just had to have and I was already so full.) And he said, "Nothing?!" And I replied with, "Nothing." So, he brought me nothing.



  1. i like lyndon...sounds like he would fit really well into our family. and, by the way, you wanted nothing for dessert. you must have been really sick. and you aren't going to believe this but my word to type in is "prepartm"..i kid you not:) it's a conspiracy.

  2. The pictures are amazing! You're so cute pregnant!

    And I agree.. the picture on the wall reminds me of the watching eyes from the Great Gatsby.

  3. airplane coffee is terrible! especially the short flights. it stays in there forever. eewwww!

    the tea place sounds great, though!


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