Vancouver Sans Olympics

Image courtesy Brinkman Lab.

During the lull that sets over Washington DC upon entering August recess, I took and recently returned from a vacation to Vancouver, BC. I loved visiting even though we mostly stayed in the downtown area (and Stanley Park and Grouse Mountain), and I would like to visit again. Instead of documenting the total of my travels, as I’m sure you could just look up a better, more concise travel guide for what to do there, I’ll give you a brief list of random observations that set Vancouver apart:

  1. Little dogs: I noticed this anomaly first; while the city is extremely dog-friendly on the whole, I couldn’t help but notice that there was an overwhelming population of pet Chihuahuas and terriers.
  2. Rooftop gardens: I want to say a significant percentage of buildings, whether they were high rise or garden style, made excellent use of their flat rooftops by planting trees and gardens up there since space downtown for greenery is otherwise expensive. I don’t understand why more cities don’t do this as frequently. DC I would say have a very low number of buildings that do this.
  3. “Caesars”: These alcoholic drinks are typically made with a clamato base, and then it just gets crazier from there. The Caesar I tried had hot sauce, a jalapeño, spices, and lime in it, remotely mimicking a bloody mary, but they can even come, for example, breakfast-style instead with boiled quail eggs and bacon.
  4. Ounces: Many menus offering cocktails would detail how much liquor was in them (usually 2 oz. or 3 oz.). So (1) itemizing the amount of liquor in each cocktail was interesting, and (2) ounces? In a place that has since moved on to liters and kilometers and the like? Sort of amusing it wasn’t in milliliters or something.
  5. Work: We were there for park of the weekday, and though being up early in time for what would be rush hour, especially downtown, we didn’t see many people walking or driving to work. I assume that many people take leisure time during these warm, sunny months since the majority of the year it can be cloudy and rainy.
  6. Drinks: …yes, so we drank in more than just the sights Vancouver. My 20-year-old brother enjoyed draft beer for the first time. And Vancouver boasts some delectable microbrews and some wines that could rival California’s. Unfortunately, most of these aren’t exported to the US.
  7. Anthony Bourdain was right: Japa Dog, and the even more incredible Vij’s were

    Image courtesy

    delicious. I highly enjoyed the wasabi mayonnaise on my pork Japanese-style dog (the “kobe beef of pork”), and I had the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted at Vij’s; I ordered lamb popsicles in a yellow cream curry sauce that I couldn’t get enough of. Also, Rodney’s Oyster House was delicious–I split a 2.5 lb. crab with my brother.

  8. Australians: While Vancouver is known for its large Asian population, and particularly large Indian population, Aussies were unexpected. Aussies were working in a lot of the restaurants we went to, but I assume there are more working there that as tourists we didn’t encounter. On top of being able to get a work visa to any other former commonwealth, Aussies apparently like to do their walkabouts abroad, especially since it’s still winter down under. And like the Vancouver locals, they were extremely friendly and virtually every one we met asked where we were from (granted, my dad did look like a tourist).
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