I recently got back from taking the opportunity to visit a friend who now lives in Vancouver, Canada. I highly recommend taking people/friends/family up on these offers as it both softens the blow when a friend moves away (knowing you WILL visit) and keeps you moving rather than turning complacent. Flights aren’t always the cheapest or at the most convenient times, but the fun adventures you’ll get up to will more than make up for it.
So, what can you expect in the Pacific Northwest in late October? You guessed it: rain. For some of you, this might be an absolute buzz-kill, but to a guy from Texas who has endured a few decades of brutal summer sun and droughts, rain is not a problem. But because I was generally darting from buildings to cars or vice versa, I captured no rain photos. 😦
I arrived close to midnight. Tyler took me to The Marquis on Granville to have a beer and catch up a bit and I have to say, for a Wednesday night, the place was fully loaded with attractive Canadians. Not a bad place to start.
The next morning, there was more rain. But waking up to fat rain drops pelting against the window is the second-best way to be awoken in the world! We grabbed some brunch at his favorite breakfast joint (Hamburger Mary’s Diner on Davie St.) and enjoyed the heck out of some pancakes (some slappy flappy jacks!). Then it was time to get serious.
We went to Strategies, the local board game shop, where Tyler bought Memoir ’44, a strategic WW2 board game. This game consumed us. My Germans fell quite often to his Allied assault, but the various campaigns proved fun – even if a good deal of time was spent in frustration at dice rolls or card draws. And this game was only the beginning! We played King of Tokyo, Space Alert, The Resistance: Avalon, Eldritch Horror, and Race for the Galaxy over the next few days with a few of his friends. I’d highly recommend any of these games with Memoir and Eldritch being at the top of the list.
But we also Halloween’d! Tyler’s girlfriend had to work, so we dressed and braved the rain-less night as a cloaked man with a giant maw (me) and a hipster Captain America (Tyler). As we waited for friends to arrive at the London Pub, we met an incredibly interesting older woman named Freya, a lover of art, languages, and French Canadian men. I shared stories with her about Australia and Florence and she told us of time spent among rebellious young men in Mexico. Plain and simple: Freya is awesome. As she left the bar, she looked back at us, smiled, and jump-kicked the door open!
We danced with friends, drank beer, and walked home that night alongside a young lady who was about to leave for Thailand to continue her martial arts training in Muay Thai, but not before being surrounded in an all-out street brawl. I’m guessing 20 different people threw punches while their targets fell into others, pushing one unfortunately drunk young woman into her own sick. Police arrested a few of the assailants while other guys were simply knocked out from punches thrown at the back of their heads. It was wild and confirms my belief that I never want to be a cop on Halloween.
Saturday, the clear skies mandated a walk through Stanley Park. The autumn colors were almost indescribable…luckily, I took a picture or two. Walking through the woods was a definite highlight – you gotta be willing to get off the paved paths and get your shoes dirty to have any fun!
We met some of Kira’s friends (Tyler’s girlfriend) and played Cards Against Humanity – a game I find wore thin faster than ice bucket challenge videos. These same friends, Lauren and Matt, took us to The Roxy for country night the following evening. We Two-Stepped, drank, took photos, and generally had a really good time.
My last full day in Vancouver was a work day for Tyler, but Kira and Lauren took me out for “Vancouver” sushi and yoga – both were excellent. Yoga in the evening with rain coming down and looking out over the city…hard to beat. Oh, we also went to see John Wick – another high recommendation from this guy.
It was one more breakfast with my buddy before heading home on a beautifully sunny day. There are few things better than sharing good laughs with friends – being able to travel to wonderful places and share those laughs is one of them.