Never let it be said that the power of the Internet is not so strong that it can't convince people where to go on vacation. Of course, we were already rather enamored with the idea of Vancouver anyway, but it sure helped to hear so many glowing testimonials. You guys should do infomercials or something. Or reviews of eBay sellers. I trust you enough to put my weekend getaway in your hands---why wouldn't I buy a George Foreman grill from you?
So we're off to Vancouver on Friday night after work, and it feels awfully glamorous to be jetting off to Canada for 48 hours. Well, glamorous and perhaps a tad financially irresponsible, but still, I HAD A COUPON. This is how I justify organic produce and this is how I justify spontaneous vacations, so sue me. I just cannot resist a deal. And in case you're wondering where I got this personality trait from, consider this: sometimes I call my mother---in Singapore!---from Safeway to tell her which wines are on special that week. Sean stands idly by muttering "um, you know she can't buy these, right?" But that's not the point. The point is that her favorite Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is on sale that week in the North Beach Safeway, AND I THOUGHT SHE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW.
(Once, when my parents announced that they were moving to Singapore from Connecticut, and I was resisting this change with the fury of a thousand fiery suns because I was 21 and thus conditioned to do so---even though I lived three quarters of the year in London anyway---my mother attempted to convince me that I would actually enjoy Singapore by sending me a list of EVERY SINGLE BUS ROUTE that went from our new house to the nearby IKEA. This is how we keep in touch: by pretending we are not living on two entirely different continents.)
So anyway, it's not that we didn't want to go to Portland---in fact, we wanted to go to Portland very much, and we wanted to go to Portland even more when we read all of your fabulous suggestions. Like enormous bookshops that one could spend eight hours browsing! And world-class coffee houses! And copious microbreweries! And no sales tax! Who knew? Certainly not me; I just thought Portland was green and pretty and easy to fly to. But it just seemed this weekend was better suited to Vancouver, and so we shall save Portland for a weekend next year when we can find a cheap flight---or even drive up!---after doing a little more research. Because seriously, I am going to need some time to plan what I need to buy if I'm not going to be paying tax on it. An iPhone? New winter boots? A commissioned his-and-hers portrait done in chocolate syrup? The world is my oyster! My tax-free oyster, of course.
But about Vancouver: I have questions. (Like, where is this shop that sells only crisps, for instance?) Between Stanley Park, English Bay, Chinatown, and Granville Island we have a rough schedule planned out---oh, alright, I lie, I've planned it with military precision; I may actually carry a clipboard on the airplane---but we're still in the market for a) breakfast places for both weekend mornings, b) a nice dinner place for Saturday night, and c) a grocery store where I can browse the aisles for Real Canadian Foodstuffs and fill a suitcase with things to bring home. (On the list: Winegums, Smarties, Flakes, and OXO cubes. And bacon: do you think I can bring bacon in my hand luggage?)
Also, while I've got your attention: should we take a taxi from the airport downtown or take the Airporter shuttle bus? Get money from the Canadian ATM or just pay by card? Also, what is Tim Horton's and is there one in town? Vancouverites, please give me your suggestions. Everyone else, I'm sorry to be such a snooze; I promise you winegums to make up for it. Also, slightly rancid bacon that has been in my carry-on for hours. Yum. You totally can't wait.