Friday 19 July 2013

Trip to Vancouver, Canada And Seattle, USA

Our cruise departed from Vancouver, and brought us back after the end of our magical journey. That was how we landed in the acclaimed green city for about 4 days (a day in Seattle), before and after the cruise. Although I wasn't much impressed with the scenic sights, I was astounded by the diverse Chinese food delicacies. They were superb! The taste and impression lingers on, even till now. It was comforting to find great food in a foreign land, which wasn't even its expertise to begin with. I wish we were nearer. The city has a large Chinese population, which probably explains the excellent delicacies. Moreover, with my parents around, all we could do was to feast. My dad is an extreme food critic, if he loves it, it means outstanding!

The long missed, bean curd in ginger syrup

Alaska King Crab and Geoduck!

We visited:
1. Granville Island Public Market: Place where you can find interesting homemade products and gastronomic delights. We also visited the kids market, where you can find many shops selling toys and costumes. I love buying toys for kids, but realised travelling by air has kept me constrained. Instead, to satisfy the jiggling bodies of little Js, they played an hour in the indoor playground. Which was quiet moment for the adults.

Alaska King Crab and Geoduck!

2. Stanley Park: The locals love and pride, their first and largest beloved park. We were there coincidentally on National day, where they did a 21-gun salute by firing cannons in the park, honoring the day. It's a great place for outdoor activities. We took a land tour for this, stopped only a few stations for pictures.

Cannon shots

3. Vancouver lookout: We traveled about 170m off ground, on a glass elevator to the observation deck, for a panoramic view of the city. Briefly walked and ended the excursion quick, as I didn't find it very much interesting or impressive. $15.75 (CAD) for adults and free for kids below 5. Personally felt it wasn't quite worth the price and visit. It was included in our group land tour.

A very urbanized city

4. Dr Sun Yat-Sen Park: Free entry. You'll have to pay an entrance if you decide to visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which is also around the corner. The free park was good enough for us. We enjoyed some tranquil moments in the enchanting garden. Popped in because it was interesting to spot a Chinese Dynasty garden out of China. Found out that Dr Sun stayed in Vancouver on various occasions in the past, that's why the park's existence.

Nice park

5. Chinatown: We strolled along Chinatown, visited the night market on a drizzly night. Lots of food choices and non-food items for sale. 

6. Capilano Suspension Bridge: This was also the most thrilling moment of our trip. The bridge is suspended about 70m above the Capilano river. And you think nothing about fear, until you walk through this trembling suspended bridge. The kids were fearless on it, but not me. Fear multiplied as I walked towards the center. Putting up our brave fronts, we did it to and fro. We did other suspending cliffwalk and treetops adventures too. It was crazy paying some big money to challenge height and fear. Tickets for adults are priced at $35 (CAD). Kids below 6, free.

Suspended bridge

Another fearful obstacle

The highlight of Vancouver, to me, is food! Yes, I enjoy great food. Those that are truly worth the calories. Most days, I remember Vancouver as a rainy city. The city is clean and green, considers very much about recycling and the environment. Transportation is easy, on our first 2 days, we went round on bus and train. People were extremely helpful and friendly, it was not difficult to get a passerby for directions. But, there are always exceptions, some Chinese restaurants we visited were rather unfriendly, with below mediocre service. If we had a choice, I rather not give gratuity.

And I thought I've always been a true blue, hardcore Singaporean. After looking at the happy immigrants in there, I thought it wasn't too bad becoming a Vancouverite. Okay, Just a careless thought.

Thanks to cousin and friends, we found great food places that are worth the calories:

1. Ho Yuen Kee 何源記   
6236 Fraser Street
Vancouver, BC V5W 3A1
Neighborhood: Sunset

3888 Main Street, Vancovuer
B.C. V5V 3N9

3. Red Star Seafood Restaurant 鴻星海鮮酒家
8298 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6P 4Z4

If you've room for desserts, beancurd here is worth a try:
4. Excellent Tofu and Snacks

Central Richmond
160-4231 Hazelbridge Way
Richmond, BC V6X3L7

Seattle, USA
Within our days in Vancouver, we crossed the border, drove about 2 hours to Seattle for a day trip. I wished we had more time there though. In our day trip, we visited:

1. Pike Place Market Where they sell food, from fruits to fishes and poultry. Opposite the market is also where we found the first Starbucks that existed on Earth. There was a long queue, as if they were giving free coffees.

Long line to get coffee

2. Chihuly Garden and Glass: We love this visit very much. An exhibition of glass - The different forms of art and beauty that came from pushing the boundaries of glass. They were awesomely beautiful, my jaws dropped each time we stepped into a different exhibition room. If I were a millionaire, I would buy up the works and fill my home with it. They are extremely therapeutic and soothing to admire. 
Boat like glass exhibit

Each city has its own unique beauty and character, I love Vancouver for its food and Seattle for the places of visit. It was a great opportunity to explore them.

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