Vancouver: Catching Up With Friends Old & New

Catching Up With Friends Old & New

Mike picked me up from the station and he drove us out to New Westminster where his appartment was to be found. We got each other up to date on where our lives had taken us since we parted back at the end of August. We dropped my bags off, I had a quick change and we headed down to his local pub for a little something to eat, a few more beers and more casual chat.

In the pub one of Mike’s friends, zack, joined us and then the bar staff brought round a set of musical bingo cards. Musical bingo is as you would imagine. A song is played, if it features on your card stamp it off. Not long into the game, another of Mike’s friends, Curt, joined us. I had the pleasure of winning two rounds and gained myself a duffle bag, a t-shirt and a cap twice. On the second win, I was approached by other players after I’d given the t-shirt away to enquire about the availability of the bag and the cap and was more than happy to pass them on. Once we’d finished up in the pub, Curt drove us to Mike’s to feed his fish and then we headed out to The Cleveland Dam. Apparently it looks a lot more impressive in the day.

From the dam we drove around some more coming to one of the most magnificent views I’ve had on this trip so far, and it was free. We were looking back across the city, the river in the foreground with shipping containers lit up, what we debated might have been Victoria on Vancouver Island out in the ocean, and the vast sprawling districts of the city. All of the guys pointed out the various parts of the city from downtown, to as close as we could see to where each of them lived.

While enjoying the views, Mike recieved a call from Ivan. He’d finished work and was ready to join us. Mike and Zack had to get up early for work, so we dropped them at Mike’s collected Ivan and then Curt drove us down to the broadwalk where we hung out for a while before he decided it was time to call it a night for himself. He dropped Ivan and I back at Ivan’s place where we continued drinking long into the morning, bringing each other up to date in the twists and turns of our lives and our plans for the future.

The following morning, Ivan bust into the spare room where I was sleeping with the British National Anthem playing throug his phone at full blast. What a way to wake up. We had a grapefruit breakfast and a cup of tea, which I watched Ivan put ice cubes into. I’m familair with the concept of ice-tea but I was pretty sure he was doing it wrong. He then informed me that since he’d been six he’d always put ice in anything that might be too hot, from tea to soup. With some after-though this makes perfect sense.

Ivan had the duty of entertaining me for the morning, so we browsed the Metrotown Mall and the Crystal Mall which was his way of introducing me to Vancouver’s asian population. The multi-culturally diverse societies of North America where no longer a shock to me but more of an expectation and this was Vancouver’s offering. While in the mall he suggested we try a bubble-tea which might be the weirdest thing I’ve tried, ever.

I had a lychee flavour which on it’s own was awesome but the “tea” is filled with little “bubbles” of tapioca. As you sucked down the drink, the balls would shoot up the straw and into your mouth. My natural reaction to lumpy liquids is not a particularly good one and although the taste was good, the feel of the liquid was rejected by my body and I had a job keeping it down.

I guess I can’t love everything I try! Once we’d finished wandering about we headed back to Mike’s apartment, chilling with some Mario Kart before Ivan had to head out to work.

Mike returned from work and knocked up a quick dinner. His Aunt seems to be fairly into cooking and anything to do with food and he had a stack of potato and cheese rostis in his freezer which we enjoyed. Later that evening Mike and I met up with Curt and headed down to the local cinema. Tuesdays in Vancouver are cheap film night and we took advantage of the deal to catch a showing of Snow White And The Huntsman. We all left feeling relieved that we hadn’t had to pay full price.

The next day was spent largely chilling, until Mike returned from work. His Mum and the rest of his family that still lived at home were moving out of their old place, Mike’s original home and he had offered the services of myself, Curt and Zack to help out. Upon arrival Mike found we were a little early and his family weren’t quite ready for us, Curt insisted we head to Ikea for a cheap and decent dinner.

It was kind of cool to be in a semi-Swedish environment seeing as I’d met Mike and Ivan in Stockholm in the first place. After a cheeky beer we headed back to Mike’s old place, moving plenty of boxes and a deep-freeze out of the house and into storage. Zack, Mike and I then went back to Mike’s place and we played a few rounds of some really old NES game before calling it a night.

The weather in and around Vancouver is hilariously comparable to that of Britain; if it isn’t raining, it probably will soon. The next day, Ivan and I had agreed to hang out before he headed off to work and to organise meeting up again afterwards to hit a couple of bars and grab plenty of drinks. He arrived at Mike’s just before 10:30am and I left him out standing in the rain until I heard him desperately trying to get my attention. We headed into downtown New Westminster, walked about and he knew of a vegan deli where we picked up a pretty reasonable burger and tried some vegan jerky which was a pretty impressive imitation. On our way through we spotted a British Sweet Shop and Grocers, and I felt the need to go in, just to see what qualified as British and was rewarded with the biggest tin of Heinz Baked Beanz I have ever seen. I didn’t buy it though.

The rain kept pouring down on us and it wasn’t long before we ended up back in Mike’s apartment and getting back on with Mario Kart

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