Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Visiting Vancouver

Monday, March 4, 2013

OLA: Visiting Vancouver

Carol with the Giant Strawberries in Granville Island

It is so nice when you get to visit places because of your children! Several years ago I went to San Diego because my eldest daughter Trisha won a much-coveted all-expenses paid trip there for topping the sales campaign of her bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, where she is now an investment banker. In August Bill and I will go to the UK to visit my youngest daughter April who is on a 3-year assignment there as HP’s project manager for Europe and the Africas for a global client. And just last week we went to Vancouver to join my middle daughter Claudine, a project director of the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, who was participating in an international Oil & Gas convention. 

fine dining at Granville Island
Ranked five years in a row as ‘one of the most livable cities’ in the world, Vancouver SMSA has a population of 2.3 M, the third largest in Canada. The city is also one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse because 52% of its residents do not speak English as their first language. 30% of the population is of Chinese heritage, brought about by the huge immigration from Hongkong before the transfer of the city-state to mainland China. 5 % is of Filipino origin.

familiar Goldilocks' counter
We stayed at the luxurious Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel for two days.  Claudine arrived at the hotel at 6:30 pm straight from the airport to share a Filipino meal of chicken adobo, chicken and pork barbeque, pinakbet and arroz caldo which we picked up from the Main Branch of the Goldilocks Bake Shop on West Broadway. Then we watched the Oscars as I wrote about last week
custom broom company at Granville
While Claudine was in conference, we went to Granville Island which we had missed (last visits were with Fides and Benjie in 2011 and also in 2009 when we were making our way back from Alaska). The island is the Queen of Vancouver destinations. Its Public Market has a tempting assortment of vendors, showcasing unique products like very special custom brooms and gastronomic delights like fine bread, special cheeses, and five varieties of native maple syrup.

Carol with the pigeons
We sampled the food court, a fascinating collection of international cuisine, outside of which is a small boardwalk reminiscent of Trafalgar Square where pigeons cavorted with passers-by.  Granville Island also has a trendy and expensive ‘yellow’ restaurant, art galleries and an Art School, and the Fraser Community Center. During spring, summer, and fall, there is always outdoor entertainment and, as a matter of fact, there was a guitarist singing for us, braving the cold!

Carol with Bolet and her daughter Yeye
After we satisfied ourselves with the scents and flavors of Granville Island, we picked up my friend Bolet and daughter Yeye from her home in Naples Way to enjoy another Filipino meal at T. Pinpin, the Vancouver branch of the restaurant on T. Pinpin Street in Manila’s Escolta district. Unfortunately, it was closed so we proceeded to GotoKing, another favorite Filipino food chain, but it was also closed! We finally had luck at Cucina Manila where we had kare-kare, binagoongan, pork sinigang, and bistek.

The last day of the convention, Claudine was free from 3:30 pm so we headed for New Town Bakery for their famous siopao that we both bought for ‘pasalubongs’. Next was Goldilocks for their famous ‘mamon’ and ‘polvoron’. Finally, we had dinner at Max’s Chicken. For the third day in a row, we had a Filipino meal! This time it was of classic Max’s fried chicken and pork sinigang. Claudine also brought home one whole fried chicken for her hubby Arnold who told her not to go home without one!

Carol and Claudine at Max's
unique cheeses from around the world at the Public Market!
Finally, we took Claudine to the airport for her 7:15 pm flight back to Calgary while we headed to the International Peace Arch again between the towns of Surrrey, BC and Blaine, Wa. It took us 30 minutes to get to the border and the wait time there was only 5-10 minutes compared to our way in that took 30 minutes. And that was our short visit to Vancouver…my lovely daughter Claudine, pregnant with my fifth grandchild, Granville Island that we have missed, and from three Filipino restaurants! It was our third trip together to the city and we are now good for the next two years perhaps before we miss it and find another good reason to go back.