About a year and a half ago, I visited Vancouver on a business trip.The mission? To see if the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) was a trade show worth attending for Nycote Laboratories (given our mission as manufacturers of anti-corrosive coatings to protect aviation vehicles). I didn’t get to see much of Vancouver, but I saw enough to know that I might love this city and part of Canada. So when Erin and I discussed a much needed getaway to help us cope with the last few months we’d endured, I recommended that we return to the Great White North, west coast edition.
DAY 1: Thursday, August 3 — We hit LAX about 12:25, after a long conversation with our Lyft driver, Jose (who had just purchased a pretty classy new Honda Civic Touring), about his daughters, their accomplishments, and their relationship. Certainly more than we had asked for… but enjoyable all the same — They sounded like a great, loving family. Jose had even left a management position after 17 years to drive Lyft and Uber so he could dedicate more time to his family.
We took Air Canada this time. We thought well of the airline following our flight home from Israel in 2013. Once again, they delivered on board. A kind, generous in-flight staff that was bilingual in English/French (of course), and generous with the softdrink givaways. The biggest highlight of the flight was that me (aisle) and Erin (middle) sat next to one Julie Benz (window), she of small and big screen fame. I knew Julie best from her role as “Rita,” Dexter Morgan’s girlfriend, then wife, on Showtime’s hit series “Dexter.” She has also appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s companion, Angel. More recently, she was the lead on the SiFi series “Defiance,” a federal agent on Hawaii Five-O, and is probably best known for asking Jack Nicholson how he’s so good at “writing women” in the film “As Good As it Gets.”
Anyway — I thought I recognized Julie at the gate, but wasn’t sure if she was the actress I thought she was or was actually one of the Daniel sisters. But as soon as we sat in 15D and 15E…I immediately asked, in a whisper, “are you Julie?!” She was more than happy to confess, and was such a generous person that Erin and I proceeded to talk with her and bond the entirety of the flight. We discussed her long career on screen, and our mutual love of soccer, and of course the disappointment of the 2016 election and its aftermath. Julie happens to be married to a leading executive with the soon to launch Los Angeles Football Club, an MLS franchise launching in 2018. In the English Premier League… she’s a Tottenham girl (I approve).
We landed in Vancouver and made it through Customs much easier and faster than we expected. This was a plus, as we had a bit of a trek on the Vancouver Skytrain to our hotel area (The Pinnacle at the Harbourfront) and reservations at “Tuc,” a top-rated restaurant in “Gastown,” a very chic and cool part of Vancouver just east of downtown. Well… we made it. And Tuc DELIVERED. The food is sourced solely from local farmers in the British Columbia area, and the restaurant runs a seasonal menu, which not only gaurantees you’re getting food when it tastes best, but is is better for the environment given that you aren’t buying products from other parts of the world that need shipping in. I enjoyed a pound of muscles with sausage, and Erin a medium-rare steak. Delicious.
We retired to the hotel, which would normally not only give us great views across the channel to North Vancouver, but also the mountains that surround the area. However, massive forest fires north of us in British Columbia have burned more than a million acres, and the air quality is a slightly roasted Los Angeles meets Mexico City at present. Still, nothing could stop our good times in the days to come!