Day 2: Friday, August 4 — How nice was it for me to wake up with Erin in Vancouver, ask her what time it was, and for her to inform me it was after 8:00AM?! …Fantastic! Erin hasn’t woken past probably 6:30AM in 12 years. Be it her commitment to her jobs, propensity to wake early, and that little boxer of ours, Orchid, demanding her time often as early as 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning, and trust me — sleeping in until just after 8:00 is big deal. Check that slept-in “vacation necessity” box.
We determined our day would center on a trip to Stanley Park, a large, very green oasis northwest of downtown (and yes, hockey fans, it’s named after the same Lord Stanley!) Inside Stanley Park, there is wonderful history of First Nations totem poles, a beautiful coastal walk and bike trail, and even a recognized aquarium on the peninsula. We chose to rent bikes and ride around and through the island, which made for not only a great workout, but also a faster way to see most of what Stanley Park had to offer.
Admittedly, with more time left than we had expected visiting this lush hot spot, we were ready for a nap — and I don’t nap! But after returning and napping at the hotel, we still had some late afternoon time remaining before our anticipated trip to “Yaletown” for dinner. Only… an afternoon walk took us a different direction.
The previous evening, we had enjoyed farm-to-table favorite Tuc restaurant in Gastown. We thought that with a little extra time, we could walk back into Gastown and maybe do a little shopping, seeing it finally by daylight. Still with Yaletown in mind, we nevertheless happened upon a nice pub/restaurant, “Lamplighter Public House,” where we simply stopped to read the menu. A man walked up to us and asked what we were looking for. We described that we had a taste for seafood that night, and that we were probably headed to Yaletown. He recommended Rodney’s Oyster House, a bit further east in Gastown. We thanked him and introduced ourselves. He introduced himself as the sous chef at Lamplighter… and they HAD seafood! (RECORD SCRATCH!) … Only in Canada do you see that kind of kindness from a restauranteur. He didn’t talk us into the Lamplighter, but pointed us down the road to another restaurant that he respected for seafood he thought we would enjoy. Wow!
Rodney’s Oyster House was a huge hit. Not only was the seafood fantastic, but the staff was outgoing, sociable good fun. After a short wait, we gladly accepted “first available” seats at the bar, where oysters were being cut and dressed by Cory, and various stews overseen by Nick. Meanwhile, a guy named Tim (wearing a Texas Rangers hat which you KNOW I challenged him on… only wears it because his name is Tim. Not kidding) staffed drink orders. These guys were hearty Canadian men. Cory, a light-skinned ginger, proudly admitted to being every bit the Irishman of his appearance. In fact, with his parted, slicked back locks, and groomed but hearty red beard, he would be what Game of Thrones fans would describe as a “hipster Tormund.” Though the Lamplighter’s sous chef did NOT ask me to “tell Rodney’s I sent you,” I certainly did. His magnanimous and humble recommendation, at his own expense, deserved to be recognized… and I figured the Rodney’s crew would pay him back in kind.
We walked back to our hotel through Gastown, where I scored a couple of choice souvenir T-shirts in the First Nations / Native Traditions artistic mold indicative of totem drawings. Many of you Angelenos may even see me in this casual wear at some point (lucky you!). All in all — a VERY enjoyable Friday!