Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Islands and Night Markets

Even when your friends tell you that they're coming, it's still a surprise how fast the time goes when once you're together. So what does one do when they arrive? Well, as much one can handle. Here are the shopping, eating, and other shenanigans we've been through (and hopefully there is more to come).

Wondering where one would hang the top sign...

July 18, 2015

Aina and I first met in Mandarin class, roughly about three years ago. Ever since, she has made the effort to come and visit all of her favourite places in Vancouver. She is also friends with Ryan, who tole me the news about her visit.

The last time I saw her was two years ago, and a lot has happened to her. For one, she's been travelling all over the place, including the Philippines. So when she told me that she wanted Filipino food, I was totally down for that idea.

I brought her to Kumare, one of my family's favourite restaurants. She was telling me during lunch how she really enjoyed the cuisine of the Philippines and how delicious it was. The only dish she wanted was the squid, but unfortunately, it was sold out. Instead, I had to pick the dishes. This was my selection:

Barbecue, rice, and pork skin: all you need

Pose with the food

And then my turn

It may seem like a small amount, but it filled us both very quick. It's always fantastic, you can never really go wrong when sauces and oils complements everything oh so well. After lunch, we went to Granville Island via public transit (because parking is impossible over there). While waiting for the bus, Aina decided to take a photo of my 'ponytail:'

She says it's cute

Just waiting for the bus, no big deal

On the bus (it's good lighting!)

Once we have arrived, we noticed that it was rather cold - oh well, let's continue our explorations. I think it's impossible to get tired of Granville Island, there is always something that captures your attention, despite that it has been there for a long time. But being the inner tourist in your own city, you have to take a picture by the sign:

Look at its glory

Aligned photos are overrated

But, just to make sure...

The last time we went to the kid's market, Aina and I had a lot of fun there with Ryan. He was suppose to meet us, but he was still in bed when we were there -_-" But into the kid's market, we went, looking at all of the niftiness that is provided in this place.

From kites to puppets and costume stores, it's a world of wonderment enclosed in this grand area. The one store we enjoyed was actually a mix between souvenirs, collecting cards, and these bad boys:

The cutest polar bear there could be


The one thing I noticed about these hats was that the paws looked the same on all of them... Maybe all bears have the same paw? But anyway, we had to take a photo together, but Aina switched her hat for an even cuter one:

White Bear, Brown Bear

We ended up visiting the store, as she was looking for a momentum for her boyfriend (he has the same name as my middle name!) She purchased one of those personalized keychains - you know, the ones with common names, the fortunate few who get their names mass produced. While purchasing, I noticed something that was nostalgic, yet updated:

Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon galore

Never knew how to play these games, only collected them for the shiny cards. It amazes me how they manage to think of new characters in these games, and still grabs the attention of many young adolescents - ah, the glory days.

Looking around, I encountered this little book, and I must say, some of the twisters are really difficult:

This was the book

Can you say any of the following?

We then went to the market, where all of the food is located! Walking along the way, we saw a sign that could only appear in Granville Island. Nonetheless, it's an important sign:

Be careful of the ducks

Did I accomplish the duck face?

One particular store that caught Aina's attention was a glass making store, where the welder was making an orb before our eyes, tempting Aina to purchase a cup with coloured speckles of glass. She couldn't commit to the disproportionate cup, but it was fascinating to visit inside. It's those stores that you never think of going in, only to be reeled in by something you've never noticed.

Onto the food: we didn't buy anything other than lemonade (thanks Aina!), but we still looked around and saw all of the wonderment. There is a bakery that always displays such wonderful baked goods, it's quite aesthetic:

Pride cakes

Blueberry tarts

So good, I'm drooling over my keyboard x_x Then we headed outside to consume all of the outdoors and scenery of the water. Aina was amazed by the seagulls all over the place, particularly this one, who she claims to be the king of the seagulls:

Ordering loyal subjects to do

Now in a different filter

Lately, I've seen seagulls with red around their beak, and it makes me wonder what they eat - is it berries or something? And how do they even find these foods if it's not in the trash? After looking at the birds, we looked at the view:

Look at that beauty

Just us in sight, no other people in the background

That was about it for Granville Island, a little bit of joy kept inside such little space. Next, Aina wanted to go shopping in downtown, looking for the shops not available in Japan. When we got there, we saw that Granville Street was having a festival of some sort. Not really understanding what was happening, we saw these oil bins painted by countries all over the world:

They're fantastic

Look at the variety

Typical market stuff like food and little trinkets were along the street, but what caught my attention were these mechanical ponies. Basically, you jump on them, and then they proceed to move along - it amused me a lot:

Ride 'em cowboy

Then Aina and I took photos by our favourite painted bins. I decided to pose in this position, with a fan that Aina got me from Japan. The design print are goldfish, and it makes the photo:

Fanning like there's no tomorrow

One store that we went to was Urban Outfitters, where Aina was looking for a specific print on a shirt. What I didn't know that she was looking for a men's shirt, with a rather amusing print (it was a parody of a painting). While looking for her size, I couldn't stop looking at all of the quirky items they sell in the store. The one wall that I liked contained a banana water bottle:

It's truly bizarre, and I want it

The store didn't have the item, and we had to go to another location not too far away. Next sore was Brandy Melville, a shop I'm not familiar about. It's essentially California-inspired clothing, somewhat similar to Hollister, but muted tones. In addition to clothes, they sell accessories, and wall boards with prints. I was amazed how personalized they can be, having a UBC and SFU wall board in their collection. I think this had to be my favourite one:

Treat them kindly

From downtown, we headed into Kitsilano, where the other Urban Behaviour is located. It's a smaller shop, but less crowded compared to downtown. It looks like a house, with various levels of clothing scattered all over the place. The cashier had awesome purple hair, something I would like to try one day, but probably will not... Sad face.

Aina then had to use the washroom, entering Parallel 49th Coffee shop. They are known for their doughnuts, but the only thing that caught my attention was this awesome fan:

Double the revolutions

Things like these make me want to create new twists on classic house appliances. That was pretty much the day, leaving the night available. We decided to meet up with Ryan and Alex at the night market. I did not have cash on me (majority of the stands only accept cash), so Aina met up with them earlier, whereas I went to the bank to withdraw myself some money.

When I got there, they were already at the front, just waiting for me. I had to run around the line-up, which went on for quite a distance, but luckily, there was a break between the barriers, meaning I didn't have to run as long (phew).

Like most people, the first thing we went to was the food, which was severely crowded, but full of incredible smells more than your nose could handle. We looked at the whole place, not sure of what to get. After looking at everything, Alex and Ryan decided to get Korean tacos, Aina got herself some dim sum, and I ventured to try this:

Large Fried Chicken: the size of your face

Literally the size of your face!

I went with the spicy option, not knowing how salty it left my mouth afterwards. It was really hot, but highly satisfying. I thought it would be one chicken breast, but towards the end of finishing it, there were some bones to pick out - still pretty decent for $9.00. Once we got our food, we decided to capture this moment:

From left: Alex, Aina, Ryan, and myself

This is actually the first time all of us hung out with each other as a quartet, and that's surprising. Either it's them together (most of the time in Japan), or it's us, minus Alex.

After the food, Aina had to get the lemonade that everyone obsesses about. I don't know what they put in it, but it's always crowded, and that boggles my mind (like the Rotato). Alex got himself an ice-cream that was four times the amount than a regular cone. He almost dropped it, but he managed to catch the ice cream before it fell to the ground - thank heavens! Around the area where they were selling it, you could see maybe two or three of them that all have fallen to the ground... Those poor ice cream purchasers.

And because one photo isn't enough, we took one more photo, but in a different scene:

Lit-up cherry blossoms, with a skyline just as beautiful

My time with them was cut short, as I had promised my cousin Anthony that I would attend his birthday party in the night. I'll admit that I was tired, but I still went for it. So I said bye to Aina, Alex, and Ryan, departing for another skytrain ride.

When I got to the club, it was then that I realized that I forgot one thing. To clarify, I have two wallets that I carry, because one can't all of it. I only took one of them, thinking that's all I need - oh how dumb of me. Once I got to the place, I discovered the one thing keeping me away from the club: my I.D. I swear, I was so close to getting in, but you can't enter unless you have a photo I.D.

So I called Shellby, wondering where she was, and she came by and keep me company. After a while, she went inside with her friend to get Anthony so I could say hi before departing. Not sure if Anthony was buzzed or not, but he tried to convince the bodyguard to let me in - no dice. Perhaps next birthday, I'll remember to bring my photo I.D. To commemorate this moment, I got myself frozen yogurt across the street:

Mmm, coconut

Pretty tired at this point, but full of travelling and sight-seeing, spending time with both friends and (momentarily) family.

July 20, 2015

We skipped the next day because Aina wasn't feeling well. I was only available in the morning, so Aina paid a visit to meet my baby. She was ecstatic to meet him, although he was a little aggressive when approaching new people. We pet him, took photos, including this glamour shot:

He's so happy

Then we headed into Steveston, enjoying the view with some fish and chips. Considering the majority of places are fish and chips, Aina picked one (I don't know how, but she did). I think we both ordered the same fish (cod!) but first, another photo:

Just enjoying the sun and each other's company

Here is our food - absolutely delicious

Can't believe she was here for a short time, and all of the things she's done within two years. With boyfriend and work keeping her busy, I appreciate that she got time to see all of us. Hopefully I'll be the one visiting her in Japan - and so the savings begin... We may not remember all of our Mandarin, but we do remember all of the times we've had (perhaps another clubbing experience next visit?)

We may look different, but we're still the same

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