Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thxgiving Wkend - Vancouver Part III

Goal today was to get back to around 1ish, so that the fellow Californians can get back home at a decent time. Waking up at 10ish, we got to the border and then as a final Vancouver treat, we ended up waiting at the border for 3 hours! Not quite sure why the line wasn't moving, but because of it, CS Buddy had the idea that we should activate our visas, so off we tried...

(at the office)
CS Buddy: Hi, we came to activate our visas. We walked from our cars to here ...
Officer: Wait, what... where's your car?
Us: Oh outside in the line... (Officer looks confused) Oh... we have friends in the car.
...At this point, I sort of lost track of what the officer was saying, cuz it felt like dejavu from the last time I went to the border with Anime Buddy... but luckily, this time around, it went alot better :) (even though the steps was alot more unorthodox)...

What this meant though was that since we crossed the border, we couldn't go back to the car (as expected), so with the recommendation of the officer, we walked off the highway and waited for BJ and HHH at the local Subway. I guess walking off the highway is pretty common, because the border people didn't phase at all when we asked where we can go, and even suggested that we wait at the Subway. They must go through some pretty weird stuff...

Arriving back to at 3ish, dropped off the Californians at the airport, where they took their rental car and started their trek back to SF... 13 hours later at 6am.. they arrived... lol...

Next time... to avoid all the lineups, will probably drive to Vanc and return from it at wee hours in the night...

All in all, pretty eventful weekend. Some new experiences and some fun times!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thxgiving Wkend - Vancouver Part II

After a late night, woke up regular time and then drove an hour to get to some 'lil dragon dumplings'. Seems like any road you go, you'd run into traffic here but I have learned the trick! Always drive on the left lane, and use the right lane as the passing lane.

After Shanghai dumplings, went to Aberdeen Mall... the pmall in Vanc. This mall was very nice I thought. Lots of space and open areas, reminded of the malls where TVBs are filmed in!

After that, off we went to the Capilino bridge. A suspension bridge that we weren't suppose to jump on or try to cause it to swing... but we did :). Surprisingly, we did not get yelled at... probably because we were the only ones on the bridge. We got there at 4:30pm, and the sun had set. Combined with the rain, the visibility wasn't too good, but the sound of the water flowing underneath us and the breeze was still very refreshing. There were also xmas lights set up for the treehouse portion of the Capilino bridge... I think it would be nice to see it on a non rainy night with these lights on.

For dinner, we went to Guu. So much I have heard of this place. And it did not disappoint. Almost every dish we ordered were different from what I've had before, and all the food tasted great! Even the beef liver sashimi!

After dinner, went back to the hotel and predrank, then headed downtown to see the Vanc nightlife. One word summarizes it: LOOOONG WAITS!. Seems like not only is Camie Road prone to long waits, but so are the lines into clubs here. 2 hours later, we moved maybe 2 meters... By 12ish we all gave up and went down the street. Ended up at a dive bar, costed $9 to get in, not to mention coat check... With this night of events, I was originally going to stick to my 3 drink limit... but as CS Buddy puts it so neatly 'come on, you are gonna stick to that even after all this?'. And so for one night, the ban was lifted :).

McDs after all this exercise, and with that, we called it a night. Ahh.... Vanc, so fun!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thxgiving Wkend - Vancouver Part I

After a brief visit to the first Starbucks and a drive by of the mini CN Tower, we quickly grabbed lunch and off we went towards Vanc!

Getting to Vanc was a pretty smooth ride... not much traffic... but once we got into Vanc...oh man. Soooo much traffic. Took an hour to get from the outskirts of Vanc to the hotel.

After a few Guu drivebys - and realizing the lines were horrendously long, we went to the backup plan --> AYCE Japanese hot pot! On rhe way though, typical of Vanc, we were stuck in traffic... this Camie Road we were on was pretty ridiculous. There was a merge right, followed by an immediate merge left... not to mention very many do not turn left signs. On this road, it took us 40 minutes to move 50m. We find out later that this road is being fixed up for the Olympics... but seriously, 40 minutes for 50m!?!? They might as well have closed the entire road down...

Anyway, reaching AYCE hotpot, we spent the next 2 hrs devouring food. Then at the strike of midnight, we started heading out to K! The first place we tried had no liquor license, so we went down the street and found one that had. This place must have thought the 4 of us were crazy... Here we were, at 1am in the morning, going to a karaoke when the place shuts down at 2am.... heh heh heh. Still doesn't explain why our last 3 beers required us to pay the bill before they serve us. But nevertheless, 9 beers, 2 bottles of sake, 1 round of shot and a whole lot of food later, I finally had my K-fit after 4 months :).

As with all vacations, the night does not end up at measly 2:30am. So on we went towards the casino, where I stepped into a poker room (and watched). One guy got a straight flush, and it seems that when this happens, the casino gives the person a gift. Pretty amazed to see that nevertheless. The most interesting and perhaps perplexing part was the table that HHH played beside someone who seemed like a homeless dude. If you are homeless, why are you playing at a casino and laying $25 bets... hrm... (But ya, the consensus after analyzing the fact was he was indeed a homeless dude). The funniest part was when the dude gave tips on how to play the game to HHH.

At about 5am-ish, we were all exhausted and decided to call it a night. There was a brief mention of going for food, but this was vocally vetoed because any second one of us were probably gonna pass out...

Back to hotel at 6am... Tourist day #1 complete!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thxgiving Wkend - Turducken Night

Waking up in the afternoon after a night at the Kirkland bar, I made my lunch and bummed around until it was time to pick up HHH and BJ from the airport to kick off the Thxgiving Wkend!

First off was the Turducken Thxgiving meal. A duck wrapped inside a chicken wrapped inside a turkey -- this conglomerate of meat sounded good no matter how I looked at it. And it did not disappoint! There was lots of food at the dinner, and lots of different wines to try out. Very nice meal overall.

Played dice and wine again... and drank 'normal' portions this time after losing... no more little sips here and there, but real portions... ahhh... how I miss it. Of course the game didn't last long because we weren't sipping, but it was so much more fun in my opinion.

A few more hours in, the SF visitors were tired and drunk from the flight and booze...and it was time to head home. After a quick midnight snack fix, the SF visitors called a night. As I come out of the shower, I find BJ, with remote in hand, passed out on the air mattress -- a mattress he thought was leaking... only to find that we had forgotten to plug the hole so as he slept, all the air went

Tomolo.. onwards to Vancouver!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Space Needle and Oysters... Mmmmm...

After a 4am-ish of dice cup playing at Dice Fanatic's place where we polished off 13 bottles of coolers and 1/3 of a Black Label between 4 people, today was a more relaxing day of going up to the Space Needle for a classy free meal!

Was very surprised with the food... they had a seafood bar with AYCE oysters and what not!!! It seems they weren't too clean though... because I visited the porcelain God twice this night after I got home... I guess everything comes at a price! hahaha

The view at Space Needle was not too too great this time around, but in the summer, I think I will go up again with my big lens and take some pictures :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Whirly Ball and Red Lobster

Tried out this thing called 'whirly ball' today. In a nutshell, it's lacrosse on bumper cars, with nets like basketball nets. It was pretty fun. I have sooo many wide open shots to score and missed by a foot. Pretty sad if you think about it. I think this would be a special occasion activity though... too much of this would get pretty boring fast. That and also at the end, my back was pretty sore from all the shaking from the bumper cars.

After that, went to Red Lobster for dinner. It's been quite awhile since I last visited one (... about 10 yrs was it?)... In my memory, I had remembered it as a high class Swiss Chalet... but turns out it is just a regular Swiss Chalet style restaurant. Service wasn't as great as I expected it to be. They also broke my 'no ID' streak at 2 months. The meal I had was their all you can eat shrimp... Wasn't too too bad. Just felt very full after with all the cheese and what not. In hindsight, maybe I should have ordered the lobster instead...

Pretty eventful day...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween in San Fran - Part III - Oyster Farm

It had been rainy all weekend in the sunny land of California... Like the locals say, I must have brought the rain down here with me... Turns out they may be on to something, because it actually stopped raining today - the day that I am flying back out.

With no rain though, this meant that the half-baked plan (for lack of a better word) of a day out to the Oyster Farm is possible! Deciding for sure that we were going when we woke up (post 11ish), we grabbed food at a Chinese dim sum restaurant (it was a pretty decent one... though it was pretty $$$$ - $3 for the 'siu dim'), grabbed lil Andrew from his morning champagne drinking with his old boss, and by 3pm+ started driving towards oyster farm!

Arriving at 5:15pm, the sun was starting to set. We found the oyster farm, to find out that we had to leave the area by 5:45pm. But having drove almost 2 hrs to get here, we decided to pick up $50 oysters, and start shucking and eating away.

After this event, I am happy to say that my shucking skills have dramatically improved. Along with HHH, we managed to shuck all 50 oysters, and between the 4 of us, ate all of it... in half an hour! It was slightly rushed, but it was sooo much fun. Shuck, eat, grill, drink... all the while being outdoors by a picnic table overlooking the bay. In a way, being rushed added to the excitement... We had to make sure we shucked everything (cuz otherwise it'd be a waste), and when it got dark, we turned on the headlights from the car so that we can continue shucking. Great teamwork all around - some worked the grill, some shucked, all ate, all cleaned!

Definitely will go earlier next time though if doing it again - so can fully enjoy the scenary and the oysters :). All in all, shucking oysters, drinking wine... sooo fun!

So this whole weekend, did not get carded a single time for alcohol! Guess I do look older ever since my birthday... I wonder what it is that makes ppl card or not card... looks? what you order? how u dress? how ur eyes make contact when you look at them? .. hrm...

Was slightly rushed getting to the airport (since w/ my check-in luggage I should have gone there a bit earlier...)... but good thing everything worked out and allll was good! Got back home safe and sound, with my checked in luggage all intact.

So ends the weekend in the Bay Area! Fun times indeed! Many thx to my tour guides and hosts!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween in San Fran - Part II - Objectives Met!

Objective #1 - Craving for Chinese Food
Woke up at a decent time (11ish), and then got ready for some Shanghai food! Was expecting 'lil dragon dumplings', but when we got there, realized they didn't have it :(. Luckily, they had this other bun that had soup in it, and that one tasted really good. So all in all, it was a pretty good lunch indeed! Cali weekend objective #1 - check!

Objective #2 - The fabled black label
I blogged about this 2 years ago. In the Bay Area, it was possible to grab a bottle of black label for $25. In the last few years, I have asked various emissaries to bring back this treasure of the Bay Area, but no one could find it. Today was different though, because BJ the local tells me that it has once again resurfaced! So after lunch, it was time...

While BJ and HHH went for a haircut, into the store I went. Searching for 10 minutes, I wasn't able to find it. As I head towards the exit, about to give up, there it was!!! woohoo!

Black Label gift set - just like how I remembered it for $25 a pop. So swiftly I bought two.. heh heh heh. Also picked up a Remy along the way... they were doing promo and were giving out dice cups!!! It was just too hard to resist... ohh.. I love Cali!

Walking around the mall, with my 2 bags of booze, people thought I was buying gifts for an alcoholic! lol...

Objective #3 - Desert House
Mmm... Wasn't really expecting this to happen. But driving around, saw a desert house, so went in and enjoyed a desert! Soooo good!

Objective #4 - Chicken and Beer
Was here 2 years ago around the same time... and saw my picture on the wall at the store! Wow, the memories...

After this, went back and dozed off for a few hours, then got dressed and went to a house party. Met some pretty interesting ppl.. One girl had 3 jobs which I thought was pretty impressive. Her goals were pretty aggressive, but its an interesting idea I think - to be able to retire at an early age, and be able to live out my life however I want. Pretty nifty idea. Lots of work though!

After the house party, tried to go for chinese food but it looks like with daylight savings time, places close by 3am, so we went to Denny's instead and had food there. Food at night is soooo good! sweet and fun life is!