June 2014 Archives

in eating and drinking |


Made a few more batches of pound cake. Experimented with new flavours and new flavour combinations, hope they work. I started labelling the new ones. Still about 3-4 batches to bake tomorrow.

in eating and drinking , how the day went |

Woke up at 5am, ugh, couldn’t go back to sleep so I read for a bit. Around 9-ish we headed out, got drive-thru mcdonalds breakfast then went to the cemetery. Costco, mall and grocery store followed. I bought some cute small ice cream makers, a towel and red velvet cheesecake to go.

poundcake02plain poundcake01choc

Made several batches of pound cakes to take to Portland with us. The type of ingredients are similar to what I use for fairy cakes and regular cake but the actual ingredients were different — different butter/margarine, a special cake flour and the eggs were beaten before adding. The proportions were a little different too, so for me it was learning a rew recipe. At the end I was able to make the batches all by myself. Made plain and chocolate flavoured ones.

in being healthy |


5.0k 39.52min 7.58min/km (12.49min/mi)
overall: 539/702
gender: 225/351
age gender: 20/35

This is my first race in over a year. After I booked my Chicago flight, I started looking into races during the time I’m in town and I found proud to run the day after I arrive. Everyone I talked to was unanimous in saying I was crazy to run a race the day after I arrive on a 15hr flight. But, well, I registered anyway. This was the 33rd annual PTR race, which is awfully impressive. There were a combination of regular racers and LGBT folks, the event was held during pride weekend. The organisers described the race as:

an annual 10K run & 5K run/walk focused on celebrating pride in a healthy way and raising funds to support the greater Chicago area LGBTQI&A community

I was very tired on Friday when I arrived and I was very, very tempted to DNS. I didn’t sleep very well either, but I woke up with the alarm at 5.15am so I thought since I was up, I’d go anyway.

I deliberately arrived early so I can find parking and do pack pick up. Parking was easy, I parked 5mins’ walk away at beautiful Montrose Harbor and I was one of the first to pick up my stuff. This meant I had loads of time before the official race start. I did a mile of warm up around the harbor, pier and flagpole area, went back to sit in my car, queued up for the portaloo, got water and generally hung around until it was time to start.

Official race start was 8.15am and they were prompt to the dot. I kept up a steady slow pace and didn’t significantly speed up when I got overtaken by what seemed to be the entire field. The course went north towards Foster and it was just like I was back on my home course again. Man, I have sooooo missed running along the lake. Sigh.

I got to the 1 mile marker just over 12mins and the 2 mile marker around 25mins. Mile 3 was tougher as it got hot, there was a point when I felt I was becoming overheated, a little dehydrated and my left knee started tingling. But I didn’t stop or walk, I kept trudging on. As the finish line came into sight I watched the clock tick close to 40mins but when I crossed it had gone past 40mins. Obviously official time I just beat 40. Considering I was jetlagged, not trained and still carrying an injury, I’m reasonably happy with the result. No, it’s a long way from my sub-30 PR, but it’ll be a while before I can hope to PR in any race.

I’m glad I made the effort to go. I have missed racing and especially racing in Chicago. They were giving away boxes of cereal bars so I got a bunch for Mum so it paid for itself.

in going places |

Woke up at 6am, showered, finished final packing. Out at 8am. I didn’t need to leave so early, since my flight wasn’t until noon, but I needed to fight with people going into work for taxis. As it was, it was 15mins before an empty one came by. Checked in already, so dropping off luggage and getting the boarding pass was straightforward. Interestingly, the queue for regular economy class was shorter than for members. I got the train to the airport and walked around duty free.

The flight was completely full. I had the aisle seat in the middle column and even the middle seat was occupied. Food was okay, better than the Vancouver flight. I had chicken and ice cream for lunch and fish and blueberry cheesecake for dinner. I don’t quite like CX’s new practice of serving the second meal in the middle of the flight vs 2hrs from landing. Means we had to wake up. Anyway, I didn’t get much sleep, just a little here and there. Watched Lego the Movie, US masterchef and found an interesting BBC drama, The Escape Artist. Only 2 eps, it was very good.

Landed at 1.45pm, so only 1.45hrs seemed to have elapsed since I got on the plane, when in reality it was a 15hr flight. We had to taxi for a long time because another plane was at our gate and we had to wait till it left. Surprisingly I was out of immigration very, very quickly — I was 3rd or 4th in line. I was at baggage reclaim at 2.30pm. But what time I saved at immigration was useless because the luggage took a whole hour to come out. There’d be a few bags on the belt, then nothing for 5mins. So frustrating.

So it was 3.30pm before I finally escaped. Checked email to see where Carleen was, called her and she picked me up at the carpark. Very easy. We went straight to the car rental office near her place so I could pick up my rental car for the next few days. We were at her house around 5pm so door to door it took 22hrs.

Dinner was steak at longhorn, a little overcooked but still very nice, I had about 2/3 and took the rest away.

For some reason I could not log into the wifi, even though I was able to last time I was at the house. Neither the mba nor the iphone worked, but the ipad was able to get a signal. Strange. Still, I wasn’t totally without internet. Too tired to do much, went to bed even though I wasn’t sleepy by then. I was tired, but my brain was on a different timezone. Early start tomorrow.

in eating and drinking |

Not a lot of time or opportunity to spend time with mm lately. She was in Paris for business trip and I’m flying tomorrow. We managed to grab dinner. Went to probably the loudest restaurant, ever. Even with shouting, I had to lip-read to understand her. We had squid, prawns, bitter melon and fried rice, can hear the background noise.

in being healthy |

How Long is a Marathon?

I’m woefully unprepared for the 5k race on Saturday. I keep saying to myself, it’s only 5k. We’ll see.

Saw this on rock’n’roll marathon’stwitter feed, an interesting infographic on how long is a marathon. Using their average finish time of 4:25hr, I learn that only 2,750 calories burned during the race. For some reason I thought it’s more—we always overestimate calories used during exercise. 2,750 calories is only around 2 burger-and-fries meals. But on the other hand, to get the same amount of calorie burn, we’d have to watch our favourite 30-min tv program 98 times. No favourite is worth sitting through 98 times.

Going to send this to the next person who says “5k marathon” — more useful than strangling them.

in going places |

Mashable had a list of world’s 10 best parks according to tripadvisor. Poor article, with no labels to the entries and I have to guess some of them. They had the usual suspects of Central Park, NY high line, Millenium Park and Stanley Park — together with an unknown park it makes 5 of the 10 in North America, not what I’d describe as representative of the world. No Hyde Park and not a single one from Asia, Africa or Australia.

ldn100greenpark hok323flowerclock

Nowadays when we travel, we look for markets, water and parks. It’s always great to visit a new park in a new city, or revisit a park in a visited city. Just sitting on a bench, watching the world go by, how wonderful and peaceful. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big urban park or a small neighbourhood park, parks are the best. Here’s Green Park in London and Tokachigawa Park in Hokkaido.

in eating and drinking , outside interests |

Task #79 of 101 in 1001 is to invest in a kickstarter type project. There are so many opportunities to take part in a crowdfunding project nowadays, from books, films, music to gadgets, food trucks and medical needs. I’ve been looking for something worthwhile and noticed this one that has received some press lately.

We take clean water so much for granted. There is a big water problem in some parts of the world, where the water is contaminated and full of bacteria.

The Drinkable Book was developed by Dr Theresa Dankovich together with a team of scientists and engineers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia and designed by typographer Brian Bartside for non-profit organization WATERisLIFE. Each book is about an inch thick with 20 pages. The paper is embedded with silver nanoparticles which kills microbes; each sheet can filter up to 100 litres of water.


The pAge technology has been tested in South Africa on a small scale. The team are crowdfunding to make 1000 drinkable books to test in Ghana and other parts of the developing world. Although each book only costs about 10cents to make, the goal is $20,000 to include scaling up, equipment and travel costs to field sites. Only a few more days to go, for a $50 donation, I get a square pAge and a water bottle, neat.

in eating and drinking |


Giant mangos are back in season, yummy. These are longer than a pencil, with a small pit and quite sweet. Freeze well too; I cut them up in large cubes, allow to freeze on a baking tray then store them in a ziploc bag.

Mum bought a couple of mini watermelons. These are the same size as the mangoes. No seeds and juicy. I ate half in one go.

in easily amused , techtalk |

gameipadslay01 gameipadhampstead01

Playing a couple of old games that have resurfaced in the app store. Slay was a game I used to play on mum’s PC in the 1990s, I think I have the 3.5” disk somewhere. It’s a simple strategy game where the aim is to move soldiers and occupy as many hexagons as possible. No bells-and-whistles graphics, just pixelated men with moving arms and hexagons in different shades of green. The trick is to link patches, put down towers, stop trees from spreading and make sure you have enough land to maintain different levels of soldiers. Oh, and attack other hexagons.

The graphics have stayed decidedly 1990s in the iphone/ipad version, which makes it kinda cute. The soldiers still yell “oh” when they are attacked, the attackers still have this evil laugh and dying soldiers scream as they turn into graves. I think I paid for the windows version, and I paid again for the app store version. It’s addictive nostalgia.

A game that predates Slay was Hampstead, a text game for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. I read that it’s been revived and available on the app store, free. So I downloaded it pronto. The idea is to move out of a filthy council house and get loadsamoney eventually moving into a mansion in Hampstead. Pure satire.

Love that these older games are coming back. Next on my list are the Sierra games like Police Quest, King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry, all have been ported to sarien’s mobile site. There’s a strategy game similar to Slay I used to play on my old macs, I can’t remember the name so I can’t search for it, sigh.

in challenges , photography is life |


This week’s photofriday challenge is simplicity. This was an accidental shot taken at the Chicago Air and Water show a few years ago. I was focused on capturing the US Navy’s Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets as they flew past in formation. I didn’t even see the seagull until I sorted the pic.

I like this because it’s also as if the seagull was flying straight towards the planes, but of course it was just the angle. Seems so much like a photoshopped image, but I know it wasn’t. And anyway, I had a nice day, even though it was hot and I spent hours sitting on the hard concrete of the jetty at north avenue beach.

If ever I make a poster of my work, this will be a good contender.

in eating and drinking |


We were having a sort of cruise loot dinner. Smoked salmon from Alaska and the brunost, or brown cheese, we got from Bergen. Brunost is made by boiling milk, cream, and whey slowly for several hours until the mixture solidifies. The heat gives it the distinctive brown colour and flavour. I agree with descriptions that say it’s like savoury fudge, or even a very savoury dulce de leche. The guardian said,

this is our version of Marmite: you either love brown cheese or you hate it

I can see why it’s an acquired taste. The colour is unexpected, and the deep brown of this block we got could be off-putting to some. Then there is the rich texture that sticks to the top of your mouth. And then the sweet and savoury tastes seem to flip and interchange. Apparently the Norwegians use it in stews, sauces, even with chocoate in cake, in addition to eating it on bread.

I’ve yet to meet a cheese I dislike; or an unusual food I hesitate to try. It’s definitly like marmite, and since I love marmite, I couldn’t get enough of the brunost.

in eating and drinking |

crepeblackpudding crepeicecream

This week mm is on a business trip to Paris. We were messaging after she arrived and checked into the hotel; I asked her what were her dinner plans. She said she asked the concierge where the nearest Léon mussels place is and apparently it’s a 10min walk. Normally it’s fine but she’s tired and jetlagged. So I said give me the hotel address and I’ll google. Ha! She’s right around the corner from Chartier, where i’ve wanted to take her for ages. Yes, it’s noisy and touristy; the waiters are short-tempered and you have to share tables, but that’s authenticiy, non? I don’t know if she finally made it, I also told her about aux lyonnais which is a bit more upmarket and ratatouille, both are nice. Anyway according to google maps there are a number of brasseries near her hotel, she’s at Montmartre after all.

Speaking of authenticity, sis and I went to la crêperie the other day. I had a black pudding crêpe which was really nice, if somewhere in between sweet and savoury. We shared an ice cream crêpe and polished off a whole bottle of house white. Of course black pudding crêpe isn’t french, it’s a good use of mixed ingredients though. This is a nice place, it’s run by french people and serves pretty decent food.

in going places |


Finished writing up the cruise trip and uploading pics.


  • day01: seattle — flight, arrival, hotel, night walk
  • day02: seattle — pike place market, space needle, chihuly garden and glass
  • day03: embarkation — seattle, cabin, sailaway
  • day04: at sea — exploring the ship, food, formal night
  • day05: juneau — mendenhall glacier, tracy’s king crab shack, whale watching
  • day06: skagway — white pass, emerald lake, carcross, skagway
  • day07: glacier bay — margerie, grand pacific, lamplugh glaciers
  • day08: ketchikan — river, creek street, king crab takeaway feast
  • day09: victoria — butchart gardens
  • day10: disembarkation — seattle outlet, vancouver night market
  • day11: vancouver — capilano suspension bridge park, granville island market and brewery
  • day12: vancouver — grouse mountain, lonsdale quay market
  • day13: vancouver — flight home

flickr sets:

in going places , photography is life |

I’m at parents’ to monitor the internet; they haven’t had internet or cable tv since the weekend. The repair guy came, changed the modem and within 10mins of him leaving, the connection dropped again. I reset and fingers crossed the connection has been stable so far. I’ll keep an eye on it for a couple of days.

With no wifi or tv, I was just using my iphone which okay for email, fb and reading. I had wanted to get started on the design stuff I said I’d finish this week, but without internet to download graphics the design is still in my head. I was able to get started on writing the cruise posts; even without access to flickr I can get the text sorted and then just add the pics afterwards.

It’s quite nice to partially unplug for a bit.


Anyway, I uploaded all 1,556 pics and videos when I was home last week. I basically discarded about half of the almost 3,000 I took. I can’t stop looking at the glacier pics, but there are others favourites too. This is Emerald Lake in the Yukon on Skagway day. The turquoise green colour apparently is light reflecting off maristone at the bottom of the lake.

sea147gumwall sea301chihuly

Other colourful things we saw were the gum wall at Seattle, the #2 most unsanitary attraction in the world (the blarney stone being #1). In contrast the macchia forest glass sculpture at chihuly garden & glass is a thing of absolute beauty.


We saw plenty of animals on the trip: whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, bears and bald eagles in the wilderness or semi-wild settings. Saw a couple of birds of prey demos too; hawks and falcons and owls were familiar and very impressive. I’d never seen, nor heard of turkey vultures before, they had one at Grouse Mountain. Pretty mean looking beast.


in eating and drinking |


Stopped by the supermarket to get some grapes and beer. I prefer bottled beer so the choices are normally:

  • what I really want: craft beer, ales from the UK — I don’t get these because they are expensive
  • what I never buy: san miguel, skol, budweiser or a brand name I’d never heard of that is incredible cheap
  • what I sometimes buy: tsingtao or yangjing — acceptable taste, usually comes with a buy 3 get one free offer which makes it difficult for me because I can’t carry 3 bottles
  • what I usually get: japanese beer — good middle ground, I like the taste and the price is somewhere between the cheap watery beer and the expensive craft beers

I had pabst blue ribbon in the never buy category, because I’ve never tried it. Today Kirin and Asahi were on bulk buy offers and I really only wanted one bottle, so I thought I’d give PBR a try. It was pretty okay, a bit bland but not as bad as bud or miller. I remember reading that PBR has become the beer of choice for hipsters because of its “coolness” factor. I just have to laugh. I thought card-carrying hipsters won’t be seen dead without an oddly named craft beer.

in eating and drinking , family first |

fdayludwig004salad fdayludwig032knuckle

We had father’s day lunch a day early to avoid the crowds. Went to a German restaurant that had recently moved a few doors down; I like the new place, it’s about the same size but brighter and more airy. Weekends they have a lunch buffet: seafood, salad, cold meats, soup, pork knuckle, roast beef, sausages, curry, vegetables, dessert. Plus a small beer is included. Everybody enjoyed it.

It was too hot to do anything else so we all went home afterwards. I went running or rather, slow plodding runwalking.

in habitat |


The fridge is not cooling down sufficiently again. This happened in March so I tried to fix it the way the technician did it when he came to repair it.

I unplugged the fridge, took out the freezer drawers, removed the door of the coil compartment and identified the problem. The evaporator coils of the freezer were frosted over so the cold air wasn’t making it up to the fridge compartment. I used a hairdryer to melt the frost, using a cloth to soak up the dripping water. It wasn’t a serious frost problem, so after10 minutes it was okay and the food hadn’t started to defrost yet.

It’s not the call-out fee saved—it’s pretty minimal; it’s timing. I’m thinking the earliest I could get a tech out would be monday, and by then my food would be spoiled. If it were any other piece of household appliance, I would have called someone. My first instinct is always to call someone, I’m by no means a good DIYer: I can change lightbulbs and drill a hole, that’s about it. Mum and I wallpapered and tiled the bathroom when I was young but that was mainly Mum. I don’t own any power tools and i certainly cannot change a tire.

Fingers crossed, that’s the end of my fridge troubles.

in sports active |

The World Cup is here. Football players are well-paid professionals nowadays, with the emphasis on well. But within living memory, before the money-grabbing premiere league, were times where words like P&L statement has no place on the pitch. Like the day Harry Redknapp brought a fan on to play for West Ham.

tl;dr version for Americans and others unfamiliar with or not interested in football: the coach of a well-loved but perpetually underperforming sports team plucked a loyal fan from the sidelines to play with the team when there were too many injuries in a match. And the fan scored a goal.

This is the stuff legends (and tear-jerker films) are made of.

When asked if I follow football and if I have a team, I usually say no, which is close to the truth. I like watching highlights but have trouble sitting through an entire match unless I’m really bored. If I really, really had to pick a team I’d say West Ham accompanied by a small, embarrassed smile. Not that I can name any of the Hammers players currently on the roster, mind. Two reasons: a) Sir Trevor Brooking; b) I went to school with Bobby Moore’s daughter; I guess both make some weird sort of sense.

in arts and media , going places , techtalk |

I’m working on sorting the cruise/Seattle/Vancouver trip pictures. From almost 3000 photos and videos I’m down to around 1600. Seattle set is uploaded and part of Juneau is uploaded. I have to wait till I get home to upload the rest because mum’s internet is too slow.

I made a few panoramas, not having the latest camera or iphone means I have to do it the old fashioned way in photoshop. I also wanted to make something interesting of margerie glacier calving. We were lucky the break was right in front of us when we were on deck, and with the camera in sports mode I was able to capture the action.

It’s easy enough to make an animated gif in imageready, although it’s been so long since I did it, I had to google the steps. With modern technology, everything that can be done with expensive software can be done with an app, usually free. So I made another one using gifmaker, the only downside is that gifmaker couldn’t handle large file sizes and I had to resize the images to 600x450. Otherwise, no difference.

But wait, there’s more. How about turning the animated gif into a video? This is what gfycat does. They converted my 11M gif to a 2M html5 video, or gfy (“jiffy”) and I can embed it.

Okay, this post has turned technical. Turning back to the glacier. We were on deck 14, port side, and everyone on the ship had their eyes and ears out for possible calving events. We were expecting a boom, but it was more like a crack followed by scratchy noises, we knew a calving was imminent. A cheer went up when it finally happened. So pleased we were there to see it.

in arts and media , eating and drinking |

I’m a FoL, aka a Friend of Laphroaig. Each bottle of Laphroaig includes a code that entitles the holder to a small 1 square foot plot of land in and around the distillery. I think I have 3 or 4 plots in my account. Anyway, Laphroaig is definitely a unique, acquired taste and I love it especially since I had a great time when I visited the distillery.

I’m still working through my bottle of PX cask, and now they have a few new releases. The Select is a NAS aged in a combination of Oloroso sherry butts, American white oak, hogsheads seasoned with Pedro Ximenez, quarter casks and first fill bourbon casks. Very reasonable at £35. Then there is the 2014 cask strength, batch 006 coming in at 58% and the 2014 Cairdeas currently available exclusively to FoL.

They also embarked on a global marketing campaign, asking the question:

how would you describe Laphroaig to someone who hasn’t tried it before?

They filmed people (actors? real people, I’m skeptical) tasting a brown liquid poured from an unlabelled green bottle. Comments like spicy, fishy, seagull’s armpits and “I think they smoked it too long” actually describe Laphroaig pretty accurately. The fun part is to see people trying to pronounce Laphroaig, snerk.

in my inner science geek |

The Coca-Cola Bio cooler from Leo Burnett Colombia on Vimeo

It’s beginning to get oppressively hot, over 30°C. I’ve escaped to parents’ place because theirs is more open, with an occasional breeze and I don’t want to blast the air-con all day at my flat.

Some places in the world get very, very hot. And at some of these places, there is no electricity. No air-conditioning, no fans, no fridges.

So Coca-Cola just invented a cooling device that doesn’t need electricity. Developed by advertising agency Leo Burnett in collaboration with the International Physics Center, it uses natural technology: plants grow at the top of the container, when watered excessively the water trickles down the soil and because of the high temperature, evaporates and mixes with other materials into an unnamed gas. Mirrors inside the contained space condense the gas back to liquid, triggering a cooling effect (remember the first law of thermodynamics).

The device is placed the village of Aipir in Columbia, where temperatures reach 45°C, there is no electricity and villagers have to trek 12 hours to get ice. They press a button and hey presto! chilled coke cans.

Cynics would of course say the village probably need to have ways to cool their staples like meat, vegetables or milk, moreso than a gimmicky (albeit colourful) box that dispenses a high sugar unhealthy drink. The technology hopefully can be used on more practical purposes but as adweek observed,

this is about bringing people a modest luxury that’s normally out of reach

Very often we forget this, that things we take for granted in the first world have a different meaning to people who are less privileged. Lots of debate about how unhealthy coke and other soft drinks are, but for these Columbian villagers, it’s something that brings a smile to their faces.

in how the day went |

We drove out to the science park since I read about it and there seems to be nice open green spaces. The science park offers resources and research facilities for tech companies. There was some sort of kids event going on so a lot of young children running around. The complex is big enough thankfully.

We had a late lunch and walked along the promenade. Whoever designed the promenade obviously did it in an air-conditioned office. No shade whatsoever, so we walked around 15mins then turned back.

Not a bad destination for a drive.

in how the day went |

Didn’t want to stay home all day with the aircon on, so went out to buy stuff that wasn’t on the normal everyday list but need to be hunted down. Diffuser for the bathroom, tea, chocolate for gifting. Still getting tired after dinner and falling asleep on the sofa. Have to sort trip photos and make poster and prep presentation, those will have to wait till monday.

in being healthy |


I got into Chicago marathon 2014 through the lottery. But I’m not running. Scheduling, fitness level and not psychologically prepared for it. I kinda knew it when I entered the lottery, but I went ahead because I knew I could defer.

So today I filled in the form to defer my entry to 2015. I can’t defer to 2016 so I have to make myself do it.

In other running news, running isn’t happening. I felt a strange twinge in my left leg on the plane and it’s now developed into this awful stabbing pain that originates from this point below and behind my knee. Tough spot to roller, sigh.

in how the day went |

cchipcookies002 bbmmldn005spag

Jetlag does weird things to my appetite. Most articles say loss of appetite is fairly common after a long flight. It’s true for me to a certain extent. We arrived at 7pm last night and by the time we got our luggage and sorted ourselves out it was around 8pm. My dad met us outside and my parents went to eat before they made their way home. I didn’t feel like eating at all, the day I arrive I usually don’t want to eat. What I wanted more was a shower and to brush my teeth.

I woke up at 4.30am, no surprise. I was hungry all day, at odd times. And I was craving things I usually don’t crave. I spent most of the morning snacking, mostly chocolate and biscuits. I’m not one of those people who go gaga over chocolate.

Met mm after work. Only had one glass of wine, and ordered spaghetti for dinner. And I hardly ever order pasta in restaurants. Didn’t feel like dessert either.

It’ll take a few days to get back to normal. I have fish, vegetarian ham and cabbage in the fridge, fairly easy to cook food.

in how the day went |

I spent most of the flight watching season 4 of Bake off.

We got on the plane at around 3pm on 03-June, flew for 12-ish hours. By the time we landed and I finally got home it was 10pm on 04-June.

I hate flying west across the international date line, I lose a day. I also hate coming home after flying, I have no appetite and the flat feels like it needs to be cleaned. Stupid weather, making everything moldy.

Grumble grumble grumble.

in going places |

More packing in the morning. Had breakfast at Tim Horton’s again, after looking around the area immediately next to the hotel and deciding it was the best option: blueberry cream cheese bagel. We then loaded the car and drove to Richmond in search of king crab legs. Even at the wet market they were nowhere to be found. Why doesn’t Vancouver have an awesome seafood market like Pike Place in Seattle?

Dropped mum off at departures, returned the car, then went to check in. Two bags each, no problem getting through. The nice lady at the counter even offered us the middle 3 seats—the flight wasn’t full so we had all 3 seats to ourselves and 2 aisle seats. Nice.

Lunch at the terminal after security. Mum opted for roast pork noodles and I looked at the burgers at A&W before going for the noodles too. I did get the root beer. At the duty free I deliberated on whether to buy a whisky but eventually I did get a bottle of Glen Breton, Canada’s only single malt whisky. I figured I probably won’t have the opportunity to get it in the forseeable future and it’s in the 101 whiskies book.


Our flight was slightly delayed, and so our trip has come to an end. Final pic of Vancouver, the rainbow crossing at Davie, I had to get my camera out quickly to snap this while the light was red.

in going places |

Our last full day in Vancouver and our trip. We wanted to buy some frozen king crab legs back for my dad, so we’ve been looking for supermarkets and such like. First stop today was Walmart at Norh Vancouver. Breakfast was Tim Horton’s again, I had a cream cheese bagel and a way too sweet iced green tea. We ended up spending a loooooong time at Walmart, and we came away with vitamins, cereal bars, marshmallow and…two new suitcases. Sigh.

yvr381cablecar yvr393peak

The real destination today was Grouse Mountain. We got the cable car up from the car park to the top, caught the end of the lumberjack show and proceeded to the chairlift to go up to the peak. The chairlift was long, took 12mins to get up. The views were great. It was a really sunny day but there was still blocks of ice up there. We didn’t go up the Eye of the Wind windmill, it was fine to go to the top of the chairlift.

yvr474owl yvr514beargrinder

After coming down we applied sunblock and saw the birds of prey demo, saw a grizzly bear playing in the water and caught the first part of the lumberjack show. All really interesting and great. Different from Capilano, I must admit I prefer Capilano because there was more nature and trails and things to see rather than shows that came on at preset times.

Got the cable car back down, we were lucky because for some reason they suspended the cable car right after us. May be mechanical issue, may be hot weather. We ate the whole pack of strawberries we bought at Walmart, it was perfect for the hot day.

We saw a leaflet at the hotel for lonsdale quay market so I drove over there with nothing more than what I remembered was on google maps and the small map on the leaflet. Managed fine. The carpark was free for the first 2hrs. The market was smaller than Granville Island and less crowded. One seafood stall, a few fruit & veg, arts & crafts and a few snacks and sandwiches.

yvr534greenbrew yvr545greenbrew

Totally unexpected, there was another craft beer brewery. This one was called green leaf brewery and their flight was 4 small glasses. I had sour weissbier, pale ale, magnificent bestard, sour apple. We were hungry so we ordered sandwiches which they called from another stall. The sandwiches took a long time, I had grilled cheese & bacon and mum had salmon.

Drove back to Walmart to get strawberries and swiffer liquid—I should have gotten more stuff as soon as mum decided to buy suitcases.

yvr573stanley yvr578stanley

The final destination was Stanley Park. At 1000 acres we knew we wanted to drive around and may be park somewhere. We ended up driving around and stopping at various points to take photos. After Stanley Park we drove to Chinatown, the old one. By that time it was early evening and everything was closed. Went back to the hotel, wasn’t hungry so I jsut finished the honey lager I bought yesterday at gib.

in going places |

Woke up at 8am, Mum was pooped so she was still asleep. I let her sleep while I caught up with online stuff. She woke up after 9am and we went off for breakfast at Tim Horton’s. Sausage egg muffin, hash brown and I had a chai tea while mum had a hot chocolate. The chocolate was way better than the tea.

Got the car keys from the hotel valet as well as a $3 off coupon from the front desk and we were off to capilano suspension bridge park, about half an hour’s drive from where we were. It’s one of the top attractions in Vancouver and it wasn’t hard to see why, though of course it meant it was awfully crowded.

yvr092capilano yvr108bridge

Next to the entrance were the totem poles. Can never get tired of seeing them, I should study them in more detail. Then it was the suspension bridge, which stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River. There were a lot of people on the bridge which made it swing quite a bit, especially at either end. I was too focused on taking pictures I had no time to be scared of heights. The way the foot traffic went, and with me holding the camera with my right hand, I couldn’t actually hold onto the rope so I ended up walking near the middle of the plank without support.

yvr131treetops yvr135treetops

On the other side of the river was the Treetops walk, a series of small suspension bridges attached to huge trees 110 feet above the ground. This was really great fun and I did not feel any vertigo at all.

The nature walk was back on ground level, a trail through the forest that passed the river, lots of trees, a bird of prey demo and with views of both the suspension bridge and the cliffwalk.

yvr201cliff yvr215cliff

The cliffwalk was back over the other side, so a return on the suspension bridge. I had envisioned the cliffwalk as like the one in the grand canyon but this one was less scary. The floor wasn’t glass but more solid wood. Really really odd that I did not feel vertigo like I normally would. May be it was because it wasn’t a straight drop down, the high treeline and treetop canopy gave an illusion that we weren’t as high up as we were.

We had a great time at the park. Bought souvenir magnets and I had gotten stamps at various points so they gave me a “I made it” certificate. Happy.

yvr248falsecreek yvr244aquabus
yvr269granmkt yvr277granmkt
yvr291granmktlunch yvr294granmktcrab

Went back to the hotel, parked the car and walked to Horton Street dock for the aquabus to Granville Island. The trip across false creek took 5mins. Now this is what we expected of a market! Fruit & veg, deli, bakery, seafood, arts & crafts. We had a late lunch there at the food stall area: halibut & chips, clam chowder, dungeness crab. The crab wasn’t as sweet as king crab, we still enjoyed it and were glad we got to try another type of crab.

yvr316granbrew yvr317granbrew yvr318granbrew

It as a nice sunny day with lots of visitors and street performers, I was glad we didn’t drive because parking looked horrendous. We wandered around the rest of the island and came across granville island brewery. Oh I was in heaven! A small craft beer brewery just when I needed a beer. They were only licenced for tasting so they offered a flight of 3x4oz tasting glasses. I tried the maple cream ale, IPA and potato stout. The stout was nothing like guinness or murphy’s or porter, it was still quite dark but wasn’t as bitter. Mum had a ginger ale.

We retraced our steps on the aquabus and walk to the hotel. Mum took a nap while I got online again. Had a late 8pm dinner at one of our favourite places that we spotted yesterday. Alright, we went all the way to Vancouver to go to Nando’s but it is a favourite. We ordered double leg, which isn’t on the UK menu, 5 wings and garlic bread. Yummy yummy yummy, and much needed after walking the whole day.


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