Melle and Andrew go to BC, Sept. 29 – Oct. 8, 2008

The trip photo set.

September 29th

I have dropped off and picked people up from the Region of Waterloo International Airport, but I’ve never flown out of it myself until now. (Heh, it still amuses me for the old Waterloo-Wellington airport to be all “international”.) I like it. Much shorter drive than to Toronto, can’t really get lost trying to find the washrooms, and everyone is casual and friendly.

I apparently had worse senility when packing for BC than usual, and basically just moved almost everything from my purse to the tote I was taking on the trip. And so I didn’t put stuff in plastic bags, or remove my lighter or my Swiss Army Knife, etc. Brilliant. I ended up just relinquishing the knife, though they let me keep the rest of the stuff.

We had the option of putting the knife in Andrew’s backpack, going back out past security, checking it, then coming through again, but that would have been a PITA for an old knife. And so I flew unable to defend myself against… I dunno… peanut butter?

Paula’s drive home from dropping us off sucked — she witnessed a car coming towards her hit a deer. Awful stuff, but at least she (and, I think, the people in the other car) weren’t hurt. The deer… not so much.

Flight was uneventful, and I have to say I am a fan of watching seat-back Mythbusters. I had big books, but Jamie and Adam make the time pass in the most delightful ways. In another instance of poor planning, I didn’t really have dinner, and so tried to keep up the blood sugar with snacks we’d brought and the meagre in-flight offerings. (The sandwiches and such for sale didn’t entice.)

We had a quick dinner at the Calgary airport, which was surprisingly decent, and including my first tasty beer of the trip (Palomino… something?) Layover was short, and we passed it sipping lattes and winding the carousel installation keys. (There are two, with planes on them, and they look like miniature carnival rides, though they can’t hold people or anything. You wind these big keys on the base and the planes fly around in circles. Very cute.)

The flight to Vancouver from Calgary was a quick one, and we got in around 10pm local time (1am body clock time). Was pretty tired by then, so wasn’t real happy that our bags were among the last off the plane. We had to wait by the oversized baggage drop-off with members/roadies of Hedley, who had way more crap than we did.

The cab driver who took us to the hotel was certainly chatty, though not terribly well-informed. Like he wanted to talk US politics, but couldn’t remember John McCain’s name. Riiiight.

September 30th

Stanley Park -- Lost Lagoon, VancouverWe got up around 7am local time (10 by the body clock). One of those nights where we didn’t sleep terribly well, but weren’t gonna get any more shut-eye after a certain point. Plus, there was a whole city out there to explore!

Breakfast was included at the hotel, and was decent, though carb-tastic, as they tend to be. There was a make-your-own-waffles station, which I enjoyed. (Waffles were a very common breakfast presence out west.)

After fueling up, we headed out to the Aquarium, which we managed to find… eventually, after a considerable hike through residential Vancouver, and a thoroughly meandering wander through Stanley Park. The Aquarium is pretty cool, though not huge. The baby beluga, sea otters, and jellyfish were highlights.

The amount of seafood on offer at the cafe(teria) was… a bit odd, though all sustainable, etc., and quite tasty. We also took one of the biodegradable, made-of-cornstarch knives with us so Andrew could test it out in his composter. πŸ™‚

We attended the beluga, dolphin, and sea otter presentations. (The baby beluga is female, not named yet, and was born the day before my birthday. The sea otters are around 100lbs, and need 5000 calories of seafood a day.) The sea lions started getting rather entertainingly rowdy around 5pm. Pretty clearly getting impatient for dinner time.

Vancouver Aquarium - jellyfishWe got to chat with the herpetologist in the tropical exhibit. The green anacondas weren’t in the habitat in the morning, as they’d locked them in one enclosure and drained the tank to clean molted skin and whatnot out of the drain. Apparently it’s not safe to go in there when they’re loose. The female is particularly aggressive. She’s captive-bred, about 12 years old, and 18 feet long. The male is wild-caught, about 11 years old, and 11 feet long. I did get some pictures of the male later in the afternoon.

After the Aquarium we had a lovely wander back into the city along the water and then down Robson, where we hunted down good coffee. Dinner was at Vij’s, which was as delicious as legend led us to believe. (Gotta pick up the cookbook…) True to form, we sat around out front for half an hour or so as other patrons arrived and loitered as well. By the time they opened the doors at 5:30, there were people enough to fill all but two or three tables. Really like the offerings of chai and assorted snacks to try. (I’m sure the assorted snacks and such were also appreciated by the diners waiting out front for the second seating.)

We shared a khoa appetizer and samosas, then Andrew had the pork tenderloin and I had grilled chicken. Both were in very delicious curry format. Dessert was a second round of chai and a selection of artisan chocolates made with garam masala. Quite tasty.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel, crossing the Granville Bridge (a bit of a hike to help us feel less stuffed…), and then a relatively early bed time, since we’d walked plenty of kilometres that day.

October 1st

After another round of delicious breakfast waffles (and sleeping better), we headed to the rental place to pick up the car. Except there was confusion and miscalculation, and we ended up going on a rather longer jaunt than expected. (Enterprise has a drop-off location near where our hotel was, but the place we had to go to pick the car up was across town…) Ahh well, got to see some more of the city.

Our rental ended up being smaller than implied, and would come to be known as Ernie the Accent. Great in the city, teeny, tiny turning radius… not exactly butch going uphill in the mountains… And so, after paying for a ridiculous number of additional charges, off we headed for the US border… where we got pulled over (of course).

This time around I got asked if this was my natural hair colour (not quite), if I’ve ever been in trouble with the law (no), and if there’d ever been a protection order registered against me (I don’t even know what that is). Clearly there’s a Melanie Baker out there who’s far badder of ass than I am.

Couldn’t help but notice that most of the other people selected for secondary screening along with us were of various shades of brown. (As were — ironically? — most of the Homeland Security staff.) We did find out from the guy reviewing my identity that the reason my name is flagged is because the RCMP has a protection order registered against “me”. So I guess it was registered by an American? I dunno.

Anyway, he also said that getting a NEXUS card won’t matter as long as that’s on the books. Hrm. I actually have the card now, and I suspect it might help, since as long as the kiosks are working at the airport I don’t need to hand my passport to anyone. Crossing the border by car will continue to be a PITA, though, unless everyone in the car has NEXUS clearance, and then we can use the NEXUS lane. So I guess I’m only ever crossing the border with Violet or Jim from work from now on. πŸ™‚

After a couple of stops to find an FM transmitter (the car didn’t have an auxiliary port and we wanted to use the iPods) and coffee and such, we headed south with a vengeance. Unfortunately we didn’t really have enough time to stop in Seattle for a look around as we would have liked to, so direct to Portland we went. (Stopping in some small burg for a quick late lunch of woodfire pizza.)

We got in to Portland around 6pm, checked in to the hotel, then gave Havi a call to arrange the evening’s plans. After that we had an hour and some to relax and get cleaned up, and then we headed out to a delightful Mexican place called La Calaca Comelona. Great food, excellent beer, and, of course, the finest of company. (Havi and Richard were the first internet people we met up with on the trip, so it was most excellent that they are exceedingly cool.) Headed back to the hotel after that and called it a night (even driving most of the day takes it out of you).

October 2nd

Rainy morning, but hey, there were waffles again! We decided to check out the art museum, which was pretty good. I liked the native collections best. There was a really cool bronze sculpture that looked like a horse made of driftwood. Life size!

After the museum we were getting pretty hungry, so we took one of Richard’s suggestions for lunch and headed to the Bridgeport Brew Pub. Excellent beer (not surprisingly), and thoroughly delicious pulled pork (for me) and mac ‘n’ cheese (for Andrew). The mac ‘n’ cheese was made with smoked Tillamook cheddar. Nom.

A quick stop at Escentials next door after lunch for girly stuff, then to Peet’s for lattes for the road, and then time to head to the border with me behind the wheel. (We tried to trade off driving and navigating/music management duties.)

It was a long drive, made longer by hitting Seattle during rush hour. Andrew took over driving at Tulalip, where we stopped to exchange the FM transmitter for one that would actually charge his iPhone. More traffic and slow-downs and an ugly accident that we passed near Bellingham where a minivan was upside down across most of the road.

Got off the main highway to head to Abbotsford, and thank goodness for GPSes, since things got pretty rural and very winding. The border crossing at about 9pm was utterly uneventful (always is), and we got to our hotel shortly after 9. And noticed that Abbotsford smells… rather farmy. Definitely a rural area. Had a late dinner and then called it a night. Definitely a LONG day of driving. (But we were grateful to be back in Canada and for road signs in kilometres.)

October 3rd

The shower head in our hotel room was set to “scrub circus elephants”, which is just the way I like it. πŸ™‚ Another damp and dreary day, so we fueled up with bacon and eggs at a Christian greasy spoon called the Crossroads (where I swear our waiter was gay). Were amused overhearing fellow patrons talking about backing up files — on cds! — and by observing the local “Citizen’s Patrol”, which appeared to be a farmer and his wife who were about 90 years old cruising in a repurposed police car. Awesome.

Interestingly, we had the best wireless reception in Abbotsford compared to anywhere else the entire trip. Guess it was because we had the entire internets pretty much to ourselves… Heh. We stopped at a local place for lattes for the road, which took a really long time, since the barista working on mine seemed to be more into rocking out to the musak. The resulting beverages were so hot we figured we’d be back in Vancouver before we could drink them.

Mountains - heading east to KelownaThe drive inland was another long one, but our first real experience getting into the mountains, which was lovely, despite Ernie’s issues with maintaining speed on a grade. I learned on the way back to Vancouver when I was driving that it wasn’t any erratic driving behaviour on Andrew’s part that was causing the transmission to do odd things.

Decided to head directly to our first Kelowna winery and have lunch there (since Andrew’s parents have often talked the place up), so we got to Gray Monk Cellars around 2:30. Unfortunately, they were closing the restaurant early that day — at 3pm — to set up for a Wine Festival event. Blessedly, they still fed us. The roasted vegetable cassoulet (not really cassoulet — there wasn’t a duck leg to be found) was delicious, and the wine not half bad.

I took a bunch of pictures from the patio while we waited for our food, and then after lunch we had a tour and tasting. The other folks on the tour with us were a family, and fairly annoying. I got the impression the girl doing our tour doesn’t do them often, since she wasn’t terribly knowledgeable on a number of things I asked about.

Gray Monk Cellars - view from the patioIt was a good time for a tour, though, since it was crush time, and white grapes that had recently been picked were being brought in to begin processing into delicious wine. Andrew bought two bottles of their rosé to take home for Thanksgiving dinner (his Mom is a fan). And then it was time to head back into the city (Gray Monk is about half an hour up in the mountains to the north of Kelowna).

We found our B&B, which was great. (I think, I’d never stayed in one before.) Nicely appointed room, friendly proprietors, private ensuite bathroom, spotlessly clean, a memory foam mattress (so comfy!), and delicious, surprisingly elaborate breakfast both days.

We booked reservations at Quail’s Gate for dinner the following night, since there were no openings that night. (We ate obscenely well on the trip.) We also decided to drive south the next day to check out the south Okanagan wineries, since we wanted to see the desert, and since we were told more reds are grown/made there, and we tend to prefer reds to whites.

Dinner ended up being at a happening place called Ric’s Grill. In retrospect I’m amazed we got in at all. It was packed thanks to being Friday night, a lovely evening, and there being a Sheryl Crow concert on in town that evening. We enjoyed Alberta beef and Okanagan peach cobbler. Unfortunately we think Andrew left his jacket there, which we never managed to get back.

We noticed that Kelowna seems very new — a lot of recent development — plus the population seems really young as well. And hoochie, to a large degree… πŸ™‚ After dinner we retired to the B&B for some reading before bed, since the next day promised to be another action-packed adventure.

October 4th

Another day of driving, though not nearly so far, since the wineries in the south start only about an hour and a half from Kelowna. There are dozens of wineries in several areas; we chose those around and south of Oliver.

The drive was lovely again, though a bit worrisome in a couple spots where there appeared to have been rock slides, and also construction where they were clearing a lot of rock. However, we made it just fine, despite drizzle, and the valley was lovely. The air was amazing — clean and fresh and smelled of sage.

We started at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, where the tour was “self-guided” (so not a tour, but wandering around and reading plaques). The wines were nothing special, and tended to be pretty green. The winery was really nice, though. (This became a bit of a theme — a number of the places we went were big and fancy, with enh wines, and rather inflated prices.) We didn’t pick up any wines there.

Burrowing Owl WineryNext we went to Antelope Ridge, which was a beautiful drive. (It’s a long, winding driveway lined with — I think — aspens, which were all just beginning to turn.) We had high hopes, since the place is owned by a quirky older French couple — ring an intercom and Madame comes bootin’ up from the vineyard in an old VW Golf. Wasn’t at all impressed with the wines we tried, though. Utterly green. Yeah, call me in 15 years. I suspect they recently took over the place because I didn’t find the name of the place visible hardly anywhere, and it appeared they were changing the names on things to a new one incorporating their surname. I could be wrong.

Next we went to Golden Mile Cellars, which seems to no longer exist beyond a couple of signs. Road 13 Vineyards is there, though, so we went. The building looks like a medieval castle, which is quite entertaining. We had to wait to get to the tasting bar, but were not disappointed. Their reds were quite nice, and the guy pouring for us recognized Andrew’s Captain Hammer t-shirt. We bought a Merlot and a Pinot Noir.

Then it was lunch time, so we headed over to Burrowing Owl Vineyard, which was the biggest winery we went to, and certainly one of the most beautiful, particularly thanks to the surrounding landscape. Amazing. Again we got lucky and got in at their restaurant for lunch, which was delicious. After lunch we trekked up to the top of the observation tower, unfortunately just as it started to rain. (It alternated between rain, sun, and being overcast the whole time we were there.) After that we did some tasting, but again found the wines (reds, anyway), rather green and very expensive.

Ruins of Haynes Ranch - south OkanaganAfter we left we took some photos of the surrounding area, including the ruins of the Haynes Ranch, and then headed for a couple more places. Unfortunately, we weren’t real impressed with either Desert Hills Estate (though I LOVED their big, goofy Mastiff puppy), or with Black Hills Estate, which was apparently paying for their fancy, avant garde building with the most expensive tasting we found. (We didn’t bother to taste or buy — their wines were pricey, too.)

By that point it was about 2:30, so we decided to head back north. Andrew wanted to check out Pyramid Summerhill, so we made the trek out there. I was getting a bit annoyed, though, since it was way on the other side of the lake, but Andrew didn’t seem to have a clue how far, and we needed to get back to Quail’s Gate before 5. However, we found it, listened in to a bit of the tour that’d just started, and then did some tasting. They had some nice whites and dessert wines, and Andrew ended up getting a Gewurztraminer.

After that we high-tailed it over to Quail’s Gate (I wasn’t real happy about not having time to go back to the B&B to change, but figured we wouldn’t be the first underdressed tourists they’d seen…). We arrived with about 15 minutes to spare, so we did a quick tasting. They have a really nice Dry Riesling, so we bought a couple bottles, then headed over to the restaurant.

We dined at the edge of the patio, overlooking the vines and the lake and mountains, which was lovely as the sun set, though it did get a bit cool. Crab cakes and Cornish game hen for me and sea scallops and halibut for Andrew. And another bottle of the Riesling. πŸ™‚

Headed back to the B&B after that for another leisurely evening wind-down after a busy day, and to rest up before the drive back to Vancouver the following day.

October 5th

We’d seen mentions of Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan when we were researching wineries, and Andrew decided he wanted to check it out. Once we saw the goaty website, that cemented it. So the following morning after breakfast we headed up into the mountains outside of town.

Reasonably clear day, but quite cool and windy. We passed several wineries on the way, which we decided to stop at on the way back. Eventually found the place on a remote hill among a landscape still obviously scarred from a big fire, which the woman at Carmelis told us was five years ago.

We tried nearly a dozen assorted goat’s milk cheeses, and then got gelato, which was not the least bit goaty, and was really delicious (Andrew got two flavours — strawberry and coconut — and I got mint chocolate chip.) We stood out by the road eating our gelato in the wind and watching the resident goats climb around on the rocky terrain. Nom.

Then we headed back down the mountain and stopped at CedarCreek Estate Winery, another big, fancy place with high prices and green wines. The guy pouring for us was a bit odd, but did his best to be helpful and gave us a 2003 Merlot to try, which, unfortunately, had been opened for a week and was starting to turn. We picked up a couple bottles of their Cabernet-Merlot.

Then we went to St. Hubertus, which, as luck would have it, turned out to be one of our favourite wineries. The older gentleman pouring for us was charming, very knowledgeable, and a little forgetful, so there may have been multiple servings poured. πŸ™‚ They had a bit of an odd year a couple seasons ago, resulting in a bizarrely sweet “dry” Riesling and a relatively dry Gewurtz. We ended up buying a couple bottles of their Marechal Foch red, which should be splendid in six to nine months.

After that we popped back over to Summerhill to see if we could take a tour and see inside the pyramid, but we got there at about 12:20, and tours are only every two hours starting at noon. Alas!

And so then it was time to head out of Kelowna and back to Vancouver. Yay, more driving… We stopped for a quick lunch in Merritt (a place that makes Neustadt feel metropolitan), and later for coffee in Abbotsford, and got back to Vancouver shortly before 6pm. We quickly checked into the Sylvia Hotel (a cute, quirky, well-recommended place that appeared to be very popular with people’s grandparents), then headed across the bridge to Kitsilano where we were meeting Jenn, an old friend of Andrew’s, and her boyfriend at The Eatery, a vaguely named and quite funky sushi place.

Georgia Street - VancouverThe menu wasn’t exactly authentic, but with offerings like the “Miss Piggy”, a roll containing bacon-wrapped scallops, we didn’t care. Everything we ordered was delicious, as was the mojito with which I washed it down. Jenn and Neil were excellent company, and it was really nice meeting them. After dinner we retired to a pub down the street for a beer (more delicious local microbrews) before Jenn had to go pick up her daughter from grandma’s place.

We then headed back to the hotel, enjoying the view over English Bay on the drive, worn out and with happily full bellies, to wind down from another long day.

October 6th

The day dawned looking menacing, and with the wettest forecast we’d had yet. Boo. We breakfasted at the hotel, where Andrew didn’t like the hash browns or the coffee. I was amused by the sort-of animatronic alligator in the pond outside the restaurant window.

Andrew had wanted to do some hiking, but it really didn’t look like the day for it. We dropped off Ernie at the rental place, then hauled ass over to Canada Place to catch the noon IMAX showing of Wild Ocean 3D. A really cool film about marine life off the Wild Coast in Africa, and the annual sardine migration and its accompanying predators. Huzzah for 3D!

After that we went for coffee (I had a hot chocolate), which turned into us finishing our drinks fairly quickly, then heading south a few blocks to meet up with Tris for… another coffee. Tris is another of my online acquaintances who I’d never met, so it was cool to connect for a spell. Cappuccino was drunk and politics were talked and he found out I’m not a fan of having my picture taken, no matter how fancy your camera. πŸ™‚

He also recommended a place for lunch, so in the rain we wandered over to check out the Crumpler store (cool bags, but nothing that grabbed us), then south to Gastown to Chill Winston for a late lunch. More tasty sandwiches and excellent beer, and then we trekked Robson again in the rain to check out the Art Gallery.

It was all very modern and current (1900 to present), and they were featuring female artists and a big show that was a retrospective and exploration of feminism. I liked some of the earlier works — Emily Carr and such — but a lot of it really wasn’t my cup of tea.

After that we headed back north to the hotel to get dried off, cleaned up, and then head down to Kate and Rose‘s place for dinner. Haven’t seen them in nearly a year (and at their wedding they didn’t exactly have lots of time to sit and chat), so it was most excellent to see them, meet Emmy Lou (the ever-sleeping Sharpei), drink frozen drinks and nosh tasty nachos. Andrew got on with them exceedingly well, which was of no surprise.

We headed out (again in the rain) around 10, when all assembled were getting a bit droopy. As usual, our cab arrived almost instantly. (Seriously, Vancouver cabs are really impressively speedy.) We went to bed hoping for better weather the following day, our last in Vancouver.

October 7th

Huzzah! Sunshine! Mild temperatures! The day dawned bright and warm-ish and perfect, so pretty much any activities were ours for the adventuring. We decided to check out The Medina Cafe for breakfast, for some reason ignoring the fact that it was about as far east and south as you could get away from where our hotel was.

And so off we went… and went… and went. And eventually found the place several kilometres away. Oh well, least we were hungry. Their menu is unusual, but was certainly hearty and delicious. Their lattes and orange juice were delightful, too. Little did we know how much we’d need that meal. Or would need the energy we’d just expended getting there…

After breakfast we headed back north to catch a bus to take us across the Lions’ Gate Bridge to the Grouse Mountain area where we hoped to do a spot of hiking. A couple false starts and some very helpful bus drivers later, we made it up there. We skipped the Capilano Suspension Bridge, since it was little more than a pricey tourist trap. (Apparently there’s another bridge, which is free, that no one tells the tourists about.)

Baden Powell Trail - Grouse MountainSo we headed up to the foot of Grouse where we had a coffee and decided where to begin. We figured that attempting the infamous “Grouse Grind” would not be a great idea, since neither of us are Olympians (especially me). However, we were told there was an “easier” trail as well, so we decided to tackle that one.

We found the entrance and headed up. (This was the first workout for the Merrill hiking boots Andrew had bought me, and thank goodness for them, else I am quite sure I’d be dead now had I attempted that adventure in runners.) Even the beginning of the trail concerned me, as I was expecting something a little less rugged. Oh, I was so naive… After a couple hundred metres we came to where the trails split, and we took the Baden Powell Trail. I took some pictures early on, as the scenery was gorgeous, the sun filtering through the branches and the air clear and fresh. After that I needed both hands to keep from dying, so away went the camera.

We climbed and trekked and stumbled and scrambled… and then did it some more… and eventually came to a marker telling us we’d only come 700 metres. Ahem. Let us just say that not offering X and Y axis measurements and only posting as the crow flies distances is cruel. By that point we were well into it, so we kept going.

Things started to get a bit confusing a ways after that, and there was another trail split marker. It implied that the Grind trail went to the top (we wanted to get to the top, then take the tram down), and this other trail might get there eventually, but the trail we’d been on… wasn’t clear. Seemed it linked up with another trail that took you to some cabin.

So since we wanted to get to the top, we decided to take the route that seemed the clearest. Which meant up. HARD up. When we were already getting tired. Oh boy. (Let it never be said my stubbornness and annoyance do not spur me on to great feats.) So that went on for a few hundred metres (no doubt the trail marker would have said about 15 feet). We kept our eyes peeled constantly for trail blazes, since you really can’t afford to get lost up there.

Eventually we reached a clearing, where we sat down on the exposed rock, drank some water, and enjoyed the view. We could see all the way to the city and the Lions’ Gate Bridge, which was lovely. We were sweaty and fairly dirty by that point. After a bit of a rest we decided to make the final sprint to the top… except very shortly thereafter the trail went haywire. Blazes disappeared, it seemed like the trail did not, in fact, go to the top, and the markers suddenly pointed… off a cliff.

Uhh, right. So since, at that point, there was no obvious way to get to the top, the trail had pretty much disappeared, and we were nearly out of water, we said screw it and decided to hike back down. Little did we know… You see, going down is much harder than going up. The blazes were harder to find for quite a while, the trail was narrower, steeper, rockier, more circuitous, and generally trickier, we were already dead tired, and it was harder on the knees. However, what goes up must come down… This included such adventures as crossing mountain creeks with ropes.

Fortunately, thanks to Andrew’s expert leadership, we got back down, though I was pretty much a zombie by the time we hit the parking lot — somewhere well past pain and well past fatigue. As luck would have it, our bus was parked right in front of us, and Andrew had a whole two minutes to pee before it left. In the mean time I found myself a seat and promptly disintegrated. Painfully, as it was the beginning of rush hour, we had to stand on the second bus we had to take back into the city. I held on to the support bars on either side of the aisle, and downed a fruit bar and a granola bar in quick succession since I was getting pretty wobbly from low blood sugar.

We got off at Gilford Street, which is the street our hotel was on… except the wrong end. However, we knew what our destination was, and thus traversed Denman Street as quickly as we could manage to arrive at… Beard Papa’s! Mmm… creampuffs…

I wasn’t terribly patient with Andrew and all his questions about how many and what kind and whatnot (in my defence I was exhausted, starving, and my leg muscles were spasming). I told him to just get four original, then got my wallet out of his backpack and headed next door… to Marble Slab Creamery. Mmm… double chocolate ice cream blended with Skor in a waffle cone… (I have never deserved decadent sweets more in my life.)

We hauled our bounty and booty back to the hotel, where we polished off the ice cream, showered (I soaked in really hot water for a while, too, which did my legs much good), and then got purdied up for dinner while watching some news.

We headed back across the bridge to Tojo’s, which I’ve heard lots about from Andrew’s family, and of which our dinner companion, Colleen, is a fan. We decided to get all fancy-like one more time, and went for the six-course Omakase tasting menu. I even ate a mushroom! Unsurprisingly, it was delicious, and more filling than expected. Despite many fabulous-looking sake offerings, Andrew and I stuck with tea, as I suspect sake would have had me under the table in short order.

The Omakase (which means “entrusted”) menu changes constantly, and you basically put yourself in the chef’s hands. There was lots of fresh, local seafood, some raw, some cooked, some smoked. Andrew had hoped we’d get urchin, which he likes, and which I wanted to try, but it wasn’t included in this menu. The conversation was as lively as expected, with talk of the trip, and people we knew, and booze, and marketing, and the swapping of tales. (Colleen’s one of those folks with a million great stories.)

After dinner we caught another speedy cab back to the hotel to pack up and get a good sleep prior to our early start the next morning. We divvied up the 10 bottles of wine we still had (we’d taken one to Rose and Kate, along with some goat’s cheese from Carmelis) and wrapped them up very thoroughly.

October 8th

The next morning we headed out to the airport (after Andrew got the front desk to correct the extra $4500 they’d accidentally tried to charge to our bill), and after a quick breakfast at Timmy’s we traversed security and headed to the gate, arriving just prior to boarding starting. The flight was quick and uneventful, and in Calgary the stopover was again short, enough time for a washroom break, procuring coffee and a snack at the Starbuck’s kiosk, and reading a few emails.

More Mythbusters and some What Not to Wear on the flight back home, as well as more cookies or Bits ‘n’ Bites (West Jet’s standard snack fare). We arrived back around 5:30 to a very rainy and misty Ontario. The tiniest baggage carousel in the world finally spit out our luggage, and after a few minutes’ wait Sherry arrived and squired us back home. It was good to arrive, dirty laundry, squirrelly cat, and all. πŸ™‚

One Reply to “Melle and Andrew go to BC, Sept. 29 – Oct. 8, 2008”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *