Van and Portland (Special Guest Author: HoiKin)

by roniel

Hey Sai So! It’s nice to have finally re-connected with you again after having lost contact for…hmm…6 or 7 years? Wow, it’s crazy. Anyway, thanks to the fact that I thought I saw you on the MTR and thanks to Facebook, we’re now in touch again J

So, I’ve promised that I’d write a bit about my trip to Vancouver and Portland earlier this month, so here it is! My apologies that the photos are a bit crap since they were all taken on my iPhone. Although I did bring a proper camera, I was too lazy to carry it around with me and I’m so used to using my iPhone to snap pictures now.

The day I arrived in Vancouver on 31March, the weather was rainy, cool, cloudy and gloomy. In other words, normal Vancouver weather in the spring (or actually for most parts of the year too). But I totally lucked out because the next morning was a beautiful day. I love Vancouver rain or shine, but there’s no denying that the city is even more magical when the sun is out and the skies are blue. I was staying with my brother for the first week in his new apartment in downtown Vancouver and this was the view I woke up to the next morning:

After catching up with a couple of friends over coffee, I took advantage of the awesome weather and suggested to my brother that we take a walk along Kits beach. Kits beach is beautiful and a super popular place to hang out during the summers. Here’s some of what we saw as we were taking our walk:

Oh, and did I mention that it was cherry blossom season while I was in Vancouver? Lucky me…awesome weather + cherry blossoms! J

The weather continued to be awesome the next day, so my mom and I went to Granville Island. This is one of my fave places in Van. Yes, it’s getting a bit touristy, but I still love it! It consists of a market full of fresh foods, art galleries, and shops selling locally designed products. It’s the perfect place to walk around on a sunny day:

In the afternoon, I took a leisurely stroll through historic Gastown. You might not want to be walking around here late at night on your own, but during the day, it’s a pretty part of downtown with historic buildings, tourist shops, plenty of hipster shops and cafes, and of course the steam clock.

From Gastown, I walked back to my brother’s place and he took me to a pizzeria for dinner. OK, the pizza here was freaking AMAZING. My all-time favorite pizza is from Pizzeria Mozza in Singapore, but this one proved to be able to match that! The place is called Pizzeria Farina and I highly recommend it if you ever go to Vancouver.

Before I knew it, a week had gone by and it was time for Portland!! ROAD TRIP!!!! Woohoo~~ There were four of us: me, my brother, my cousin and my cousin’s girlfriend. We headed out early to avoid the traffic at the border crossing as it was the Easter long weekend. And about 4 or 5 hours later, we were in Portland. It was my first time in Portland and it really reminded me a lot of Vancouver. A small, laid-back city, charming and beautiful. We dropped off our bags at the Hotel Monaco and headed to a nearby outlet for shopping. Then we had dinner at Huber’s, one of Portland’s oldest restaurants. They’re famous for their turkey dinners, so this was what I ordered, along with pumpkin pie. It was pretty rockin’ J

The next day, we had brunch at Bijou Café and then split up to go shopping. The others wanted to hit the malls and Nordstorm, but I was keen to check out the weekend market and the vintage shops dotted around downtown Portland. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I the simply loved the weekend market. So many stalls full of hand-made goods made my locals and there were also many food stalls near the waterfront. I think I could have easily spent an entire day there. The best part was that even these stalls take credit card! It’s true that you can pretty much survive just on plastic in the US. I did not exchange a single dollar of US money and it was completely fine!

After all the shopping, we stopped for a snack at Little Big Burger. You know you’re in the States when your “snack” consists of a burger and a root beer float 😛

After our snack, we went to check out the Museum of Contemporary Craft. There was an exhibition by a local artist, Betty Feves, and showcased her clay sculptures.

After that, we walked around the Pearl District and had Italian for dinner, although that was probably our worst meal of the trip since the pasta was way too salty.

The next day, we went for brunch at Mother’s. The interior was really nice, and I especially loved the big chandelier which was decorated with Easter eggs as it was Easter Sunday that day! And the lemon poppy seed pancakes were yummy to the tummy!

Next up, before leaving Portland, we went for a post-brunch walk in Washington Park. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and it was just lovely. I really wanted to just stay there and chill out for the rest of the afternoon, but sadly, it was time to head back to Vancouver.

But before getting back to Vancouver, we made one last stop in Seattle for last-minute shopping and dinner. Dinner was followed by ice-cream at Molly Moon’s…omg, this place is so awesome. Homemade ice-cream in a freshly made waffle cone. I’m a total ice-cream snob, so this was right up my alley! 😉 I had the honey and lavender flavor.

After getting back to Vancouver, the second week of my holiday somehow went by in a flash. It was so nice to finally visit Vancouver again and to see my friends after having been away for five years. It was sad to leave Vancouver, and I hope I won’t be waiting another five years before I go back! And here’s a final image I took with me as a memory til I go back again: A clear blue sky with the sun shining bright, taken from the backyard of our house.

Hoi Kin

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3 Comments to “Van and Portland (Special Guest Author: HoiKin)”

  1. I loved reading this, ron. The enthusiasm of your friend is quite infectious. Now I want some homemade ice cream, too. 🙂

  2. Great post, really enjoyed it!
    — Lyla

    http://www.bigconceptdesigns.com

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