June 26th was our travel day. We woke up at the ungodly hour of 0400 to make it to the parking lot, take the shuttle, and get to AUS in time for our 0655 departure. If anything made us feel better, it was the assurance that Vancouver was the best:

That, and that the Thievery Corporation’s presence provided a mental wave of jet-set cool to the bag check routine.

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The flight was divided into two legs: Austin to Denver, and then on to YVR. The layover was just enough to stretch our legs and get a McPuck breakfast.

Arrival at Vancouver was overcast and cool, about 62 at our 1100 arrival time. There was a light sprinkle of rain as we came in from the sea towards the city.

After marshaling our luggage we grabbed a taxi and headed into town. The path reminded me of the city of Bondi Junction in Australia: many smaller houses ( of the west San Francisco variety: Glen Park, West Portal ) and the occasional group of stately manses. Upon arrival to our residence, Pendrell Suites, we were greeted by the manager’s mum who bade us enter amid some re-decoration work that was going on on the ground floor. We were shown to the suite at the very top.

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Steel skies like this not seen since San Francisco, or Amsterdam

I thought that perhaps we had been given the wrong room as I had requested a ground-floor, smaller space for just the two of us. Upon entering the spacious, top-floor suite I had the nagging feeling that we would be told “Oh, sorry, wrong room.” When the manager, Boyd, arrived he assured us that all ways well and they’d chosen to upgrade us due to the decoration work and any potential noise. We totally lucked out, as you can see from the pictures.

Boyd is an friendly fellow who pointed out the features of the suite and told us about the numerous filmings that had happened in our unit and on the facility’s grounds. Apparently our kitchen was the one used to resemble Aalyiah’s Oakland apartment in “Romeo Must Die”.

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I See Hollywood People

He also took time to annotate our map with restaurants, points of interest and suggested routes. We changed into walking clothes and asked the decorator downstairs if he could recommend a bite. He did and we took him up on it. He recommended a Bulgarian fillo-cafe on Denman street called “Acacia”, just a few blocks to the northwest.

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We enjoy “banitza”

Still feeling our early arrival time, we set out on a path that took us northwest to the busy Denman. Denman reminds me a bit of Lombard street through the Marina district of San Francisco: many motorists waiting to get through a barrage of stoplights to get onto the street that takes them to the bridge into North Vancouver ( The Twin Lions Bridge ). The cafe was quaint and narrow and we ordered  two quiche-like things. With something in our stomaches we continued northeast on Denman towards Robson Street which is the fancy shopping district.

We wound our way down Robson until we reached its border with the Yaletown district and decided to turn home, for we were still truly quite tired. By the time we got back we shuffled our way upstairs for a nap.

Now, the reason we had come to Vancouver, was to attend the reception for my former roommate and his new wife, Patrick and Linda, in their hometown. Their wedding had occurred in San Francisco, and they had their child shortly thereafter. As such, they hadn’t had a time to be received in their hometown and this was that occasion. Patrick asked us to come to dinner with him and several others who happened to be in town.

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Ready to go!

After our nap we cleaned up and headed over to Section 3 in Yaletown where we all had a fine dinner of appetizers, martinis, and pasta. Afterwards Linda and Patrick gave us a ride back to our suite where Lauren and I took the opportunity to get some much-needed rest. Day 2 would be quite active for us.