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First Vancouver Trip

May 10th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Personal

I was extremely excited to finally get out to Vancouver for the first time, not just to attend GDC Canada for, but to visit the city itself. The region around Vancouver is very beautiful in my opinion with all the evergreens and mountains and snow-capped peaks. Seeing it during the Winter Olympics only bolstered my resolve to get out here.

I arrived via Air Canada on May 5th and took the SkyTrain into town, which dumped me off right around the block from my hotel. Still, it took me a while to find it since I don’t have an international data plan and thus could not consult Google Maps for directions. I hadn’t thought of that!! Turns out Days Inn Vancouver was only two blocks and around the corner from the convention center, an easy 5-7 minute walk and for a few dollars less than the conference rate at the Marriott. Unless you have standards that absolutely require no less than a 4-star hotel then I would recommend the Days Inn.

The conference was cool, here are my GDNet journal entries from May 5th, May 6th and May 7th.

Of note is the little adventure I had on the 6th that led to three very cool discoveries.

So the night of May 7th I visited the Rickshaw and took in two troupes performing in the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. There were some pretty bad acts but the majority of them were good and creative. One girl came out of a cardboard house, starting with sticking three legs out the windows (one obviously was a socked arm) and freaking out, then sticking out the proper appendages. After popping up through the roof and realizing she was stuck, the clothes started getting shucked (the panties went out through the door! Haha!). Another act was from Cherry On Top, who did a kick ass amazing Elvis tribute dance to her act. I mean she danced like the King, it was awesome. I uhm… won’t talk about the second troupe’s gay MC, Tigger. He was pretty hilarious though.

May 8th was the one full day I had entirely to myself. I tried to coordinate with some friends to hang out but we all had different plans so I ended up going solo but still had a great time. The day began with a 2-hour sparring class at Academie Duello, which offered up a free introductory class. I opted in on the class that went through basic stances and lunges with a rapier, as well as some basic grappling and a good amount of cardio. Man, I’m never going to remember all those crazy long Italian names for moves and postures! If you’re into medieval weaponry (I’m more into Japanese Kendo/Bushido but like exploring styles) definitely check this place out if you’re even in Vancouver.

The afternoon was eaten up with bicycle riding around and through Stanley Park. I rode around the edge of the entire park, called the Seawall Trail and down the west side of Vancouver to Sunset Beach. There I took a break for some food and drink while reading one of my Star Wars books and glancing up every now and again to soak up the mountain scenery in the distance. Then it was back to Stanley Park, this time taking some trails that went through the park rather than around it. The forest of the park looked eerily familiar until I remembered that the Stargate SG-1 TV series had filmed some scenes here. In total, I biked about 13 miles, and at first I kept almost throwing myself over the handlebars making turns since I’m used to a big heavy motorcycle!

I finished off the evening walking around Granville Island and checking out the public market they have there.

Sunday morning, the 9th, I was up at 5am to catch a 6:40 Amtrak Cascades train down to Seattle to attend the LOGIN conference (back to back conferences, I know!). It’s been many, many years since I’ve taken a train that wasn’t your every-day commuter. Check-in and security were done in about 10 minutes and I was aboard with no hassles – take that airlines!! The ride down was smooth and uneventful and the scenery out the big windows to either side of the train was awesome.

I look forward to returning to Vancouver again next year!

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