adelagia: (mst3k | whimsy overdose)
[personal profile] adelagia
Somewhat on a whim, if three weeks in advance counts as a whim, [ profile] sarea_okelani and I decided on a whirlwind weekend trip the first weekend of June to Vancouver for – what else – eating.

When we'd gone four years ago with [ profile] slitherhither we'd missed out on the Asian Night Market – we hadn't realized it existed beforehand or that it sold a variety of Asian food, so we had had dinner, and then gone to visit the night market, only to get a tremendous whiff of stinky tofu from one of the stalls and lament our already full stomachs. Sarea was also intensely interested in a potato tornado (a "Rotato"), which is a spiral of fried potato on a stick, but didn't have tummy space for that either.

So that was on the list, as well as Max Noodle House and Kirin Seafood Restaurant, both of which Sarea had been to previously with her mom.

We left just before 9:00 on Saturday morning with Sarea suffering from a bad cold (but when we crossed the border and passed swathes of farmland, she could smell the cows just fine) and made good time to Max Noodle House by 11:30.

No pictures were taken for any of the trip (aside from at Kirin) because we weren't really eating anything fancy or new. We got a wonton noodle soup and dumpling noodle soup at Max with a side of kai lan. Delicious and appropriately portioned.

After that we were on our way to the Westin Wall Centre, though, just like last time, Google Maps directed us straight into a boat parking lot instead of the hotel. On the way, we passed a Yaohan, a somewhat pleasant surprise, as we'd both grown up with Yaohans in our respective childhood cities.

Check-in was fine; we were hoping for double beds, but they didn't have any (the story, apparently, of Sarea's life). Getting wifi in the room was a slight hassle as they didn't have Sarea's membership on file, but eventually it all got sorted out. This was important because Sarea had brought her Roku and we wanted to watch K-pop things off the internet instead of regular TV like commoners. Also checking email and stuff, I guess. (But seriously, Westin, just give all your guests free wifi instead of making them be members of your ~*super special*~ group brand.)

So we watched a couple of videos (like Jackson from GOT7 rapping in three different languages on the fly), and then tried to find nail salons in the vicinity for mani/pedis, since we had many hours to spare before the night market opened up at 7PM. But even with the Canadian dollar as weak as it was (CAD$1 = USD$0.75; everything we bought and ate was 25% off!), the mani/pedis there seemed way too expensive. We decided instead to just head to Yaohan so Sarea could buy cough drops and water.

It was within walking distance (my favourite kind of distance), and on the way, we both stopped in surprise at the sight of Time Escape, an escape room. With cautious excitement we went inside to check it out and see if they were amenable to taking 2-person groups and if they had any availability. They were and they did! So we did an escape room then and there (at the low, low price of CAD$24.50/pp) – The Sorcerer's Quest.

What was weird about it was that they "blindfolded" us before going in (we had to wear dark glasses) and stand there listening to an audio story about the room's theme – something about a dragon; absolutely no recollection of this part – while the game master bustled around doing god knows what. Also, we only got 50 minutes! At every other escape room we've been to, it's been 60 minutes.

There were some things that previous experience helped us with, like using a magnetized wand against something hanging on the wall to set off a code, others that happened by complete accident (making two spinny cat statues face each other to release some cards), and far too many things we should have been able to figure out, like seeing a Wizarding World map on the desk and assuming it was just a cute prop instead of actually trying to use it. But, there were also a couple of things that we wanted to call shenanigans on because of the tech not working quite right; we'd initially tried exactly what we were supposed to do – blowing air into a sensor and pointing a laser at certain points – but because they weren't sensitive enough, we assumed we were wrong.

Nevertheless, it was much fun, and the dude in charge was very nice about letting us finish past our time. As usual, we wanted to immediately do another one. We decided to take a brief break though to go to Yaohan like we'd intended to in the first place and then possibly come back after that or later that night, as we also wanted to debrief about the room we'd just done.

We walked to Yaohan, which was really only a Yaohan in name, since the supermarket inside was called Osaka. Sarea also didn't have any Canadian cash on her so we wanted to find a bank or ATM to rectify this (and because Time Escape's card machine had some kind of issue, I'd paid for both our entries with my cash money). There was a food court there which caught our interest, and I got a taro milk tea and Sarea a salty cream oolong tea (which she had had for the first time in Hong Kong and loved it); the stall was also selling bubble egg waffles, which looked tasty, and we earmarked it for a pitstop the following day.

No ATMs in sight, we tried a couple of blocks away from Yaohan, seeing buildings in the vicinity that looked like they might house a bank or two. We passed by a little black bunny gadding about in the shrubbery by the road, which was SO CUTE. (We'd later see a patchy gray and white one, and a dark grey one during our rambles – how come Canada gets such fun variety of bunny while we only get boring brown ones??)

We came to a sizeable strip mall (Union Square Shopping Centre) with interesting things like a karaoke joint (which we'd later find out was only 2.5 stars on Yelp and with no Korean songs), Hanppy Tofu Pot House, and Big G Large Fried Chicken. We stopped to ask a woman on a bench if she knew if there were any banks nearby and she was eating a piece of chicken from there; it looked tasty and, indeed, large. She vaguely said she thought there might be one "somewhere over there," and with no other real options, we followed where she said to go.

That led us to the Continental Shopping Centre where Sarea spied a BBQ meats place she wanted to come back to sometime (Landmark Fresh Meat) and eventually we rounded a corner to a bank. It was closed by this time, past 4PM, but there were ATMs available so I got more cash for us, which we then spent on cough drops and water at our second visit to Yaohan.

Then we attempted another escape room, Operation Rescue, their easiest one. We actually did fairly well on this, and the things we needed hints on were, again, frustrating, because we were already halfway there ourselves. Oh, except for finding a severed arm in a box which we immediately dismissed as gross, even though we both mentally noted that it had a wedding ring on. So then when we called for a hint, the dude told us to look at the wedding ring. Well, that'll teach us. Always investigate gross limbs.

After that, we walked back to the hotel for a quick water stop and to ask for directions to the night market, with just enough time to get there when it opened at 7PM. The man at the desk gave us two ways to get there, one law-abiding and the other a shortcut where we’d have to jaywalk across a road where cars are just coming off a bridge with traffic that we couldn’t gauge very well because it was downhill towards us; we thought it was a little irresponsible of him to suggest his guests take their lives in their hands.

We went the regular, non-dangerous way and reached the night market safely, only to find a GIANT QUEUE. How naïve we were, thinking we’d just show up and walk in. Sigh. We would end up in that line for nearly an hour, pay the cutthroat entrance fee of $3.75 (it was only a dollar when we went last time!), and almost immediately want to leave, despite having preplanned to eat dinner there. We’re not fans of crowds, or of waiting.

We wound around the stalls and homed in on a place selling stinky tofu (at last!), which required waiting in line again to order and then to collect. It was delicious, but we were keen to get out once we finished eating. We’d been on our feet since about 1PM either walking, failing to escape rooms, or standing in line, and we were pretty done. Also, there were SO MANY people. We did see the Rotato stand as well, but it was extremely popular, and not standing in line again outweighed potato on a stick.

By this time it was nearly nine, and we were feeling almost lame enough to just eat dinner at the hotel. The dice app on Sarea’s phone decided we’d go back to one of those strip malls we’d come across earlier, but as we walked and walked they seemed super far away, so we veered instead to Yaohan, hoping the food court would save us.

It was closed. So we got prepared unagi bowls and fruit cups from the supermarket. What a waste of a meal!! Ugh. But now we know that we don’t care for the night market and don’t have to go there ever again.

We took our food back to the hotel and ate while watching the first episode of Hitmaker (the premise: Doni and Coni from Weekly Idol con some idols into being a low-budget boyband with hilarious results) and an episode of Problematic Men where Key does an escape room. A fun thing we learned from watching Hitmaker is a game called “Climbing the Ladder” (they were trying to decide who the leader of the band would be), when you need a random way to decide between choices. We tried it a couple of times and were probably overly amazed at how well it worked, lol. This is how we’re going to decide everything forever; no more dice for us!

Although we had talked about trying to do something the next morning, we decided just to stay in and relax and watch more videos instead due to all the walking we’d done. Then we made our way to Kirin for dim sum. We were occasionally served by a waiter who would ask us questions and then walk away without waiting for a response. It was… weird.

We got abalone/chicken buns, pan-fried fish buns, stir-fried pea vines, braised chicken feet, tofu skin rolls, fried squid, and zha liang. The guy who took our order was like, “… Stop ordering.” And then we also got durian mochi, which was soooo good. Sarea also got egg tarts to go.

Then, one last stop at Yaohan. On the way there we passed at least seven banks on either side of the road, and when we got to Yaohan, discovered THERE WAS A BANK RIGHT THERE. If we had only turned left out of Yaohan the previous day instead of right, we would have found the bank within two minutes.

Anyway, we got drinks from Juice King again and one of the egg waffles, which was interesting on first bite and then nothing really special after that. Sarea got some BBQ meat to go as well. We thought about stopping at Japadog, since there seemed to be one fairly nearby, but we drove to where it was supposed to be and didn’t see it, so gave up on it this time.

We made our way back through cow country and did some Korean quizzing for our class and started planning for another trip back. Next time, we’re going to escape a room if it kills us.

on 2017-06-09 12:05 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
What a fun, exhausting trip. Sorry the night market was such a bust but it still sounds like you ate well and had a very entertaining time. I've been on that bank quest so many times there should be an app on all our phone by now. Seriously.

on 2017-06-09 06:54 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Omg, you're so right. Someone needs to develop this app asap!

on 2017-06-09 02:19 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
In retrospect, I am disappointed with myself that I did not get a Rotato NOR a Japadog for the whole trip. It was weird how un-hungry I was after the stinky tofu, considering we split a small and how much exercise we'd gotten that day. I couldn't even eat the unagi bowl, I only ate like a bit of the fruit cup. I ate the unagi the next morning for breakfast plus the rest of the fruit.

LOL @ your subject line. IT WAS ONLY FOR A SPLIT SECOND, OKAY. I wish I could have recorded your side eye, the side-eyeiest side eye in the history of side eyes.

Can you believe he invented gwiyomi?

on 2017-06-09 06:59 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I didn't know he invented gwiyomi!! That is so cool. I've seen it in so many places so I just figured it was one of those childhood things everyone knows. Good job, Ilhoon oppa!! Lololol.

Let's rectify the Japadog situation next time we go back. Also, I'm pretty sure Rotato exists outside of the night market too, so we can look for that.

August 2017


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