Without a doubt, Vancouver is a walking city. Unlike Lexington, the city planners here designed the entire urban area to be totally pedestrian friendly, allowing us once again to discover the unbridled joy of getting from one place to another without dialing up Uber. For a guy who likes to walk, I’m certainly in my element. Throughout my previous globetrotting journeys, I’ve walked parts of the Milford Track in New Zealand, the Inca Trail in Peru and the Petra Area of Jordan. Closer to home, I’ve participated in NAMI and Alzheimer’s walks for charity. Two of my favorite movies of all time are Walking Tall and Dead Man Walking. Fifteen years ago, I even walked to Emmaus (Lexington Community walk #69, Table of Paul). So for the past few days, I’ve settled into a perfect cadence–walk, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat. The only thing missing is my four-legged walking partner–Bingo–who I’m counting on to keep good company with Kanisa back home.
Never fear, I’ve got plenty of other walking companions for support on this trip. My siblings and cousins are all “walking worthy”, having maxed out their overworked Fitbits and worn down their well-traveled Nikes. OK, brother Michael is a tad obese (by Chinese standards) with bad feet and Prince Gabriel can’t actually walk yet, but we all still manage to amble through the alleyways of Chinatown for some fabulous dim-sum at the Floata Seafood Restaurant. This dining palace holds itself out to be the largest Chinese restaurant in North America. Afterwards, it’s on through the cobblestone streets of the historic Gastown district and the obligatory gaze at the famous steam clock, on past the cruise ships in the harbor area with a quick pit stop for two delectable scoops of some home-made gelato ice cream, and continuing through to the entrance of Stanley Park with its picturesque wildlife and gorgeous views out toward the Pacific.
The return route takes us through the hipster Yaletown district and the gay pride neighborhoods around Davie Street. Somehow the conversation suddenly becomes focused on shearing off my stylish ponytail. Evidently my perception of “stylish” is everyone else’s perception of “shaming the family name”. It’s so sad when you can’t even live out your own mid life crisis without constant berating from behind the misguided parapet of the family peanut gallery. I console myself during happy hour with $1 oysters and a stout ale at the Fanny Bay Oyster Bar and suddenly all is well with the world again. The ponytail lives on!
Our next walking excursion takes us to the Granville Island Public Market where Prince Gabriel rolls around in his stroller chariot, clapping his hands to the various street performers hawking their CDs. He’s the real attraction here, drawing countless bemused looks and friendly chuckles as he smiles, snorts and coos like royalty while parading past the endless vendor stalls and food court booths. We all start smiling, snorting and cooing with him after a couple rounds of beer tasting at the infamous Granville Island Microbrewery.
That evening it’s on to the Richmond Night Market which bills itself as the largest night market in North America. Do I sense a bit of Canadian overcompensation about size here? My sister-in-law Michelle tells me that Mt. Sterling Court days would dwarf this place. There aren’t any guns here but the outlay of food is still pretty darn impressive. What’s even more impressive is that Michelle temporarily breaks free from the shackles of motherhood, goes on a food binge and chows down more than all the original Huangs put together. Walk, eat, walk, eat, walk…I need a good foot massage…Bring on the Pepto-Bismol just in case for good measure.