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Saturday, August 28, 2004
Vacation day 4: Lost in a shopping mall!
Thursday August 26th
I decided to bring Sharon to the Metropolis/Metrotown shopping mall. Since it was a two-zone transfer, the one-way would be C$6 each. The day pass with unlimited trips, zones and time for C$8 made it the logical choice for today.

We walked a few blocks to the nearest Skytrain station, and bought the daypass. It was about lunchtime now, and we felt a bit peckish.

A short bus trip later, we were in the familar area of Chinatown. With no recommendation or restaurant in mind, we walked for a while and bumped into a Taohuay (Soya curd) store. The desert was smooth and tasty, though the service level was typical of a Singaporean coffee shop, ala "What do you want?!".

We saw this old, none too attractive Chinese restaurant that looked like it never bothered about catering for the tourists in a touristy area, and we decided to go in!

Our guesses were correct, for a place that was operated by the locals for the locals also meant that the food was authentic and good. I had a bowl of Char Siew rice, with a small bowl of prawn dumplings, while Sharon had a bowl of Chicken congee,.

The Char Siew was good, though not as BBQed as i would prefer it to be. The rice accompanying it was tangy and tasty, definitely with a hearty serving of chicken oil in it. The dumplings were excellent, with two whole prawns, small slices of mushrooms, and pork within each dumpling.

Sharon's congee reminded us of the congee stall in Singapore's Chinatown. It was smooth and grainless, and it was something that we never had since leaving Singapore.

The best part of it was the price, as all our dishes came to about C$14.00.

With our tummy filled up, we walked to the nearest Skytrain station at the Waterfront, and about ten stations later, we were at Metrotown.

During the walkup to the Skytrain station, we visited a Native Indian shop that can almost be considered a museum, as they had the largest range of handmade native artifacts, and native warmwear. I bought a fuzzy warmer hat, much like the one that Kyle in South Park wears. It was one of the only items that i can actually afford to purchase.

It was indeed a very large shopping mall, about twice the size of Suntec City, and double the levels too. It was the first time that experienced shoppers like Sharon was literally lost in the mall. The mall had a crew on in-line skates that went around helping those in "shopping distress".

The main shopping mall merged with a smaller mall by the side, and created this huge shopping maze. I could see families that were going up and down the escalators, perhaps looking for the exitways. 8)!

After an exhausting shopping trip, we went back to the restaurant street, and used the discount voucher that Erik the tour guide had given to us a few days ago. The servings were humongous, but you'll wonder why they do not have as much business as one of the Greek restaurants that was literally steps away from this 30+ year old eatery.

Vancouver has its beautiful sights and sounds; it also has a dark and visible underbelly to its beauty. One can easily homeless people sleeping on the streets, haggling for change, or acting in a lack of control manner. Certain streets, for example, along Chinatown, had druggies openly injecting themselves with drugs on the streets. Blocks of buildings that were totally deserted were just a block away from main shopping areas. I remembered a building site that had a large billboard announcing the arrival of "an international district", but all the site had was a big hole in the ground, and murky water in it.

Perhaps all these were accepted by the administration and the people here. Perhaps these were things that they choose to ignore. Perhaps on their own race to be Number 1 in any categories that they care for, they choose to forget about the ones that really mattered. Don't you think there's a familiar tune to this?
posted by Jonathan at 3:23 PM | Permalink |