Vancouver Experience

By Hank Peng

Memorial Day Weekend 2002 was scheduled to be held in Vancouver. The partakers for this year included Dave, Kz, Denny, and myself.

After Cindy and Bry's graduation, Denny and I headed straight for the airport. Time was nearing a crunch as we drove in, with our flight scheduled at 2:40 pm and it was already 1:30'ish when we arrived at the long term parking lot. Shockingly enough, the entire long-term lot was full but by some grace, the attendant gave us a voucher and said "go ahead and park in short term for the price of long term". Saved! We parked and made a mad dash to the security checkpoint. Prior to arriving at the airport, Denny had already emphasized on how he always gets harrassed at the security checkpoints, always getting pulled aside and having his luggage torn apart for inspection. Fortunately the checkpoint was wide-open so we didn't have to wait, but lo and behold I get through quick and easy with all my cameras and gear, but Denny gets pulled aside. It was nearly a 10 minute ordeal, as they tore apart and swabbed every piece of his luggage and THEN sent it through the x-ray machine again.

After we got off the plane, we had some asian canadien mountie guy ask us questions in immigration. Den told the story about how Lyle once replied to the question of his intended activities in Vancouver with "Eat and sleep". As I was calling my parents to tell them I was in Vancouver (they had no idea), Dave and Kz showed up to pick us up. The two of them had some border issues and discovered a 'shortcut' that saved them at least half an hour and had stopped off at Yaohan in Vancouver to pick up some boba too. Apparently Kz had some map issues too.

Our first stop is to check into the Westin Hotel (located in downtown VC) courtesy of Kz as he is a p1mp platinum member from his numerous stays. The Westin has an interesting slim shape to it, as it looks like a really tall zippo lighter. After we check in, we head on up to our 21st floor room. Space is used very efficiently in this building. We drop off our stuff, check out our view which is nice, (everything is nice in VC) and head on out via taxi to Landmark, a highly regarded hot pot place. Fortunately it's still early, maybe about 6:30 when we get there, so there's no line whatsoever and we immediately get a table and hit up the orders. This place definitely beats down Hot Pot City by miles simply because their ventilation system is 100x better, not one trace of "cooking" scent was left on our clothes. The pot had two sides too, for different soup flavors. After making countless play money jokes, we leave via another taxi and head back to the hotel. In both taxi rides, we had quizzed our turbaned taxi drivers about the local "scenes". This was a questionable tactic, no doubt, but there was no real loss to it. Similar answers were given by both drivers, as Brandis and Cecil's were the s-joints to hit up and they named a bunch of different clubs which we already had a pretty good idea of. We make a quick stop in the shop downstairs and pick up a Romeo and Julieta Cubano each for our predicted success for the night.

After changing into clubbing attire, it's about 9:30 and we head back on out for the night scene. We first try to walk around the corner to Yoda, which was supposed to be a hip joint, but it looked pretty dead at the time and the door guy wanted $10 cover. We all veto on that and take a taxi to a more downtown location, Wet Bar. As the taxi drops us off at Wet Bar, my first impression is, dang this place reminds me of Hollywood Junction (the old club we used to go to when we first hit 16). It was more of a mixed ethnicity club, and there were kids dressed in jeans and a lot of wannabe punk look alikes. We start chatting up with this white couple in front of us, they both turned out to be about 26 or so. This was our first experience of just how nice white Vancouverians are. They answered all our questions we had about clubs and the scene, and we even had a shared laugh over this club that was known to be where you would go to "get shot at" after a recent incident. After standing in line for what was probably 20 minutes but what seemed like an hour, the 4 of us and our 2 new white friends decide to go to another club, one called Plaza. The white girl says "oh it's only a few blocks away". A few blocks turn out to be like 15 blocks, holy cow. 20 minutes later, we're outside Plaza, the line being about 15 people deep, and right off the bat, there are definitely some cuter asian girls in line. As we're waiting in line, we notice a lot of people getting in faster through the guest list line, sigh. Every 5 people via the short guest list line got in for every 3 people in the normal line. Anways, we finally get in after maybe only 10 minutes in line, the bouncers check id and the cover is $10. (all monetary figures in Canadien dollars of course). Plaza is a pretty big club, it looks a lot like Ruby Skye in its lay-out, except an oval bar is in the upper half of the downstairs part. The upstairs just has a small lounge/chill area with overhangs that you can look off of and scope people. So we have ourselves a round of Long Islands and start scoping talent. Another round was a weird concoction recommended to us by a cute blond waitress that Kz thought was hella fine. It had the taste of a liquid cocaine but lighter. Kz and I attempted to attack a pair of girls in white tank tops, who turned out to be pho life, as their names were Tran and Ann. Haha. Not much success there overall, as they turned out to be friends with the buff duo, esp the guy in red with the HOT chick in the tiny blue crop top *sigh*. Anyways, Cheng and Den had some fun with some girls named Kwok and Dave had a goalie come up to him and scream out "that's my wife!" or something. I chatted a little bit with cute girl in red top with a short skirt, she recommended checking out "Dv8" but she had a white bf. Oh well. Roughly two hours later, without having seen our white friends anywhere (we never even found out their names, nor did they ever ask for ours), we ditched Plaza and took a taxi to the Purple Onion, where Cheng said 3 of his girl friends were at.

As we got out of the taxi in front of Purple Onion, the line looked about 15 or 20 people deep. We stand in line for maybe 3 minutes and once again, the line is NOT MOVING. So Cheng and Kz head up and ask the door bouncer how much to get us in, and the little stocky asian bouncer (that Kz says is hella buff) replies $40 a piece. Yea right, so we say offer $30 a piece and the bouncer goes fine. (upon further review, we prolly should've just offered him $100 for all 4 of us, as it was obvious he just pocketed it). As soon as we hit upstairs, it was obvious we had found paradise. The music was straight hip-hop (unlike Plaza which was trance/techno), a mix of new and old (they even played speeded up Ieasha and Bel Biv Divoe!). The girls were just flat out hot, every asian girl seemed to be not only racked but wearing push-up thingies so they were flopping out everywhere. The club had a unique shape, with a large rectangle, with a rectangle inside, thus most people were grinding on the inside quad. Kz and Cheng had their eyes on this one bar tender chick with pretty eyes or something. Kz also liked this one other girl in white, but she brushed off any guy that tried to dance with her. I actually spent some time trying to find this cute girl in an adidas outfit that I saw right as I walked in but alas I was unable to find her again. Vancouver asian guys seem to all be lanky and thin, while the chicks all seem to wear those HK Superstar colored sunglasses. As the club is closing up around 2 am, we stay until the very end keeping tabs on the final scene. After we make our way out, we kinda loung outside for a bit debating what to do while asian girls seem to be doing their thing and passing out left and right. The group decision is to try and hit up this after hours club DV8 that others told us about. As we walk up the street a bit trying to flag down a taxi, all 6 of them that passed us were taken which was seriously beginning to suck. So we decide to flag down a stretch limo, and right as we do, these two girls come out of Club Roxi and ask if they can hitch a ride with us. They were two white girls, roughly 19 in age, I believe, totally having the candy kids look. As the driver comes out to negotiate a price with us, these 3 other people come up, 2 white guys and a happa looking chick and also ask to hitch a ride to another club. Why not is our philosophy, everyone is so nice. So we bargain a $60 tag for all of us and we all jump on in, the 4 whities on one side, Kz, Den, and Dave on the other, and me with the happa chick in the middle little section. Those 2 girls are quite wild as they started blasting music in the limo and everyone was singing along to GnR, Violent Femmes, etc. Kz, Cheng, and Denny were drooling over the happa chick sitting next to me, who was sporting this totally short skirt, and I must agree that she had some really nice legs. Although she (Lisa) was with the two white guys with British accents (I think they did say something about coming from the UK), one guy even grabbed her hand, but she definitely seemed very aloof from them, as her clean cut appearance was very different. The other young girl mentioned something about living in Whistler and her friend was her roommate. The time was approaching 2:30 am and Denny decided he wanted to crash so we dropped him off at the Westin and the rest of us headed on towards the other club. As local as that E-rolling chick was, she gave the limo driver some odd directions and we definitely did not see any clubs, until finally the limo driver said "that's it", and all of us got out at some random intersection. We said our farewells and parted ways.

Dave, Kz, and I headed down this one street, which someone had told us "oh, Dv8 is just down the block a few".. as we're walking we pass by a 97 cent pizza place, which looked oh so tempting! After about a 1 minute debate, Cheng decides he definitely wants pizza, so him and I go in while Kz asks a guy outside about if he knew where Dv8 was. Pizza slices actually came out to be $1.25 (after the weird canadien tax), which is definitely a bargain at this hour. We enjoy the hot slices of pizza for maybe 20 minutes until they close up at about 3:10 am, which then we trot down about 2 blocks only to see this dimly lit shack with the name "Dv8" on the outside. Imagine our disappointment to see this rumored after hours club turn out to be a 2 story joint, with the bottom floor filled with tables (and people dining) and what looked like a small dance floor upstairs. We didn't even bother going inside, as some drunk white guy came outside and gave us a quick lowdown about how there was food inside. Thanks for sharing such useful info. The three of us stand outside for maybe 15 minutes and finally decide that we're going to try and hit up Richmond to grab some late night Chinese food and maybe see some chicks. We take a taxi back to the Westin, upon which me and Cheng go upstairs to change while Kz waits downstairs for the valet to get the car. Denny is sprawled diagonally across the pull-out sofa bed, completely passed out. Dave starts talking to him and Denny wakes up momentarily only to hear Dave say something about "beef noodles". hahah. Since Cheng and KZ both had a lot to drink, I take the wheel. Before we leave however, the valet guy tells Kz about a club a few streets up that might be still open, however he suggests that we park somewhere safe as there are "crackwhores everywhere". As we drive down Abbott Street, it's pretty darn empty and we don't even hear any music. The most we see are a few homeless people and definitely some druggies. As soon as we hit the freeway, Cheng falls asleep. Kz is in the backseat chatting and keeping us sane. After 15 minutes, Kz says "hey cheng, cheng!" and finally Dave wakes up and we ask him if we have hit the Richmond exit yet. Dave looks around and expresses that he thinks we're still a few exits away, so I keep on driving. Eventually I mention that I had seen the airport exit maybe 5 exits back, and Dave goes "well, looks like we're headed to Seattle then". haha. I turn around, Dave falls back asleep, and I get off at the exit that says Richmond. For some strange reason it looks quite isolated, and there's no 99 North entrance anywhere, and after 10 minutes of random local driving, Kz and I observe this strip that seems to have some chinese restaurants on it but they are all closed. We follow the tall buildings and eventually end up driving through the sketchy hood of downtown Vancouver where hookers are residing on every corner. It was a most interesting scene. Finally we're back at the Westin at about 5 am and since Denny is still sprawled diagonally across the pull-out bed, I grab a couple of cushions and a towel and crash on the floor. No cubans were smoked. Undeserved!

Sunday begins with me and Denny waking up about 10:30 am to hit the Starbucks across the street to pick up some coffee (him and kz), a caramel frappucino (me), and some banana bread and this nifty rice krispy block. It was raining ever so slightly, but that was redeemed by a cute girl in red that was in the cafe. We take our jolly time getting ready and watching some collegiate ice hockey on tv. At about 1:30 pm, we finally check out and head off to this awesome dim sum place in Richmond called Kirin (I think it was named aptly after the beer) which is right next to a Bay mall. Dave ordered his chicken legs and they did not have fried sesame balls. But hyolee, the food there was so good. The next pleasant surprise was the check, we all guessed between 110 and 130 for the final bill, and our total came out to be.. $72! Simply unheard of. From there we drove what I later found out to be literally across the street a few blocks to Denny's parents condo. It was a really nice 2 bedroom condo, everything in it was almost literally brand new. Right next to our parking spot was this amusing little hatchback civic with a "patrolman" club thing on his steering wheel. We chill for a while at his parents condo, watch the Lakers vs Kings game, have a pleasant battle over whether or not Eric Snow is a cocky punk (Den and I) or a real nice guy (Dave and Kz) with his wacky looking smirk/smile. There were also some nice comments made about Dave's ability to read a baseball card while on the can. hahah. After sitting around for a bit, we decide to make way to Cheng's recommendation of an All-You-Can Eat Sushi place which I forgot what it was called.

The sushi place had some not too shabby waitresses, including one that totally looked like J. Pien and another named Zhen (Zen), as well as a waitor that looked like Ying. What was nice was you just sit at your table and the waiter/waitress would come over, take your huge order, and even thank you as they left. Our favorite ones included the korean bbq meat, the alaskan role, and Cheng's favorite was the geoduck (which Den did not really like because they weren't the best pieces of the fish). But hey, for $17 a piece, one can't complain. we also had a couple of the local Gransville Brewery beer. HOwever in the end, it was obvious that we had ordered way too many pieces of fish, and so operation 'hide-fish' began. Den first took apart one of the awful sushi rolls and shoved a bunch of fish into it. When the waitress came by to pick it up, she looked at it funny and then proceeded to go into the side area to take it apart and look at it. Dave executed the common hiding of the rice in the napkin procedure. The last manuever was classic, as Denny shoved pieces of tuna into his ginger and mixed it up. Our operation as a success as We didn't get charged extra for any of it. The plan was to kill some time and have a few drinks before we possibly would hit up Brandi's. We drove into a college town atmosphere by the boardwalk and ocean. There was a nice grassy knoll area right by the ocean, battle cruisers out in the bay, and an array of restaurants and cafes. We walked by this one restaurant with a long outdoor patio that was great for chillin'. After we put down our names, we walked back across the street to the grassy knoll where there was an outdoor entertainer giving a performance. His final act included some little girl, her dad, and giving the girl the decision of who to pie in the face. It was a nice way to kill time, as immediately afterwards we went back and got our table on the outdoor patio. Our waitress was friendly and we ordered these Bellini drinks, which were like icies with rum. The best part about them were the little plastic figures they put in our glasses, Dave and Kz got bulls and I got a mermaid. There were some cute girls sitting around, including one in white that Kz and Den noticed. The dessert and appetizer items looked quite appealing but unfortunately I was way too full. Next up, Brandi's.

We drove back into downtown VC and found Brandi's without problem. As we walked into the building to take the elevator, a group of maybe 5 fobs walked in too. Den and Dave noticed some weird psycho looking guy in the corner of the elevator too, but I didn't see him because I was in the front. Someone hit the 4th floor button and the elevator stopped on the 4th floor Massage place where a guy with a British accent walked in. One of the fobs tried to push the 5th floor button but it wasn't responding. The white guy goes "oh yea, Brandi's is closed tonight, that's why I went to get a massage". gg. So we head back downstairs, watch the fobs hail down a cab and the white guy goes "well, I am not from around here but Cecil's is right down the street a few blocks to the left..." and goes on to give us some quite detailed directions. As we are driving around, we can't agree on whether or not the motel we saw with the big Cecil's sign outside it is related to the club we were looking for, but after driving around for 15 minutes we decide to check out that motel with Cecil's on the outside. Lo and behold, the club is actuailly located on the backside of it. We park, pay a toony ($2 coin) for the meter via some homeless black guy who volunteers to "watch our car for us", and head on in. Not having an ID check nor having a cover charge really shows how weak sauce of a club this was. There was only 1 chick dancing on stage while another chick was giving massages. There were cuter girlfriends than dancers. We make our way to the back and grab a table upon which we are greeted with menu's for food. We are all extremely puzzled. We try hard to flag down the waitress to order some beers but to no avail, instead finally some waiter gets our order, and aftewards I ask him about the "booths" in the corner and he admits "yeah, that's the lap dance booth but there's only 1 girl working tonight, it's a slow night". Ugh. There is however a nice blond girl dancing on stage, but there is no interaction with the audience at all as there is like a 1 foot barrier between the stage and the nearest audience seat. After the club closes, we ditch the joint and drive on down Richmond trying to find a hot spot, Denny remembers seeing this "Viva Club" from back in the days next to a gas station, and eventually we see it but it's not open. There seems to be a restaurant or two with some people but we're not interested. I think the one hot spot was Boston Pizza, since we saw 5 people chilling outside it. We stop inside this sketchy asian pool hall to use the restroom. That was about it as we called it a night.

Monday started off with Cheng and Kz packing up to leave for the drive back. Fortunately Denny found enough towels for all of us beforehand. There was still time for a quick lunch however, and so we hit up this little chinese joint across the street. All of us had a version of beef noodles, hella cheap (like $4!!). Next door was this seafood store that dave and I checked out for a few minutes and they had giant alaskan crab there for only $12 a lb. Before Dave and Kz left, they dropped me and Den off at the airport so we could get a rental car to transport ourselves around. A humorous moment, as on the way there we saw many car rental agencies, to which Cheng was like "hey, why don't you guys just rent a car from here", to which Den replied "well, how would we get to the airport after we returned the car?" HAHA. We talked to Hertz and I think Avis, but we ended up choosing the first one, which had this fat white guy who was extermeley nice tho. He hooked us up with a PT Cruiser and then gave us clear directions on how to head on over to Silver City, even giving us a rundown of what was contained in the mall. Our PT Cruiser was purple, chromed out (like the handles and interior), and gawsh, there was sure a boatload of room in the front seats. There was even a little tray underneath the seat to store stuff. So we drive over to Silver City, which was told to us to be the 3rd largest mall in North America, and well I guess they weren't lying cause this place was humongous. Shops on 2 floors, a huge arcade, and then a 10 screen movie theatre on the 3rd floor even! We bought some tickets to watch a 3 pm showing of Insomnia, so in the meantime, we decided to cruise around the mall. I found this cool little stand that had the perfect little gifts that I wanted to get for Katrina, a moose and bear duo in Canadien Mountie gear! We sat outside this one store where there were some couches, and I went inside to check out some of the sights. Canadien people are so extremely nice, if I haven't said that enough times. Walking into one store, within a minute, all 3 sales clerks had said hi to me and inquired about my day. Before the movie, there was still 20 minutes to kill, so I got some tokens and we battled some new school Street Fighter vs Marvel or something of the sorts. The theatre itself was nice, stadium seating, quite empty. After the movie, we stopped by this little bread/dessert store in the Yaohan fob complex, where a nice loaf of sweet bread only cost a toony! Den was also hoping to show me the "Miss Canada Pageant" posters but they weren't up. As we left the chinese complex, we realized that the Avs/Red Wings had a game on but we had already left the more sports populated Vancouver and were in Richmond. Driving around Richmond, we found one within a few minutes... that happened to be right next to the condo! Great! So we parked and walked over, only to catch the last 2 minutes of the game which ended in a tie with overtime forthcoming.

and here's the speeded up version of the rest of our trip, as I want to post this. So after the bar, we went back to the condo to chill a bit, upon which my new friend Lisa called me and gave me directions to her house, since her parents were gone. We drive on over, Lisa has a nice house with a cool basement level. She entertains us with some piano and flute playing downstairs. Went back up to her living room, upon which I convinced her to let us see her room. She had that fashion modeling poster in her room, which has my cousin Marilyn's pic on it. Anyways, then her parents called and were about to come back heh, so we left. We took off for the airport the next morning. Overall it was a really fun trip, tons of fun memories!

BritneyOoooh Britney.. do it again and take me home!