A week ago, I volunteered as a hair model for a beauty convention. Don’t ask how I got roped into this. Something to do with a free trip and a cute girl. But the city is mine for four days and I plan to make the most of it.
Day One. The flight is direct but West Jet is lost in the first half of this decade (they don’t have Wi-Fi). The thought of actually having to read for three hours turns out to be far more terrifying than it actually is. Breezing through customs, I’m at my hotel in Coal Harbour in 45 minutes.
After a quick shower, I walk over to Miku. It’s the sort of sushi place that makes you wonder if everyone in Japan is filthy rich or if the actual cost of sushi is a national secret. Three hours later, I’m starving and $160 lighter, I need a cocktail. My date agrees.
I talk to a few locals and final get a solid recommendation: The Diamond. It’s everything a cocktail bar should be. Understated but not hidden. I order a Penicillin and continue on through a Fibonacci spiral of drunkenness. Pretty soon I’ve made friends with the couple on my right (first date) and the guys to my left (“bro date”). In 20 minutes we’re all at the same table, sharing how we lost our respective virginities.
Day Two. I wake up and take a look in the mirror. My face is covered in gelato. Obviously a bad decision coming home from the Diamond. My date is pissed and unlaid. I cure her celibacy and then head to Stanley Island for a run. It’s a national park with a 7 mile running trail around the circumference. The place is unreal. I get lost in its beauty and throw down my fastest 10k on record. At least according to the Nike app.
I’m perfectly aware of how vain this sounds, but I have this preconceived notion that only girls in sunny places take care of themselves. After visiting Kitsilano Beach, I find out that I’m dead wrong. It’s covered with amazingly good looking people. I spend the day lounging with my date, snacking on smoked gruyere and prosciutto from the public market on Granville Island. After watching the sunset, I cruise Groupon for a place to eat. Dark Table pops up. Sounds interesting. I make a reservation.
Dark Table turns out to be exactly what it sounds. The place is devoid of light. You order prefix before entering, then your blind server leads you to your table. The idea is that without sight, your other senses are heightened, including taste. Anxiety is also heightened and, avoiding a panic attack, my date pops a Xanax. About 20 minutes into our meal she’s asking about kids. Where’d that Xanax go?
Day Three. I drive about an hour outside of Vancouver to find some outdoors. I choose a hike called the Chief. Lost in the consigner’s recommendation is that the elevation gain is in meters, not feet. It’s an outdoor stair master. The beautiful people in Kitsilano must climb this fucking thing every day. But as soon as I hit the first peak, I realize the 2,000 calories burned were worth it. Gorgeous views of Howe Sound. 300 foot waterfalls. Huge trees. I’m starting to love this place.
That night I meet up with some of my date’s coworkers. We head to the Flying Pig where I try Canada’s national dish, Poutine. I’ve been hearing about Poutine since I got here. When it comes out, I find that it’s basically nachos with soggy French Fries instead of tortilla chips. Sorry Canada. Not impressed.
Day Four. I fulfill my duties as a hair model. Maybe a hundred people watch as I receive a cut that I could never afford. There’s no mirror, making me truly at the mercy of the stylist. After the cut is complete, I get my first look. To my shock, the stylist has actually altered my hairline. I didn’t know that was possible. But it looks good. I make a mental note to do a few laps around the city later.
It’s time to leave. I grab a quick cocktail at Pour House and wonder why I’m just now discovering this place. Truly original craft cocktails. While their menu isn’t as robust as the Diamond’s, the “Dealers Choice” will give you enough variety to drink all day. I give myself a healthy buzz before calling a cab.
The airport is a bitter sweet moment. I’m in love with Vancouver. The weather is perfect. The women are attractive. The cocktails are boozy. But I know in a month the impending cold will make this a hellish place. Goodbye for now Vancouver. I love you.