My First Time Bar-hopping!

Hey guys!

So I went bar-hopping for the first time today! What is bar-hopping? It is synonymous with pub crawling, and basically means exactly what its name entails: visiting different bars for drinks. You will have to put up with my grainy photos with terrible lighting. To be fair, I did the best I could given I was using an iPhone camera and pubs are not usually known for having the brightest lighting.

20121231-005150.jpg

The Storm Crow Tavern

20121231-005216.jpg

The Doctor Who table!!

We decided to hit up the Commercial Drive area first, since one of my friends worked near there. The first place we went to was the Storm Crow Tavern. This was not our first time there– actually, it was our third visit this month I think. The Storm Crow is this great little pub with cheap food (all their food items are $6 from what I remember), and a great atmosphere. There are board games that anyone can just grab and play when you are enjoying your drink, and the whole pub has a nerdy/geeky-esque decor. They play Star Trek on their TV, as well as other awesome geeky favourites. Their wall decorations are also awesome! There are signed photos from several of the Doctors, Game of Throne actors/actresses, and other fancy memorabilia! The washrooms also have World of Warcraft figurines to indicate which one is for males, and which one is for females. If it is not obvious, I love this place.

20121231-005224.jpg

I had a Screwdriver here, which I enjoy. Screwdrivers are great because the orange masks the taste of the vodka so well. I like alcohol, but I hate the taste of alcohol if that makes any sense.

20121231-005235.jpg

Food at St. Augustine’s

Our drinks at St. Augustine's. I had the one with the cherry garnish-- the Tequila Sunrise.

Our drinks at St. Augustine’s. I had the one with the cherry garnish– the Tequila Sunrise.

After Storm Crow, we went to St. Augustine’s, which was just down several blocks. We also ordered food here. I knew we were probably going to go to another pub, so I went for a salad and stole a slice of my friend’s pizza. πŸ˜› I tried the Tequila Sunrise. It was pretty, but I thought that it did not mask the taste of the tequila very well, but I still ended up downing it. St. Augustine’s had good food, but of course, was pricier than Storm Crow. However, they have a huge selection of beers here. In all, the food was good, but soon enough we were off again.

Food at the Cove

Food at the Cove

Drinks at the Cove!

Drinks at the Cove!

We picked up the car, since our driver only had one drink so far, and he had time to let it wear off. We then headed to the Cove, which also had board games. I opted for some greasy food here and had their pulled pork poutine. For drinks, I first had their Dark and Stormy– only to realize I hate ginger beer. I have never had ginger beer before, but I thought I would like it since it was basically pop. I was wrong. I gave half of it to my friend to finish, and then ordered a Bloody Caesar. That was good. I have never had a Boody Mary before, but to me, a Caesars tasted like cold soup with hot sauce. Not in a bad way.

Overall, bar-hopping was fun, but exhausting. You get pretty buzzed from the drinks, and you know how a bit of alcohol makes you feel warm, nice, and sleepy? I really felt tired of it after switching over from our first pub, but we decided to keep going. We finished off with three pubs, which is not a lot, but for a first time, I thought it was decent. It was fun to settle down in various pubs, and sip on different drinks in a new atmosphere again and again. But like I said, it does get physically tiring.

It is now New Year’s Eve! I better hurry and make some resolutions (that I will ultimately fail, but they are fun to make regardless)! Feel free to recommend some bars/pubs around the Vancouver area that you particularly liked! I LOVE places with board games, because alcohol and board games mean only one thing: hilarity! So drop down some pub names below!

Cheers!

-Karen

PNE 2012 (Food and Pictures)

I guess I did get to go to the PNE/Playland this year! I thought that with the limited amount of time left, school would start before I could go. Thankfully, my friend Mary Anne called me up and we decided to go today!

I am not very into rides. I basically get heart attacks when I am on them…so it turned into us pigging out at a lot of the food stands there!

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Their BBQ food area never ceases to amaze me. The food there is just so good!

Mini Donuts

I feel like everyone who goes there gets one of these! So we had to fit in.

Colossal Onion

My friend and I both thought this would be amazing since onion rings definitely are. We ended up throwing most of this away..not sure if it was just this one onion, but the insides are not totally cooked and soft. The sting of raw onion when you were not expecting it really sucks.

Cotton Candy

Overpriced Cotton Candy. But then again, everything at PNE is overpriced. We got this so we would have something to much on during the Superdog show πŸ™‚

Got a random slushie to wash down those donuts

Corn Dog

Mary Anne had her first hot dog! I did not know anyone who lived in Vancouver and had not had a corn dog before! She loved it. As expected. πŸ™‚

Some non-food pictures

The alpaca! Or was it a llama? This little guy looked at me when I called it for a picture πŸ˜€

Me on the ferris wheel πŸ™‚

Until next time!

-Karen

The End of Sleeping In

It’s that time of year again. School is going to start real soon and I have found myself filling all my remaining days with some sort of activity to squeeze whatever I can out of my summer.

I am very excited to be going camping today! It will be my first time camping outdoors– ever! (Unless if you count that time we camped in my friend’s backyard…but we definitely were not roughing it out at all.) Four friends and I will be going to Sasquatch Provincial Park. In a matter of hours, we will be setting up our tent!

Now that we are preparing (basically done at this point) for our trip, I realized how much work this all is. I have also been reading up on some camping tips and honestly, I find some of them quite terrifying. I will update when I get back so I will remember what it was like when I look back on my first camping trip!

In other news, my friends and I went to Society down at Yaletown for a goodbye get-together for my friend who is going off to Toronto for university. I really did not have high hopes for this place as I had googled it before going and they had pretty bad reviews. However, I thought that the pizza I ordered was decent, and my friend’s truffle mac n’ cheese was pretty good. My friends who got the Chicken Gnocchi said it tasted mediocre… so I guess our group had mixed reviews. We ended it all off with a Junk Food Platter! What really caught my eye was how pretty it looked! It tasted pretty good, though the macaron was not soft enough.

My pizza– the Ultimate Meat pizza πŸ˜›

The Junk Food Platter

On the other hand, the restaurant itself was annoying. The music was on very loud, so it is definitely not the ideal place to sit and chat, or catch up with friends. I felt like we were shouting most of the time. But then, there were pink chandeliers Β inside so it looked really nice. It was the perfect lounge for a girl’s night out, but not so much for chilling and talking.

That is it for now! I will update after my camping trip! Hope you guys are enjoying the sun!

-Karen

 

My Journey to America’s Final Frontier

Yes, you would be right if you thought I meant Alaska. Amazing how Russia soldΒ 586,412 square miles of land for only 2 cents an acre! But then again, Russia probably thought they were getting a good deal for this vast wasteland. Little did they know oil and natural gas would be found there.

My family and I went on a cruise to Alaska. My dad loves cruises, so for our family vacation this year we decided to go to Alaska. Cruises to Alaska departs from Vancouver, which is perfect for us. It also is one of the longer cruises, as it lasts for 8 days, 7 nights. Most of the cruises we went on in Asia lasted a maximum of 5 days since all the Asian countries were so close together.

I must say, I enjoy cruises here a lot more than I did in Asia. Everyone is more polite (and I am mostly referring to the passengers on it), and the vibe is just better.

We chose to go on the Celebrity Century. And by we, I mean my dad, since he plans all the family vacations. I liked the ship enough, but nothing made it stand out particularly from other cruise ships.

A view of the Vancouver Skyline from our cruise ship

We left on Sunday, the 24th of June. When we boarded, they told us our rooms were not ready yet. So everyone headed to the Islands Cafe for brunch. I do not know how many times I visited the Islands Cafe during the whole cruise, since it was the food joint that was opened latest and was a buffet area. For dinners, there was a more formal venue– The Grand Restaurant. Every family had their own waiters and assistant waiters, and ours came from Singapore and Croatia respectively. I always find it really interesting how the crew on a cruise ship always came from all corners of the world. In my cruise to Vietnam several years ago, the staff/crew had little flags of their home country right next to their name on their name tags. It never failed to amaze me how many different flags I saw.

Aboard the ship, there were performances at night. I particularly liked the night when they did a show they called “A Touch of Broadway”. Everything was so colourful! I also enjoyed Jay Mattioli’s magic performances. He incorporated a lot of dancing and jokes, keeping the audience entertained throughout his whole performance!

A Touch of Broadway

Jay doing his thing

They also had a theatre, playing different movies everyday. I was so happy they showed War Horse (obsessed with Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch), the latest Mission Impossible (Jeremy Renner!) and then In Time (Cillian Murphy!) during my cruise. I really liked War Horse (though I have seen it before), and thought that Mission Impossible and In time was okay, but it was like a never-ending fangirling theatre. Well, for me anyway.

My dad alone in the fangirl theatre πŸ˜›

For this cruise to Alaska, we stopped at three ports. At one port, Juneau, I was surprised they had a little tribute to their beloved governor. And by tribute, I mean they make fun of her. πŸ˜›

For souvenirs, I really did not know what to bring back to my friends. I thought their dream catchers were pretty cool, until I turned the tag around and saw that it was proudly made in British Columbia. Now why would I go all the way to Alaska to bring back something I could have gotten at home? Plus, are not most of the people who visit these souvenir shops from B.C. anyway? Hmm. Anyway, I ended up getting a couple of ulu knives. Nothing says I had a good trip than bringing back knives for my friends.

Along the way, our ship also steered close to some glaciers so that everyone could take pictures and whatnot. I thought it was really beautiful how the glaciers actually looked blue like they do in paintings. It was also a bit traumatizing when you hear the ships’ pick clawing its way through the ice drifts in order to get closer to the glacier. The whirring and scraping noise made me think of the Titanic again and again. However, all turned out well and we did not end up having to evacuate the ship.

Nearing the glaciers. Here I was wearing flip flops and trying not to let the cold get to me.

Yeah, I know it is summer and we chose to go to icy mountains. Not my idea of a summer event, but hey, it was fun! However, when going out on the deck to take pictures of the glaciers and snow capped mountains, I had to wipe my eyes quite several times. Not because I was being dramatic and emotions were overwhelming, but because the winds were so cold it actually hurt. I was also the fool who decided to wear sandals out on the deck (being too lazy to go back to my cabin to change). Ahh, summer.

So overall, it was a very relaxing trip. I finally felt I could unwind after my hectic first year at university. I also gained quite a bit of weight seeing as how I was eating five (or more) meals a day, all being all-you-can-eats. Here you can have some pictures of my food aboard the ship:


I will now stop with the food spam.

So here are my tips for cruises!
– learn the ships’ layout after you get on. Take your time discovering where the restaurants are, where their lounges are, etc. It will help when you read your ships’ daily itinerary, or else you will panic and run around looking for their “Fiesta Deck”. Well, maybe not. You would probably ask a staff, but it is so much easier knowing your surroundings.
– always book your dinner reservations (they usually ask you during registration for your cruise). If you think you will figure it out after you get on the ship, good luck. I saw this huge line of people trying to do their booking after the ship set sail and they did not look happy.
– when you get your ships’ activity schedule of the day, look through it and circle things you want to attend then plan out when you will eat and how your day will look. Otherwise, you end up missing a show that you really wanted to watch, or a class that you intended to try out!
– always get off when you arrive at a port. It feels good to stand on solid ground after days of being on swaying ground. It took me several days after I came back home to adjust. I still felt like the floor was moving below me.
– watch your food intake. Haha, just kidding. It is a cruise. The chocolate fountains and dessert buffets are irresistible.
– pack formal wear along with your casual wear. And if you want, throw in a little smart casual in there too. Some restaurants and times of the day call for different attire. They may even not let you in to a restaurant if you are not in the proper attire.
– if you know you will get sea sick, get pills or those motion sickness arm bands ahead of time. You do not want to feel horrible during your amazing trip. I was seasick for the first two days until I gave in and bought pills. It sucked missing their awesome breakfasts during those days.
-go out on the deck. Enjoy the view. When else can you catch a glimpse of nothing but sea, stretching out to as far as the eye can see! It is as if nothing else exists and it is just you and the body of water you are on. The sunsets are also amazing. It is undisturbed and unobstructed by buildings one usually finds in the city.

Seriously, go out and enjoy the deck!

So that is all from me today! This post definitely came late, but I wanted to document my trip all the same!
Until next time!

-Karen