I know I'm going to have at least a few days like this before I leave Vancouver. Days that have me saying out loud, "Why on earth am I leaving this ridiculously amazing city?"
Sally and I hopped on the 98 B-line at Broadway and Granville, and twenty minutes later stood in the hot, dusty traffic of Richmond. Across the busy street lay our destination: Aberdeen Centre.
The Asian Mall.
I had no camera, and it's almost impossible to share in words the wonders of this magical place. There is a dancing fountain. It dances, to music. The ceiling of the building features a moving cloudscape. The building itself is laid out in the most ridiculously indirect path, all the better to get you walking past as many stores as possible. Most of the stores are filled with overpriced clothes. One store features "Japanese" fashions (ultra cool multi-hued babydoll dresses, stripey varsity sweaters, swarovski crystal jewellery) most of which I'm pretty sure came from Value Village and have been relabeled. One store bucks this overpriced trend (or toonies it, haha): Daiso. The two dollar store. Yes, you've been to dollar stores. It's not one of those. It's filled with everything you could possibly imagine (incontinence pads, makeup, chopsticks, plastic flowers, origami paper, wool, mugs, vases, piggy banks, and on, and on) for two dollars! For anything! And all laid out fairly nicely, like a sort of hodge-podgey department store. Two floors! Although, as I said to Sally once we were safely outside, I feel like everything is made of lead and weird chemicals, and I don't think I would buy anything that would actually ever touch my skin.
Neither Sally nor I was tempted by any of the treasures. We were there for one reason only: to eat. We wandered around the food court, overwhelmed by all the choices. We decided to split a few things: Deep fried squid, deep fried tofu (tofu is healthy!), wonton noodle soup, and steamed dumplings. Yum, yum, and yum.
But we were really there for dessert.
I have been hearing about Beard Papa's since they opened up just over six months ago. Japanese Cream Puffs. That is all you need to know. Okay, no, you need to hear more. Apparently the pastry part is made of two layers. Choux pastry inside, and a flakier "Pie crust" pastry outside. This makes them a little bit crispier than other cream puffs I've had. The pie crust taste is a little weird, but the filling makes up for it. AMAZING. Vanilla custard mixed with whipped cream. They were holy cow delicious.
Then we wandered around, tried to find Parker Place (another Asian mall, this one with more affordable clothing choices). Couldn't figure out where it was. Went back to Aberdeen Centre, watched some more dancing fountain. Got some mediocre bubble tea (Sally's was apparently good. My green tea/milk tasted, as they often do, like it was made with non-dairy creamer. Gross. Which is good because it's not like I really needed it (though this trip was not about need; it was about cramming as much Vancouver suburb awesomeness as I possibly could into my short time before I leave, boo hoo).
Then: PHOTOBOOTH PICTURES! Ta dah! The beautiful pictures that grace the head of this post were the most complicated to achieve ever. Gone are the days of coin, sit, picture. We went into five booths before we found one that would take our money. There were two cameras, and it was kind of like dance dance revolution figuring out which side to pose for. It took about a bajillion pictures, us swivelling the entire time, and finally it gave us the shortest minute of my life with which to pick which ones we wanted to print. I didn't even have time to pick the full six we were allowed, so we managed to get four, and not even the four best ones. I look like I'm posing as an American Gladiator, or a Sci-fi channel TV movie star in the two middle ones. THEN! We had to go outside the booth where we had something like 300 seconds to adorn our pictures with hearts and stars and glory. I gave up after accidentally giving us both green mullets that I couldn't figure out how to erase. Luckily Sally is a star and got us back to normal. Is it a sign of my age that I prefer the regular plain ones? Probably.
Anyways, all this writing is to get across the fact that I had an awesome day, and this is an awesome city, and I am going to miss it so much. I'm excited about Halifax, and from everything I hear it's a wonderful place, and I know I'll have a great time, but man. This city. It's a special place.