Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
Vacation is a Good Thing

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  

Everyone needs a break. Without time off from work I am certain I would be just another bleary-eyed corporate zombie. That being said, let's launch into the vacation...

Good Lord, what was I thinking -- Vancouver, BC in February? I left on Thursday the 20th at oh-god-30 in the morning with my girlfriend from sunny Orange County and arrived at Sea-Tac. Although Seattle had not quite washed away by that time, it struck me that I perhaps could use my luggage for a floatation device should I be washed away. Friday wasn't much better, Saturday was partly cloudy and Sunday was the most gorgeous blue sky I had seen in four days. Of course, that was the day we left.

We went on a walking tour of downtown Vancouver (up & down Robson St) with a stop at Steamworks and a brief foray into Stanley Park on Friday. Saturday was a trip to Granville Island with a couple of friends of mine, Lana & Sergei. We walked around, admired the artists village, quaffed a few beers at the Granville Island Brewery and were taken aback by the incredible variety of foods made from salmon.

I gained seven pounds on this trip. I kid you not.

Thursday's dinner was at a Thai restaurant where I had stir-fry duck and Ann had some kind of oyster sauce thingy. That was it -- afterwards we crashed.

Friday morning was Vietnamese take-out for breakfast (OK, lunch really -- we woke up around noon). The snack between lunch & dinner was confectionary coffee from Second Cup, the biggest pile of sugar disguised as coffee I had ever had. On top of that I got a pastry from Chateau Bakery outside of the hotel -- it was delicious. My heart strained, lethargic corpuscles barely carried oxygen to my head. I believe my hemoglobin was replaced with sucrose at that time. Dinner was at Rasputin, a Russian restaurant complete with some guy with a mustache playing an electric balalaika. Expect lots of meat in a Russian restaurant. We had salmon caviar, lamb, beef and chicken kabobs, honey grilled chicken and a couple totally unidentifiable meats. It was *all* good. Dessert was pavlova, napoleon and "cheesecake" (in quotes because it really wasn't, but it was good anyway). I rolled right out of there.

Saturday was a little more restrained. Right. ;) The four of us got together for breakfast at Crepes Escape below the hotel where Sergei & Lana had strawberry & chocolate crepes. My crepes had every meat on the menu stuffed into it and a couple of extras just to make sure it was a meal. Ann had artichoke hearts and other psuedo-healthy things in hers. Once again, I rolled away from the table. Saturday night we had Dungeness crab, spinach saute and steamed broccoli. I think my eating habits had inspired everyone else to finally ingest some greens.

Sunday morning was a quick breakfast -- sugar coffee from Second Cup and a pastry (cream cheese danish with powdered sugar. I think I went briefly comatose). The afternoon lunch was Asian Chicken Pizza at Pike's Brewery in Seattle.

The food was fantastic, the coffees damn near killed me and the pastries were scrumptious. I really need to stay away from Vancouver for a while.

No trip is complete without some drinking. At least for me. I had a sample of Granville Island's brews and their English Bay Pale Ale is a winner with me. Just the right flavor and body. I drank it every day on the trip.

Friday night at Rasputin were five shots of Finlandia Cranberry Vodka with Sergei. Nothing clears out your palate (and sinuses) like iced vodka.

Saturday was Cuban rum at Lana & Sergei's. They had recently traveled to Cuba and brought back several rum bottles and cigars. I had high expectations for the rum and was terribly disappointed by all but the heaviest, most sugary make. A couple samples tasted just this side of Vicks 44 mixed with turpentine. We turned one of the better bottles into mojitos which, along with the cigars, made for a pleasant end to the evening.

Sunday was the sampler at Pike's Brewing company in Seattle. I liked the Naughty Nellie's Ale; Ann was unimpressed with all of their brews. I snuck another English Bay at the airport.

Ann and I arrived at the Lonsdale Quay Hotel right on the wharf in North Vancouver. We had gotten a junior suite. As we walked in I don't think we realized it was going to be, uh, themed. In search of a little jungle love? The room was ready for it, from the leopard print comforter to the African art to the funky lamps. Fortunately our safari featured no wild animals. Otherwise I would have been forced to buy this.

Other than a lighter wallet and a heavier midsection, the trip was a wonderful diversion from some of the pettier corporate silliness that manifests itself daily. Plus, my staff got time away from me. And that's A Good Thing.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 2/25/2003 12:44:00 PM

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