I started my job at Stanley’s last Thursday and so far have been enjoying it. I work with a good bunch of people, in a truly beautiful and unique location and I’m slowly but surely adapting to my new role. The restaurant is part of the Daniel Hospitality Group who own several bars and restaurants in Vancouver and have been voted one of BC’s top hospitality employers to work for. So far so good. However, I must admit the hours are a bit of a concern. During the interview I was told the current hours of operation are 11.00 to 16.00; therefore, I assumed, 5 hours a day, 5 days week – which with the added bonus of tips, would be enough to cover living costs with some beer money left over. In reality, I’m lucky if I’m getting 3 hours a day at the moment, and if it’s raining, I simply lose my shift! Things are set to pick up in July and August when the restaurant busies up and extends it’s opening hours, but in the meantime I’m facing a bit of a dilemma – especially with Junuary on the way! (We’ve been told that the month of June is often referred to as Junuary by Vancouverites as the weather can pretty unpredictable and usually rains a lot).
On Friday night I was invited along to a colleague’s birthday party, which was being held at her apartment. It was a good chance for me to meet the people I’d be working with and it certainly seems like the job has a good social aspect to it with a definite work hard, play hard attitude. I also invited Thom to come along after his shift as this was the first real opportunity we’ve had since our arrival to socialise with other people, and I thought it would do us both some good to have a change of scenery. Without intending to, we ended up walking all the way home that night in our quest for pizza! Unfortunately, though perhaps not unsurprisingly, most places had closed by 01:00 so we returned home empty handed. On the bright side, we compensated the following morning by heading to White Spot in Kitsilano for a tasty brunch, which certainly helped see off any lingering hangovers. We were served by a really nice guy of similar age to us who spent ages chatting to us (probably to the detriment of his other tables), as he is heading to Europe in a couple of months to spend a year working and traveling and was keen to get some advice and recommendations on things to see and do. Our InterRail experiences definitely came in handy and it reminded us how lucky we are to have seen so many places at a relatively young age.
On Tuesday, both Thom and I had the day off so we decided to make a day of it and visit the Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanley Park. Admission was $23 each (you get a $2 discount if you produce a valid bus ticket), which works out at around £15 – the same as Deep Sea World! We’d heard mixed reviews of the Aquarium but I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I’d anticipated. It was also a good opportunity for Thom to do some photography. The Aquarium runs a series of daily shows and programs that are repeated at various times throughout the day so over a four hour period you should have the chance to see everything that’s an offer. While crowd pleasers like the Dolphin and Beluga (that’s a species of whale by the way) Show were certainly impressive, I think I most enjoyed the ‘Treasures of the BC Coast’ exhibit, which featured samples of the various habitats, and the weird and wonderful marine creatures found therein, which can be located along the BC coastline. The 4D film, ‘The Great Salmon Run’, was also pretty cool, as smells, wind, and bubbles are all used to add to the 3D experience. That said, the novelty of being squirted in the face the water wore pretty thin after the 3rd time! The film was produced by the BBC and I’m almost certain that it was the same footage used in the The Great Bear Stakeout, which was shown on BBC One in the UK last week (yes, we’re still watching British tele). I would recommend a visit to the Aquarium, but only if you’ve got time to spare as there are so many other things to see and do in and around Vancouver.
To round off what had been an already lovely day, Thom and I ventured up to Alibi Room on the edge of Gastown for a few beers and something to eat. Alibi Room gets almost top marks on all major review sites and was somewhere we’d earmarked for a visit before arriving; we had tried to get here sooner but we’d chosen a Saturday night and the place was already packed out by the time we arrived so couldn’t get a table. This time we were there shortly after opening (keen beans that we are) so we didn’t miss out, although even on a weekday, the place filled out remarkably quickly. This place has over 50 taps of beer to choose from – 50 TAPS!! – so having been spoiled for choice, we decided to elect for the Frat Bat – a wooden paddle with holes carved out for four 6oz sample glasses. The food here is also pretty tasty; the menu may not be vast but at least what they do offer is good quality. Thom and I both had the bison cheese steak sandwich – delicious!
We also think we may have found our local after Thom and I spent an impromptu few hours at The Academic on West Broadway the other night, enjoying sleeves of Fat Tug (brewed in Victoria, BC) for less than £4. They also do daily food deals and drink promotions so may be a good place to head for a thrifty bite to eat.