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Oh, Canada.

This weekend a group of us went to Vancouver, B.C. to celebrate Cory's (belated) birthday. Raye, Dani and I took the train up there which was cheaper than I expected, actually, and a great way to get up there without having to deal with the BS at the border. Problem is the hours of the train arent' very good and departure time was 7:45 in the am. But despite me getting off at the wrong bus stop on the way to the trainstation and getting dropped off on Edger Martinez drive, in kind of a homeless camp under the bridge, and having to walk the literal length and width of two stadiums, I got there before the other girls. We got our seat assignments and got a set of seats with a table, which is what we wanted. Raye brought mimosa makings so we had mimosas over the 4 hour ride up north, which is quite lovely.

We hit town a bit after 11am and cabbed it up to the hotel, which was super cute. It looked all 50s and retro, they had art of disgraced disney princeses and discontent Barbie and Ken. it was a hip little place and so friendly. The three of us were getting hangry and ended up at the bar where, come the end of the trip we were to go to watch the Hawks game on Sunday. We went in and I was in my Canadian happy place with poutine at our table and curling on tv.

I almost forgot to mention that this was a great time to go to Canada. The dollar was the lowest it has been in 13 years, 69 cents to the American dollar so things were super cheap for us up there. It's not often when I travel that that is the case, so it's nice to enjoy it when it does happen.

We stayed the sports bar waiting for Christine and Cory and Ginger and William to show up. Once they did we ate some lunch and then went back to the hotel and hung out in Christine & Cory/Ginger & William's room for a bit and talked and drank. Eventually the fellas went to the mall and I was getting itchy feet so i looked into nearby places I could get my tattoo and we eventually got ourselves together to go out and see if i could get my tattoo there and then. Unfortunitly, they couldn't take me at that moment so I made an appointment for noon the next day. That would keep me from getting too wasted, I guess.

We started the evening at the bar near the tattoo joint, which was actually a bar at the hostle that Raye & the Bushkas stay at when they visit Vacouver for hocky games, funnily enough. Here we reunited with the two men of the group, dressed all dapper for the strip club in the evening. We walked and attempted to bar hop on our way to the strip club but it really proved difficult, there being 8 of us and all. It was difficult to come to a consensus on what to do, we kind of wandered around aimlessly, quite often it seemed. 8 is just too many people for traveling, I've decided. Next time I head up there to Canada, I think 5 is the maximum number of folks to have.

Eventually we got the the stip club we were aiming for. We're pretty sure they made the cover double for us when they saw our US passports, but wahtever. We found a place to sit (that was reserved byt they didn't move us untill those people showed up) and took it in. We weren't sure how the tipping was supposed to go with the $1 and $2 coins but we soon found out as soon as the first of us made the mistake of putting a coin on the stage and got chewed out by the dancer. Apparently $5 is the minimum and bills only. It was not the most efficient club either, there was ages between dancers. It was not the best but it wasn't the worst either and I still enjoyed watching the ladies and figuing out the difference in this other country.

At the end of the night, the others, except Raye, Dani and I got into a limo for a ride back to the hotel. The three of us abstained from the limo ride for our own reasons, mine being I don't get into cars of strange men who approch me ouside a strip club at night. Just a rule I have. The five of them I presume headed back to the hotel. The three of us checked out a pub I wanted the check out by our hotel, The Morrisey Pub, which had a good beer selection and excellent music. It was a much needed chill out night cap before we headed back to the hotel.

The next morning we went out for breakfast before it was time for me to go to my appointment. While I was getting my tattoo the others wandered around a bit and made arrangement for also getting tattos and mani/pedis. Raye and Dani accompanied me to the tattoo place and Raye ended up sitting upstairs with me while I was getting it done. In honor of David Bowie, I got the opening line of my favorite Bowie song, "Life on Mars," written on the back of my forearm.

Betty, my tattoo artist who was quite cool an unintimidating.

I'm quite happy with it. It's a memorial to Bowie, it helps with the grieving, and it's special to me (also my first tattoo of words). I looked forward to showing it off at the Bowie tribute thing we aimed to attened that night.

After getting my tat done we met up with the others at this other nearby sports bar but the volume got too loud and Christine and Cory had to leave. Then it was time for manipedis and tatoos anyway. Raye Dani and I ended up headed back to the hotel to relax for the afternoon before going out.

Going out Saturday turned out to be a bit of a clusterfuck as well, again problems with the 8 people. Also things weren't what they seemed. The basic idea was thus: dinner, check out Bowie party, go do kareoke until it's time to stumble back to the hotel. Dinner was dificult at first becasue there were 8 of us and it's hard to get a table w/out a reservation for that many folks. However it turned out okay becasue we actually had a really nice meal at an Indian place. It was Dani's first time at an indain restaurant, believe it or not. We should have coordinated becasue we ended up with too much naan bread and way too much rice and the bill took forever to sort out, when it really didn't have to but otherwise it was a very nice meal and an enjoyable experience.

After dinner we walked over to where the Bowie thing was happening, It was not so much in the "ballroom" of a hotel, as advertized,  that was a bit of an exageration, to say it was in the cocktail lounge of a hotel, is a more accurate description. It was croweded but the festivities hadn't started yet. I was willing to give it a chance but a lot of people in our party didn't seem silling to sick it out for a cocktail. I couldn't handle looking at Billie's sour-puss face and listening to her derogitory commenents I said, fuck it you guys don't like it, lets go. Oh have I not mentioned Billie? Yeah she was there and Raye, Dani and I couldn't stand her. She was rude, abrasive, and just an all round ugly, horrible person whose additute was really wearing thin by that point. i havn't mentioned her untill this point beasue she's not worth my time to type about until now, when it's pertinent to the story becasue one of the things I was most looking forward to I was willing to just forego becasue predominintly this cunt's ugly sour-puss face and aditude. I wasn't happy about it but I couldn't take it. Besides it wasn't my birthday, it was Cory's.

So we split up into two groups and headed to the next stop for the night, the kareoke bar. Christine, Billie, Ginger and William took the first cab there, while Raye, Dani, Cory and I waited for the next one, which took a while to get there. Once we were finally in our cab we got a frantic call from Christine saying "don't go there, they're closed go here instead" so we went to this other place instead. When we got to this other place, which we realized they mush have obviously found on-line on the fly, it was a) posh and b) closed for a private party.
Finally we ran into Christine who gave us the turth that the kareoke bar was, in fact, actually a brothel, which they didn't figure out untill they got inside. See what happens when you forsake the Bowie?

At this point the clusterfuckery of the night was just so much so that I couldn't help but laugh and laugh. We went to a little cafe that was nearby and got the details of the jaunt to the brothel that was definitly not a kareoke bar. We walked around so much after that looking for a bar that would take us. Between places with covers and places without seating we ended up walking all the way back to near our hotel, to the place next to the sports pub where we started our weekend at this place called the Two Parrots. There we filled the juke box with David Bowie and actually had a very pleasurable time drinking and laughing until it was almost chucking out time.

Sunday morning, the rest of the group headed off home while Raye, Dani and I had hours until our train left. Raye made plans with a friend of hers to meet up and watch the hawks game and Dani and I joined. Dani came later and didn't see the embarassing first half that had us burring our heads in our hands. There was brief hope in the second half but, alas, that was the end of the season for the hawks. It was cool though to be in a bar full of Seahawks fans while traveling. I mean it's not like we were super far away it would make sense that there be hawks fans in our neighbouring city in the neighboring country but still it was neat.

After the game we got transit passes and made a trek to see Stanley Park. There was a lot of bar hopping and almost no sight seeing on this trip. I prefer a mix of the two, myself but at least I got to go to the park so that I could see the lovely view of the skyline and take pcitures.

And raye showed me how to take panoramic pictures on my phone! Check it!

We went back to the hotel to pic up our luggage then bussed it back to the train station to head home. The train ride back was more relaxed and invoved way more napping, though at the bourder US boder patrol stormed into the train like bloody soldgers which kind of rattles the peace. We ended up home in seattle a little before 10 at night and Dani's daughter Laura was kind enough to give me a ride home along with Dani.

I want to go back to Vancouver again and do it right. Fewer people, more sight seeing. I definitly would return to the Morrisey pub again, dug it there and I would definitly take the train again and stay in that hotel again. This was actually my first time really exploing it as an adult with friends. I went to Whistler with my family, the last timeI was in Canada, back in 2007 (NINE YEARS ago???) and my dad and I spent a day in Vancouver, going to the art museum and going to a nice seafood restaurant for oysters. I'd like to go with Andy, or Andy and my girls again some time and probably plan better or see more stuff but it was still some good times when it wasn't bad.

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