Reflections on Our Visit to Vancouver

Each year Nancy travels to a convention of the American Academy of Pediatrics and this year it was in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). I go along to explore a new city, and this year went much better than last year. This is not to say that the weather was all that cooperative. Most days in Vancouver had at least some rain; the wind and cold temperatures were an added benefit.

That said, I look forward to going back for another visit. If you watched the Olympics you can attest that Vancouver is a beautiful city with the right combination of water and snow capped mountains on the horizon. It also has wonderful neighborhoods and attractions. I recommend Chinatown, Gastown, Granville Island, and Stanley Park. We saw the zoo, which probably deserves more support but is hard to recommend. A better choice was the aquarium in Stanley Park.

One benefit to these conventions is the chance to spend time with Nancy’s colleagues. They are a fun group, but I’ve decided after several years, they eat at restaurants much higher than ours. Most often we hit a home run, but a strikeout is a very expensive strikeout. This year’s best example was Kirin Mandarin. We had a reservation one night for 7 at 8PM. Granted it was a Saturday night; it made sense to have a reservation. We showed up at 8PM and were told that the previous party had not yet left; that’s not unusual and we were willing to be patient (to a point). At 8:00 we were told it would be a few minutes. At 8:15 we were told that they had just started the final course. At 8:25 we were told that they were setting up another table for us. At 8:30 we were told that they were almost done. At this point I found the manager and asked for a 20% discount on the bill and was offered each of us a free desert. At 8:35 a homeless person came into the restaurant to panhandle us. Finally, at 8:45 we were seated. The manager then became our server (I’m guessing he’s decided at this point that a tip was off the table and he was going to take one for the team). The drink order came and included everyone’s drink except Nancy’s; several attempts to remind the server was unsuccessful. The food order came with 6/7ths of the plates we ordered. The last one came as we were finishing, and that’s when it finally broke loose. One of our dinnermates made a determination that it was just too late to serve a main course and it should be taken back. Around that same time one of our parties (who is very allergic to shellfish) found a shrimp in her dish; fortunately she found it before she ate it. I then hunted down the manager and indicated we really weren’t interested in free desert and I renewed my call for a 20% discount on the bill. I think at that point he was happy to be rid of us. He took off Nancy’s drink (that was never served) and Vivian’s meal (which would have sent her to the hospital) and Patty’s meal (that was sent back because it was delivered too late). He kept cutting until the whole bill was $101.00. That came out to less that $15.00 per person. Then again, it was close to 10:30 PM when we left the place. All in all, I’m glad we didn’t pay more than that, but next time we’re in Vancouver we’ll take pass on this restaurant.

But we do wish to return to Vancouver. Oh, and give a shoutout to Air Canada. They were wonderful and actually made flying a fun experience.

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