Max's visit last week passed incredibly fast, as I knew it would. It was absolutely wonderful. I think I love him more every time I see him, if that's possible. This week I've mostly been occupying myself trying to deal with the fact that he's gone again. I'm not going to dwell on that, though. I have written this mostly for my own sake because I'm terrible at remembering the dates of events and this helps to look back on as a reference. My updates are usually long, but I think this one takes the cake. I wrote a lot more than I meant to when I started. I doubt anyone will probably read it all except for those friends and family closest to me. It was a very emotional week, but I'm not going to write about that side of it here. I didn't take a lot of photos.. I was bit too um, distracted, to concentrate on that. :)
Saturday, March 2nd
Max arrived here at around 7pm, jet lagged but happy. We cuddled and talked, then exchanged a few gifts (including ones his parents sent over with him). I received two books from Philip and Jackie.. I, Phoolan Devi by Phoolan Devi about her life as India's "Bandit Queen", and Lost Japan, by Alex Kerr.
That evening Alix was throwing a large dinner party upstairs which Dave was cooking (like usual) so Max and I joined them for a few hours. Dave cooked tamales with salsa and asparagus, and spicy duck enchiladas. The enchiladas were fantastic, it made my top ten list of best food ever eaten. There was a Japanese girl there named Eriko who insisted my name was Japanese. It's actually not, but it's liked in Japan because it is easy for them to pronounce.
Sunday, March 3rd
We ate brunch at The Salal Café, ran into Kirsten (Gael's co-worker) and introduced Max to her. We then drove out to Fort Worden while listening to The Avalanches and took a walk on the beach. It was fairly sunny and warm, very pleasant. That evening we managed to wash Max's passport, much to our horror. Most of the stamps had washed away and the binding had come apart. Max called immigration and they said it shouldn't be a problem as long as he had his airline tickets.
Monday, March 4th
We drove down to Silverdale Mall so Max could look for a carrying case for his laptop. He ended up not buying one, but I bought a couple t-shirts, a scarf, and a new bra. The Victoria's Secret there only recently started carrying my size, so I bought the "Body" style. My god it's comfy. I love it.
We cooked dinner for my parents that night. I made a salad with a honey, yoghurt, and tahini dressing and Max cooked Pollo Al Ajillo (chicken with tons of garlic, white wine, and bay) from the Moro cookbook (that book kicks so much ass). My parents loved it, I did to.
We watched a Japanese movie called Kikujiro directed by and starring Takeshi Kitano. I enjoyed it. I still haven't seen Takeshi's other films Brother or Violent Cop, so I'm sure they'll come as a shock after this sweet little film. ;)
Tuesday, March 5th
We departed early in the morning to go to Seattle for the day. Left the car on Bainbridge Island and caught the ferry into downtown Seattle. We walked to Pike Place Market and ate salmon & halibut sandwiches at a touristy little grill. We visited it last time Max was here and liked it, so we did it again. William Shatner ate there a week before us. Ooh.
The main reason we went to Seattle was to visit the British Consulate to talk about our marriage and if anything needed to be taken care of. We chatted with the woman about visas and were able to obtain a direct contact number, which is useful because it's almost impossible to get ahold of them via phone.
Back in Port Townsend we ate sushi at Sentosa with Gael, Dad, Alix, and Steve. I ordered sake, miso soup, a spicy tuna roll, and Max and I split a tempura scallop roll. Finished off with their yummy ginger ice cream and green tea.
Wednesday, March 6th
Last month Max booked a club suite for two nights at the Sheraton Hotel in Vancouver. The washed passport wasn't too much of a problem with Canadian immigration, although they did warn us we might have some trouble with the American side coming back. Max had never been to Vancouver before so I was excited for him to see it. We found the hotel easily (it's one of the tallest buildings in the city) and checked in. Max decided to stay somewhere cool since we'd only see each other this once in a year, not to mention there's 2.26 Canadian Dollars the the British Pound so it's like half-off! Heh. :)
It was nicer than I expected, we even had to use our key card in the elevator to reach our floor (they call club suite people "preferred customers", *snicker*. :P ) The room had an exceptionally gorgeous view of English Bay and the mountains, a ridiculous number of tv channels, and a Playstation.
We decided to walk around and explore. The last time I was in Vancouver was around 98' when I dated a man there for a few months, so it had been awhile. I had forgotten how beautiful and cosmopolitan the city is. Overall I prefer it over Seattle, although my friends in Vancouver always seem surprised when I say that. We came across a small Japanese grocery store and I bought a ton o' Pocky.. flavors green tea, coconut chocolate, chocolate mousse, strawberry, and crème brûlée (my favorite). Then we found an international news and magazine store where I bought a copy of W magazine for cheap cheap. Usually I have to buy it at Pike Place Market in Seattle for $5-7.
At 5:30pm the lounge on our hotel floor serves hors d'ourves and drinks, so we sat at a table overlooking the city and enjoyed ourselves. There was only one other person there sitting in the corner and a very attentive waitress. I mentioned I felt like eating Chinese food that night so she recommended 3 restaurants in the area. We decided on Kirin Mandarin (supposedly the "best Chinese in Vancouver") where I ordered hot & sour soup and sliced duck and ginger with vegetables. Really excellent, although the drinks bill was almost as expensive as the meal (it's the gin & tonics that got us).
We wanted to continue drinking after dinner so went to one of the smaller hotel bars, The Cracked Ice Bar, for a beer. I took one of the best photos of Max ever, the Evil Genius photo in his secret lair. The only thing missing is a cat on his lap.
Thursday, March 7th
For years I hung out on a few irc chat channels on Undernet called #half-life and #gamers. #half-life is where I first "met" Max, but the channel has since disbanded. #gamers is still going strong and Max still hangs out there often. Anyway, in these channels we've both talked to a guy named Shaun (nick Maxtype) who lives in Vancouver. He's always been really cool and friendly so wet met up with him for breakfast. He took us to a small trendy place called The Elbow Room (read that article, it's hilarious) where the staff are notoriously rude. Shaun said last time he went there he took his in-laws and they were insulted up and down, much to his delight. They also made him pour coffee for the entire restaurant when he dared to ask for a refill. He seemed terribly disappointed when the staff were really friendly with us, almost chipper. Our waiter (and I believe the owner), a probably 60-70 year old man who looked like a rough mafia member with gold chains and aviators, seemed particularly interested in staring at my breasts while taking our order. There's a fee if you don't finish everything on your plate, which Shaun and I didn't (hey, it's for a good cause), but that was the extent of the "rudeness". I was disappointed too, maybe we'll be luckier next time. ;) After breakfast we walked towards Gastown with Shaun and talked. We parted ways at the edge of Gastown because he had to get ready for work.
Max and I decided to take a drive out to Stanley Park and around Vancouver. While driving through Stanley Park it began to snow slightly, then we drove through Chinatown and what the locals refer to as "Bumtown". It was a bit grim, especially when we ended up lost for 15 minutes on the outskirts of Vancouver and then stuck going in circles in the center. They do love their one way roads up there. :)
That evening we met my friend Brian for drinks at a pub called Morrissey's. I've known Brian for about 5 years from my frequent trips to Victoria years ago and I consider him a dear friend. We only had a few drinks before we had to go to dinner. I'm hoping to go back up to Vancouver for a longer visit sometime. We ate dinner at a restaurant called O'Doul's. I ordered pan-fried goat cheese on wild greens w/ toasted hazelnuts & raspberry vinaigrette for a starter, grainy dijon-crusted rack of lamb with candied shallots and red wine jus (scroll down for photo) and garlic mashed potatoes for a main course, and crème brûlée for dessert. All very good, though the bill was quite high. We decided that this meal would be the one Max's parents would pay for (since they offered to pay for one meal as a present. ;)
Friday, March 8th
Watched the morning weather report from Seattle. Lots of snow all through Bellingham to Seattle. Laughed at people sliding down what we dubbed "Idiot Hill" in their cars. Even the news reporters were laughing at the pile of cars at the bottom, one commenting "Why don't they just close off that hill?" Hardly any snow driving out of Vancouver and American immigration was breeze. She took one look at the washed passport and said, "Oh, I can read it fine", (she was lying, no one can read the stamps anymore) and waved us through. Several inches of snow in Bellingham and several wrecks, it was slow going but we had each other and NPR to keep us entertained. We went to K-Mart in Burlington to look for suitably white trash gifts for Max's friends in London. Then we stopped in Anacortes and Max picked up some smoked salmon from Seabear for him and his parents and visited with my grandparents over coffee for an hour. We just barely made the 5 o'clock ferry back to Port Townsend.
That evening Max and I ate at one of our favorite restaurants here in PT called the Silverwater. I had the seafood cioppino and a Fish Tale Ale.
Saturday, March 9th
It was Gael's birthday so Max and I wandered around town looking for a present. We drank coffee at the Tyler and stopped by my work so my boss, Heather, and her mother, C.J., could meet Max (and vice versa). They were thrilled to meet him since I've talked about him so much.
That evening we gave Gael her presents and opened a bottle of champagne (Ruinart brut rosé) that Max brought over from London. We ate dinner at Khu Larb Thai (where both Gael and I ordered our favorite, green prawn curry) chatted and enjoyed ourselves. The people who run the restaurant know Gael well and brought out coconut ice cream with a candle and sang happy birthday to her.
After dinner Gael and Dad went to the Woodcutter's Ball for some dancing while Max and I went home to spend our last evening together.
Sunday, March 10th
Terrible morning. Lots of tears, hugging, and kissing. I almost wondered if Max would make his flight.. but this is the last time we'll be apart, next time we see each other in 5 months we will be getting married! It's about time. :)
hehe i was begin to wonder when you're gonna post about Max's visit...
everytime I read your post I just can't stop drooling. all these food talk. i just came back from an english pub where i stuffed myself with some bloody great fish and chips too. had a pint of boddingtons in your honor :-p
5 month will go by in a flash. after that is happily ever after. hang in there
I'm crazy about food. One of our wedding gifts is a 2 day cooking course in Cornwall taught by a well known chef in the UK called Rick Stein. It is so going to kick ass. hehe
Yes it is beautiful, if we decide to live in the northwest for awhile we'll probably end up in Vancouver.
That Kirin Mandarin restaurant looks like the one we ate at when we were in Vancouver several years ago. It was great, but I had difficulty eating anything because we were with someone who was too funny; he kept up a steady stream of humor throughout the evening, and I was laughing too hard to eat much. When he ordered the Shredded Jellyfish I was laughing so hard I almost threw up! (Actually, I tasted the jellyfish; it wasn't too bad...tasted more or less like rubbery sesame).
As always, I'm extremely envious of anyone who gets to spend any time in Vancouver :)
Hehe I've had experiences with a comedic friend while attempting to eat as well. Oddly enough also in a Chinese restaurant, but this one in London. I think also adding chopsticks and alcohol into the mix didn't help matters.
Shredded Jellyfish is bound to cause giggles. :)
it looks like you had a lovely time together...and i'm sure you did. i got so hungry reading yr post...all that fantastic food! i'm so looking forward to heading back to the states this week. there are some delicate cuisines i am in search of, and some really bland ones. [i really miss good burgers!]
i'm glad you had a good time. :)
I've missed your posts, but it seems your time was well spent elsewhere. *smile*
You have such a lovely, beautiful life. I am so honoured to have been able to read it over the past year.
And oh my gosh, your fiance is beautiful! Beautiful food, beautiful girl, beautiful city...
That was so nice & romantic to read. A happy time was had, I'm glad for you. I know "thank you for sharing" is a cliché, but really, it did my heart good to read about your & Max's wonderful week. Yummy food, too ... I have to post about my own yummy-food experience last night :)
Well it does my heart good to know that you and some others actually read that mega post!
Your yummy food experience sounded lovely, you made me want to go to that restaurant someday if I ever ever make it down that way.
Food is so wonderful (I don't sound obsessed or anything, do I?). :)
Wow, wow! Thanks for sharing what has been a wonderful week for you both, filled with so many sights, tastes, sounds and atmospheres. I really love the people photoes especially - I don't recall seeing your fiance so close up before.. definitely almost as photogenic as yourself ;-) - you are a lovely couple indeed ! I really like the photo of your reflection - it's quite mysterious - "What is she thinking looking out at that city scape?"
There's a reason there's so many photos of me, I really don't enjoy being photographed, but I let Naomi take photos providing I didn't have to pose. As a result she has a lot more pictures than I'd normally be happy with. I *really* don't do posed photos very well... I look like an idiot 99% of the time.
Wow! That has to be the longest single journal entry I've come across in my short time at lj. And what a great way to reference your experiences -- thank you for letting me read.
Also, you must've come across soo many wonderful smells, what, with all that yummy sounding food. I hope they, too, help you reference your good time.
Now, I smell fresh coffee ... got to go to it's calling.
Great stuff - enjoyed reading about Vancouver (funny - ISTR reading about the Elbow Room somewhere else recently) as I mean to visit one day (my very good friends David and Andrea live on Hornby Island). And... mmmm... fooooood (racking my brains for good Mexican in London - you should definitely try Cactus Blue in Fulham - not exactly Mexican, but along similar lines, slightly on the pricey side but worth it, and they have over 100 different Tequilas for you to work your way through :-) )... and, hey, we're planning on paying a visit to Rick Stein's restaurant later this year...
Mmmmmmm.... I better go cook something before I get too excited.
The Elbow Room happened to be on a tv program here tonight called Northwest Backroads. The wait staff were considerably more abusive than what we experienced, I will have to go back and hope for the full treatment next time.
Thank you for the Mexican restaurant recommendation! The only thing close I could find in London was Si Señor, which was shut down due to an alcohol license violation. It was a lively place (conga lines and free shots of tequila), but the food was only mediocre.
Rick Stein!! I love him. I'll keep an eye on your blog for a full description of your visit to his restaurant. For a wedding present Max's parents are sending us to his combined cooking school hotel and restaurant in Cornwall for two days. Max's cousin and his wife took the cooking classes and enjoyed themselves, they said it was mostly drinking lots and lots of wine and trying to duplicate Rick's cooking while tipsy. Sounds good to me. :)