EMWed 2007

This is the semi-secret behind the scenes blog for the Eric Whitmore and Mikaela Renz wedding in Albuquerque, September 29th.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Transportation: The New Word in Sexy Honeymoon Style

Our other theme, lest you think we're having a horrible time, is transportation. We didn't really set out with this intention. Our focus was more narrow: we thought only of trains.

Day 2 in Vancouver, however, we woke up not quite knowing what we would do that day, where we would go, or how we'd get there. We wandered to the concierge desk and asked where we could go for a day trip by ferry. Our fleeting thoughts of Vancouver Island vanished with the words "3 hour one-way." We latched on to a closer day trip by ferry to a place called Bowen Island, which necessitated an hour-long bus trip and 20-minute ferry ride, with stunningly beautiful views during both.

Now we've taken plains, trains, busses, and ferries. And walked all over Vancouver (some of it intentionally). Today is more walking, potentially more buses, a sky train, and one locomotive heading east. Other than the coffee (and the food, which has also been not so stellar), not a bad trip!

Bad Coffee

Of course, one of the reasons to visit the northwest is the coffee. It's a little unbelievable, but absolutely true that Starbucks has a shop every block or so. But since Mikaela and I are responsible people, we refuse to go (especially when I'm with her).

Sadly though, the less than palatable coffee we've been drinking has become kind of a theme. (And since it's real early as I write this, I'm thinking about popping into the Starbucks that is, you guessed it, right across the street.)

Seattle's Best Coffee
Admittedly, we were in the Denver airport. Perhaps that's why this bitter rough edged cup was the way that it was (I'm writing about the coffee, not the cup). Barely drinkable.

In the hotel in Seattle, and early, we made a small pot from one of those ubiquitous coffee pouches. Aren't they kind of wonderful? If you're going to use a disposable filter, these are very handy, and... some folks know I'm incapable of measuring coffee. So, what's the downside (I'm sure there is one)?

This was almost acceptable, but the powdered creamer is never really satisfying. It seemed okay, though, because we were headed for a coffee shop by the train station we'd scoped out the night before to make sure it would be open before our departure...

What a cool looking coffee shop -- Nice Branding! Ideally located, in a great building with stylish decor, rough and functional. No credit cards, though, which causes a scramble to find a pre-packed wallet.

The pastries look delicious, but I'm hankering for a real bagel (still difficult to find these days in Albuquerque), so I get one. But at Zeitgest, the customers toast the bagels themselves -- swell, in the interest of efficiency and the ability to get the level of toastiness desired. And the fine containers they have for half and half are designed so the center of gravity shifts suddenly when the liquid is finally flowing into one's cup.

A small mess ensues, and we're surrounded by the next wave of customers as we try to doctor and clean up our coffees. Which need a lot of doctoring. My lid doesn't seal properly, leading to another small spill, and the bagels are difficult to remove from the toaster without burning one's hands. (The pre-packaged Philadelphia Cream Cheese too, seems incongruous.)

I barely remember the coffee. Mikaela's was... creamy. Mine, uncreamy. Both smooth to the point of... not really tasting like coffee.

The bagel, though, was really good.

Didn't I say we wouldn't have Starbucks?! But it's hotel room coffee! Yes, our hotel has those little pouches in the rooms, and we had the forethought to get some half and half. Good coffee, really, though barely enough sugar.

Tim Hortons
Okay, you don't go to Tim Hortons for coffee -- or shouldn't. For close to two years I've been pestering Mikaela with tall tales of a mythical donut place north of the border. I'd speak reverently about my personal holy grail of donut eating: Tim Horton's Chocolate Sour Cream donut.

Well... maybe's it's been discontinued. They still have sour cream donuts, and the chocolate donut really is... quite good. There's a strong possibility, I'll be sneaking 40 Timbits or so on the train later today.

The coffee, though... was barely acceptable. Medium Bad Coffee (as opposed to Good Bad coffee, often from a Diner or Bad Good Coffee, from, say, the Flying Star in Nob Hill), but... in the interest of efficiency ("No Worries") they doctor it for you behind the counter -- making it difficult to get more sugar or creamer or something to stir with.

The rapidly spoken pan-Pacific Canadian dialect mixture from the person behind the counter was almost unintelligible to me (with only that small cup of hotel coffee earlier), or I might have said... "light and sweet" or... "six sugars please!"

Mikaela manages to get hers to the almost Good Bad state, and we're off.

As am I... more to come.