Vancouver x Los Angeles x Las Vegas in 24 hours
I always end up in Vegas right after I get back from Vancouver. It happened for the third straight time on this last trip.
Superbowl Sunday started off with brunch at the hotel restaurant downstairs. I cleaned the iron plate that my turkey sausage hash was warming up on. We went to the local drugstore to pick up snacks to munch on during the game. I bought two bags of ketchup chips: one for the game and one to take home.
We rested one more time before we were to head out for Ronnel’s Birthday celebration after the Seahawks annihilated the Broncos. We decided to eat dinner at Japadog since Gerald had never eaten there. I ordered the tasty Spicy Cheese Terimayo on this visit. The hot dog was not too filling. It was just the right amount to eat before heading out to The Queen’s Republic to party with Angelo for the fourth night in a row haha!
Gerald had us on pound mode with the drinks before midnight. Ronnel’s birthday shot was 151 while we had Henny shots. That definitely kicked him into gear to party. The night was filled with Hiphop in the main room, and Reggae in the annex room. Many thanks to Angelo for getting us into all his clubs these past four nights. He even mentioned for us to hit up the chinese restaurant across the street from Fritz so that we could try something different. The cab took us there, but the bad news was that the Chinese restaurant was closed, and so was Fritz!
On Monday, we took the train and arrived at Vancouver International Airport in the afternoon. I couldn’t wait to go back home to some warm weather. But, we arranged for our friends Kex and Kvn to pick us up at the airport so we could head straight to Vegas for one last party. I switched seats before the flight so that I could sit in an empty aisle seat. I was comfortable, but a gross smell hit my nose. It smelled like the kid next to me took a doo doo. I covered my nose with my sweater for the two and a half hour flight back to LAX.
Kvn picked us up from the airport, and we headed back to Gerald’s to drop off our bags and get dressed for Vegas. Kex met us up and we left a little before 9 P.M.. We drove straight to XS to catch the end of Salva's set. We hurried in some more drinks before the start of RL Grime's set. The night got crazy after that.
The beats were hitting hard, and the lights got really bright. The visuals took a life of their own, and RL Grime brought out Lil’ Jon to do his lyrics for “Turn Down for What?!”. Lil’ Jon added some Lil’ Terio ad libs for the downtempo part at the end which was pretty entertaining. We left at the end of RL Grime’s set.
I was full circle after that club night, exhausted from the previous nights. I want to travel more, but not necessarily to party. My main focus and goal after this trip is to exercise and strengthen my writing skills. And, if I have time… work on creating some music for fun. I’m sure I’ll be back in Vegas again, but not for a while.
After Meat & Bread, we stopped by a few places that I had never checked out before on previous Vancouver trips. I was finally able to check out the popular Beat Street Records store. The place seemed more like a museum now that vinyl was not as popular as it used to be. There were only a handful of people in there looking at record labels and record covers. And, no one talked to each other over the faint music playing in the background. I searched for some Canadian artists that I used to listen to: K-OS, Choclair, Kardinal Offishall, and The Rascalz (The rapper I talked to last night, Red-1, was part of this crew). All those artists had vinyl in stock that made me reminisce about all the Hip Hop that I used to listen to in High School and College. We slapped a UTT sticker outside and made our way to the hotel.
We took a brief rest at the Vancouver Lookout Tower. The view from the top allowed you to see the beautiful harbor, and all the city buildings (including where the Canucks play on the other side). We took some awkward selfies and group shots, typical tourist stuff. We took one more look before it got dark, and finally got back to the hotel to rest before we partied on Saturday night.
We contacted a friend to get into Shine Nightclub in Gastown. We waited in line for about 30 minutes in the cold. We saw the amount of people heading out of the club, so we contacted our good friend Angelo to see if he could get us into Fortune again tonight. His answer: “FUCK YEAH!” So, we went into Shine for a good 20 minutes to use the bathroom. The place reminded me of home with all the DJ Mustard produced tracks that were playing in the main room. We went into the other room to say what’s up to our friend that got us on the list at Shine. This room played all Old School R&B. We found our friend and we took a shot of Jack Daniels with him. We checked out the main room one more time and headed out the club to look for a cab to Fortune.
The cab dropped us off in front of Fortune around 1 A.M.. The security guard asked to see the text I got from Angelo so he could let us in right away. The security guard smiled at the “Fuck Yeah!” text that Angelo sent and let us right in. The room was just as packed as last night, and Angelo sent me a text to head to the same bar near the stage. Beautiful ladies, Red Dragons, and Red Stripes all over again as we partied on stage with him and his friends. This time we stayed until the music stopped, and we took a cab to Fritz to make it three nights of eating poutine in a row. I decided to try the bacon this time, and Gerald used ham. The results were still amazing.
We woke up late again on Saturday afternoon. Ronnel walked some girl we met last night downstairs for her friends to pick her up. We joked around with him, and asked him about what happened last night as he grinned and spilled some info. We cut the conversation short and decided to look for a good place to eat.
Gerald mentioned this sandwich spot he heard about through a TV show, called Meat & Bread So, we decided to take a 15 minute walk to try their specialty sandwich called the Porchetta.
We got to the restaurant, and the first thing I saw was the Italian roast pig on the cutting board. The guy was cutting off it’s crispy skin into little pieces, and those bits would go right on top of the sandwich I was about to order. I watched as they cut the moist pieces of the pig’s loin and belly and put them into the rectangular ciabatta roll. The home made salsa verde was smeared on top of the pork meat, and sprinkled with the crunchy skin bits. I grabbed my ginger ale, and bit into one of the best pork sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
I woke up after 12 P.M., and took my time to get dressed. Ronnel and I got a text from Gerald saying that he would be on his way to Vancouver, and he would be here around 3 or 4 P.M. if the border agent lets him in. Gerald would definitely be flagged before coming into the country too if I got hassled because he was with me last time they gave us shit at the border.
Ronnel and I decided to look for some hangover soup. We Yelped for Ramen, but we ended up at a spot that was permanently closed. So, we yelped for soup one more time and ended up at a tasty Pho restaurant next to Japadog.
We walked back to the hotel, and Ronnel decided to use the gym while I updated this blog. I got a knock at the door, and it was Gerald. He arrived a little later than he mentioned earlier, but being late wasn’t important. He mentioned that the border agent gave him shit, but he made it into Canada. Time to party!
At night, we walked over to the Vancouver Convention Centre where a friend was working the Red Bull booth. A good amount of people dressed in warm clothes came to check out the Red Bull Illume Exhibit. Various photos of extreme Red Bull-like stunts were presented in tall bright lit frames scattered next to the 2010 Winter Olympic Cauldron while Hip Hop instrumentals played in the background.
We said goodbye to our friend working the booth and headed to Fortune Sound Club. I hit up our friend Angelo about getting into the club earlier. This would be our second night partying with him, but at a better venue. He mentioned that there would be an after party with the same DJs as well, so we tried to pace ourselves with the drinks.
Fortune would be the spot I would go to on a regular basis if it was in Los Angeles. They booked all the artists that I would be interested in seeing. Tonight, they had Devin The Dude perform before the club started. We waited for his performance to end so we could get into the club, and I saw some rappers from my Hiphop childhood about to walk in. Kool Keith was in the place, and even Sticky Fingaz from Onyx was about to walk in. The one rapper I was surprised at seeing was Red-1 from the Rascalz. I had all their albums, and quite a few singles on vinyl. I was able to chop it up with him later on in the night at his booth, and it turns out he runs a cannabis clinic now called Red Med.
After running into Red-1, and throwing down a number of Red Dragons and Red Stripes, the night fast forwarded to the afterparty with Hoodboi and Falcons at an undisclosed location down the street. It was not the typical industrial warehouse party we have in LA. This party was held at an abandoned office with grey carpet everywhere. The booze flowed from the small bar, the music was cranked up to the red, the lights flashed to the beats, and once again it was time to hit up some poutine at Fritz before they closed.
Last time I was in Vancouver, a border agent thought I was “stealing” jobs from Canadian DJs and sent me back home the next morning after seeing DJ equipment in my bag.
2 years passed and they sent me to the holding area again for screening. The border agent, who resembled Vin Diesel, was even more of a dick than the last one who sent me home. The agent questioned me about why I wanted to come back, and even took my phone to look up all the info he could get to nail me about a possible “unpermitted” DJ gig. The agent even tried pushing my buttons to get me to snap back at him by asking questions fast and telling me to calm down even though I haven’t talked aggressively toward him. After he couldn’t find anything on me, he let me back in to Van City! Cue up Drake: “N!**@ WE MADE IT!”
I celebrated my entrance back into Vancouver at a club my friend got us into called The Queen’s Republic. We even ran into a performance last night by Aries Spears. The DJ dropped beats as he did his famous routine where he would rap in other famous rappers’ voices. The voices were so dead on point that I thought Biggie, Snoop, DMX, and Method Man were all in the club too haha!
We stuck to beer all night since the club didn’t like to pour drinks generously. But, on a good note: we ended the night with some good ol’ Canadian poutine from Fritz! I took my time and devoured the gravy-fied cheese curded fries just so that I could enjoy every bite. I slammed dunked the empty container into the nearby trash can. I’M BACK VANCOUVER!!! What are we getting into tomorrow?!
2013 ended with an all too familiar countdown. Kisses, hugs, handshakes, text messages to loved ones, and highlights that will make interesting stories to tell others in the future. Not even an hour into 2014, and this new year told my friends and I to cut this party short and get right to business.
We’re about two and a half weeks into 2014 now. New Year and fresh starts for everyone right? Woohoo! Yada Yada Yada. I know that timing (especially the event of a new year) doesn’t necessarily determine when you decide to start working harder to get to a better version of yourself, and to whatever it is that makes you happy. Because, YOU ultimately determine when it’s time to make that change for yourself. But, some people (myself included) need that symbolic feeling of leaving last year behind, and being able to look at next year optimistically in order to kick start yourself into a more productive future.
Of course there are some people who just don’t get out of that rut for many years until something flings them into a reality check. Will you be the person who decides to take hold of the reins to your future now or later? Better yet, when you beat every character and lose to M. Bison in the last round of Street Fighter (Championship Edition😎), and you still have two quarters left in your pocket… will you put those quarters in to continue so that you can finally beat the evil boss, and see that long awaited ending? Or, are you going to use those last two quarters to buy a crappy fake moustache from the dispenser next to the exit of the arcade?
I’m grateful that I didn’t have to show up to work early today. I was still tired from my friend Jon’s birthday party last night at a club called Create in Hollywood. Jon was one of the last of my close friends to turn 29, before we all turn the big Three Oh No in 2014! So, he decided to celebrate his last birthday of his 20s in style.
I felt like I was in Vegas, and it was only fitting that a DJ with a residency in Vegas was celebrating his birthday party there as well. DJ Vice packed this warehouse-sized club from front to back with people ready to party. Lil’ Jon even came by and used his popular 2013 one-liner to ask the party people, “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!”. The rest was history.
The liquor flowed out the bottles at our table. People were taking champagne showers near the stage. Beautiful women everywhere. The music made everyone dance. And, if you walked around… you were fucked!
The standard for clubbing in LA was raised too high for me last night. Other parties will disappoint me if they aren’t as live as Jon’s 29th. Good times last night with my closest friends! Happy Birthday Jon!
One of my Best Friends from High School, Kevin, got married this past Labor Day Weekend. Kevin becomes the first out of my close friends to get married, edging all of us out right before we turn thirty next year. I’m glad it was Kevin to take the lead on this one. He may be the only one married for at least a few more years.
I was at this wedding to deliver my first Best Man speech, which I thought went pretty well. I did not have to use my note card that sat at the bottom of my coat pocket. One of the bridesmaids heckled for me not to cry, and I responded well to the interruption. I even had a few laughs from the party. I guess some champagne and a few shots really helped loosen me up before I had to give the most important speech of my life in front of some of my oldest and closest friends.
My dad and I decided to try this modern Filipino restaurant called Mesa on my last night in the Philippines. My Dad still has another week before he and my Mom travel back to the United States. The food was delicious. Shrimp cakes, two different types of beef, and fried Tilapia filled up our stomachs. I definitely had a small appetite because of being sick the past couple days, but the food was so good that I forced myself to eat.
We headed back to the hotel right after dinner to catch the FIBA Asia championship game between the Philippines and Iran. Both teams are already guaranteed a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. This was a big accomplishment for the Philippines. Many celebrities, politicians, and athletes were in attendance. The game even featured an interview with Pacquiao. Last year, The Philippines finished fourth place. The Philippines ended up getting Silver this time around.
I paid a visit to the Ayala Museum. I was not allowed to take photos, but I managed to take a few. The diorama floor of the museum was the best part in my opinion. The diorama sequenced the history of the Filipino people from ancient times up until now.
I was not feeling well the next day. I think it was a combination of a hangover and a slight fever. Jernel told me we both drank water last night from the bar and not from bottles. The fever I have is probably from this since he was feeling sick as well. Jernel actually drove to his girlfriend’s house last night, dropped her off, and told her to let him sleep in his car haha! I got up out of bed in the afternoon, headed over to a Ramen spot, bought extra extra strength Tylenol, and bought a Sarsi to drink at the hotel. I did not want to do anything for the rest of the day haha!
Wednesday night was the craziest night. My longtime friend Jernel was able to get me to dj at a bar/restaurant called URBN located at Fort Bonifacio. URBN reminded me of the high end bars we had back in the states. I felt right at home in this part of the city. I look at Fort Bonifacio as the cross between Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and Downtown Long Beach without being next to the ocean.
My set was not until 12:45a so we worked on the first bottle of vodka. The night was a blur after that. Next thing I know, I’m taking random tequila shots, I’m finished djing, and we’re on our way to the club just a walk away, called Prive. I did not get home until 7am. I felt the early morning humidity as I stumbled back to my hotel room. My dad had already left for his one day trip to his hometown, Olongapo. It was perfect because I needed to be alone with a hangover of this magnitude. I definitely felt the pain that next day.
My sister had to leave the day after we got back to Manila. So, she wanted to do some last minute shopping before we checked into our hotel in Makati, the Dusit Thani. She bought a bottle of Filipino rum, and some Cuban rum which is definitely not available in the United States. She also stocked up on dried mangoes and polvoron. We checked into the hotel around 1pm, but the room was not ready until 2:30pm. We soon found out that most of the FIBA Asia teams were staying at our hotel until August 11 for the twenty seventh FIBA Asia Championship. There were some familiar NBA faces on the Iranian and Chinese teams.