I’m definitely one of those people who scours my daily Groupon and Living Social emails in search of a good restaurant deal, so I was ecstatic when I saw an offer for Dark Table, Vancouver’s blind dining restaurant. I’d been wanting to check it out for a few months, so I jumped at the chance and reserved a table for last week. The ‘blind dining’ part of the restaurant is the reason it’s so popular, as guests enjoy their meals in the darkness and are served by blind of visually impaired servers. The idea is based partly on guests experiencing a little of what it might be like for a blind person to eat a three course meal, and partly on the opportunity to explore and enhance other senses when you don’t have your sight.
We arrived at the restaurant with little idea of what to expect (except for what I’d read on Tripadvisor, which I check religiously before going anywhere). We checked in with the host just outside the building who gave us a food and a drinks menu. The food menu was short, as the appetizer and desert were listed as ‘surprise’ – eeeek! There were five entre options; I chose the stuffed chicken while my other half, James, went for the beef. Once we had ordered, our server met us at the main door and took us inside. This was the part when everything got vey dark, very quickly. To find our way to our table, I put my hand on Rose’s shoulder and James put his on mine, then we shuffled our way through the restaurant like a very slow, shaky train. As soon as we started moving, Rose would periodically shout out ‘careful!’, not to us but to other servers who were also moving through the area (some with much longer trains of 8 or more people!). When we arrived at our table we were able to feel for our seats, then reach out and find our place settings. Rose left to get us out water, and then we were on our own in the dark.
On July 1, 2013, Canada turned 146. This year, I was much more excited about celebrating my new country’s birthday than I was in 2012. After the excitement of my first Canada Day in Vancouver in 2011, last year was a bit of an anti-climax. I’d seen the parade and the fireworks and wasn’t overly impressed by either of them. I can’t remember what I did to celebrate and it obviously wasn’t blog-worthy enough for me to write about.
This year was different. My brother had just arrived in Vancouver, as had the sunshine, and I was gagging for a long weekend after the craziness of starting my new job. Saying that, I did start my Canada Day by working…but it turned out to be a great decision as I was supporting our booth at Canada Place. The atmosphere was electric, with the hundred thousand people in attendance blurring into a sea of red and white. The Reconciliation Canada colours are pale blue and red, so we decided to try and stand out from the crowd by wearing blue. Stand out we did, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of tourists from outside Canada who had dressed in their Canada-branded best for the occasion. It was a hot day, and the two hours I spent in the sun handing out information about the Walk for Reconciliation in September flew by. The mood was definitely one of excitement and celebration, and I couldn’t help but catch some of it myself. I was inspired by the sight of a Citizenship Ceremony taking place in Canada Place in the afternoon; hopefully that will be me in a few years time!