A convenient U.S. shipping address

I do a lot of online shopping and, once in a while an item is either not available in Canada or A LOT cheaper in the U.S. — even Canadian goods! At first I thought I couldn’t benefit from those deals because I did not have a U.S. shipping address to send it to. But then a colleague told me about this place called “The Letter Carrier“: it’s like a little warehouse where you can have your stuff sent to for a very small fee at this address (check the website for fees and restrictions):

[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]
145 Tyee Drive
Point Roberts, Wa 98281

It’s conveniently located walking distance across the border on the U.S. side. Even me who doesn’t own a car can get there easily enough with transit, albeit more slowly. I live downtown and it takes me about 1.5 hours to get there (it’s just past Tsawwassen). The best part of going there by transit is that I can just step off the bus about a 10 minute walk from the border and walk across almost instantly (my reward for getting the slow ride there ;) ). But even with a car, the wait time can’t be that long as Point Roberts is a tiny community surrounded by water and, if you have no business there, you shouldn’t be at that border crossing to begin with.

I have now used this service a couple of times and it’s great! You can register your email on their website so you’ll get notified right away when your package arrives. You can also send your mail from there too, of course. There are probably other similar places around other border crossings, but this is the most convenient one for me. If you don’t have family, friends or an existing postal box near the U.S. border, try it! You’re gonna love it. :)

Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC

We all thought it was going in, but it hit the post. :(

Last night was fun going to watch the game at Empire Field. The Whitecaps put up a good fight. After a boring first half, they totally dominated the second one. They had many chances to score but, in the end, a fluke goal for Toronto deflected by a Whitecaps player into his own net helped them tie the game at 1-1 at the 73rd minute.

Crossbar!

Unintentional arabesque

The goalie was sure he was done for... How could we miss that?!!! :s

It was great being seated — ermmm… standing — in section 217. Lots of colorful supporters chanted throughout the game.

Section 217 supporters

Section 217 supporters

Drunk Supporter
Section 217 supporter

I can’t write everything they said, but here are some of the highlights off the field:

– They started off chanting “Come to 2-1-7!… Come to 2-1-7!…”
– Another chant: “Vancouver… Vancouver… We’re blue, we’re white, we’re [put your favorite expletive here] dynamite!”
– Humming loudly the chorus to song “Just Can’t Get Enough
– Someone brought a beach ball and people started playing with it. When one of the colorful fans screwed up and sent the ball flying off the stands, his buddies we’re unapologetic and they (dozens) started chanting “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!” and pointing the finger. LOL
– When a Toronto player would “injure” himself (literally, I think lol), they’d chant “Same old Toronto… Always cheating!”
– We missed the Canucks game, but we got updates here and there, including a “7-2” chant. lol

The ref gave a bad call... "Ooooo...ooooo..oooooh... YOU FAT BASTARD!" lol

As you can see, it was a lot of fun being around that area — if you don’t mind standing the whole game. I sit all day at my computer, so it didn’t bother me… We definitely had the most animated section of the stadium (even beating the drummers which played now and then, here and there, but not as often as these guys).

By the way, if you haven’t been to Empire field yet, check it out, it’s a great venue for any game! :)

Empire Field is a great venue for any game!

The Lions, serving as a nice backdrop to the stadium

Go Whitecaps!

Funny that my “game” report has more content from off the field. lol  Football is not my favorite sport to watch (love to play, though), but it still was worth it, totally. It helps to have had a free FIFA Soccer 11 XBox 360 game with my Groupon deal, too. :)

“Deal of the Day” sites for Vancouver

You know you’re hot when Google wants you. Such was the case with Groupon recently, although they rejected Google’s 6 billion dollar bid. :o  Groupon and the “social buying” phenomenon that it is is so popular that it’s set to become the fastest business to earn a billion dollars in sales in a year, ever.

Seeing the potential of social buying, a lot of  other “deal of the day” sites have sprung up lately and it’s all the better for us consumers. :)  I’m kinda new to this myself; it seems to me that 50% – 70% off whatever product or service a company has to offer is the norm, although these “deal of the day” sites claim we should see offers upwards of 90% or more once in a while. I have yet to see those jaw-dropping offers myself, but I’m not gonna complain at getting something at “just” 50% off either, you know? :) I would think these sites might hurt a long time favorite of mine, the “Entertainment” coupon booklet, unless they switch to this type of “deal of the day” site as well.

So far, I can vouch for these sites:

http://www.groupon.com/
http://livingsocial.com/
http://dealoftheday.redflagdeals.com/deal/vancouver/

And I just found out about this one:

http://www.facebook.com/socialshopper

I was a bit suspicious when their email showed up in red warning color in my email inbox, but after looking at their Facebook page, I guess they must be legit, with almost 7,500 people who like them? I have bought a deal from them; I’ll let you know if I still have all my money soon enough. :)

Let’s hope that these sites will become so popular that they’ll have a huge backlog of partners waiting for their turn and “deal of the day” just won’t cut it anymore. Instead, a “bundle of the day” will be in order, giving us consumers us a plethora of deals to consider every day. :D

Let me know if you have some more sites to recommend.  In this beautiful but expensive city, we need all the deals we can get! :p

UPDATE: Everything is fine with Social Shopper… I was able to redeem my voucher without any issues at the restaurant. As much as I’d been a fan of the Entertainment booklet for a long time, I must say that this is even better (all those deal sites, not just Social Shopper) since those vouchers act like gift cards and you can use them to buy whatever you want. At the restaurant, this means you’re not limited to just entrees; you can use the voucher to buy appies, desserts or even alcohol if you want (unless the fine print says otherwise). Sorry Entertainment… It was good while it lasted. lol

I found yet another deal site:

http://www.stealthedeal.com/vancouver

UPDATE #2: Yet a couple more sites to add:

http://www.dealfind.com/vancouver/ (seems to be legit, after checking out this blog)
http://www.teambuy.ca/vancouver/ (they appeared on the “Dragons Den” on CBC, so…)

What’s with the dangling shoes anyway?!

Dangling Shoes Alley
I don’t mind the dangling shoes, but having a family of running shoes as a neighbor, does seem a bit ridiculous, though. :s

My travel credentials are nothing to rave about yet, so I don’t know if it’s more common than I think, but in my limited experience, I don’t recall seeing this “phenomenon” as plainly as in Vancouver. What’s with the dangling shoes anyway?! Is it just immature silliness or is there some urban legend behind it?

Whatever it is, you can barely walk a couple of blocks without spotting these “decorations” hanging from the electric lines. Sometimes they give me a good laugh: the best one was when I was biking to work and spotted not the usual running shoes, but ski boots hanging from the electric lines at the corner of Union St. and Jackson Ave! lol  It’s a shame I didn’t have my camera with me to snap this most unusual sight, then.

Oh well, dangling shoes are part of the scenery here. Vancouver still manages to get rated among the most beautiful cities in the world even with them. So, no worries, really. They’re just odd enough in this author’s eyes to entice him to write an article about them. :)

COUNTDOWN TO THE OLYMPICS

Countdown
Only one week to go!

Maybe you hadn’t noticed with some cherry blossoms already blooming ahead of time and the city having just recorded the warmest January on record yet, but the Winter Olympics are just a week away! ;)

* Rest of original article deleted… Too much anger and sarcasm about the cost of the Olympics in it. Mind you, I’m still not looking forward to seeing how much we’ll have to pay in exchange for hosting the Olympic Games, but spreading bad vibes around does not feel right either. I’d rather have happy readers instead of passing along my frustration to others. In the future, there might be some not-so-cheerful things to talk about now and then — such as the HST –, but from now on (2010-02-07, 6pm PST) I’ll try to keep the negativity low and remain as neutral as possible when I do — remind me if I forget! ;)