Prince George is the largest city in northern British Columbia. It has a population of just over 70k and is as far North as Edmonton and the Queen Charlotte / Haida Gwaii Islands. I have some friends who called Prince George home for awhile when the University opened up in the mid-90’s, and I know a lot of people who have moved from Prince George to Vancouver, but was my first trip.
Arriving at YVR for a mid-morning domestic flight was pretty nice. I breezed through security and had no troubles with the e-boarding pass, which I was trying out for the first time on the HTC Desire Z. I got to the gate an hour early and took a picture of the Canadian-made Bombardier Air Canada Jazz Dash8.
The flight was a short 1 hour and 10 minutes. As I was sitting one row behind the props, the cabin of the Dash 8 was fairly loud and there was a lot of vibration. It was hard to complain, though, as it was still better than the Twin-Otter float planes that I have been travelling on to Victoria for the past few years. Plus there were some great views.
When we got to the Prince George airport I was relieved to find that the -11c wasn’t too bad since I decided to pack a wool overcoat rather than my down-filled ski jacket. There is a real difference between a dry cold and a damp cold, and today was nice and dry.
A quick $25 cab ride brought me to the Four Points just outside of downtown. There were a few other options downtown that I had considered, but a) they were older, b) more expensive, and c) didn’t offer points. As I was likely to cab into the client site anyways due to the cold weather, I went with the Starwood option.
After waiting for my room to be ready I was quickly checked in, but once upstairs I found that I got stuck with the room right next to the elevator. I guess you take what you can get if you’re waiting around; however, looking at the floorplan posted on the room door I ended up with one of the few suites on the floor. As a bonus the elevator is either never used or very quiet, so I think I scored with the room. The room was clean and comfortable so I’m happy with my choice.
The provided work station was fairly comfortable. None of the above-desk power outlets worked, but there was a working one right under the desk. After getting a few quality hours of work done I decided to walk around the hotel to orient myself and to experience the crisp cold air. Right outside the hotel are two restaurants, one Vietnamese and one Chinese. I walked past the restaurants, considered having some Pho for dinner, and stoped at a gas station to get some water and snacks.
Upon returning to the room, I confirmed that the hotel had the appropriate sports channel to watch the hockey game, and then checked the Internet to see if Prince George is far enough North to see the northern lights. Last year when I was in Whitehorse it was too early in the season to see the aurora borealis. Checking some of the solar activity forecast sites online it showed that the forcast for the night was “quiet”. That’s strike two for seeing the lights.
After watching the hockey game on one of the 2 nice big TV’s in my room, I headed out to try the Vietnamese place. The restaurant was nicely decorated with a lo tof attention to detail, like etching on the glass between tables, unlike many of the Pho places back home which tend to look like the owners just threw some paint and flowers over whatever failed restaurant was there before. The restaurant seemed to have about 20 tables, and 7 or 8 of them were occupied. They also had 3 or 4 wait staff who were very friendly. After looking through the menu, which had extensive chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and vegaterian sections, I went with my earlier craving and ordered beef pho and prawn spring rolls.
When the pho arrived, it was a little smaller than I had expected, and they did not offer the sprouts, basil, and lime on the side; however, it was tasty with decent broth and great hot sauce. The spring rolls also tasted great. It was my first real meal in Prince George so I can’t compare it to anything else yet, but I would not hesitate to go back.
After dinner I went back to the room and did some meeting prep for the next day. I then settled into the comfy bed which, of course, had way too many pillows and looked forward to seeing what downtown Prince George looks like.