When word spread of my return to North America, friends joined the chorus of “can you bring me back some Reese’s Pieces (please?)” For the uninitiated they are one of the world’s most popular lollies, err candies, with good reason. They are moorish, full of all the stuff that is bad for you, sugar coated pieces of processed peanut butter re-engineered for maximum artery-clogging potential. For some reason they haven’t made it big in Australia, to be mentioned in the same breath as the Kit Kat or the Violet Crumble’s poor cousin the Crunchie?
When I was in the States a couple of years ago, I ate these in such quantities that they were nearly a side dish to every meal. I have grown up (marginally) since then and have only bought 1 packet out of late night temptation (in Portland). They were everywhere there and in every different size and configuration you could imagine; pieces, eggs, hockey pucks, rabbits…. and ridiculously cheap too.
Fast forward two weeks to Vancouver and they are harder to find than a grandmother at a strip club. Sure they are sold on every street corner but not in the quantities I need to retain friends and garner a few more. I should have got them in Portland (where the absence of sales tax is your pancreas’ enemy).
My plan was to get them at Target or one of the big department stores because if my Oregon experience taught me anything it is chocolate is cheapest at Target. Google informed me that there was a store many suburbs out but right near a train station. What better way than to explore the ‘burbs and to satisfy my friend’s cravings?
With my all day travel pass I was set, weather was fine. Caught the train out to Target (about) 5 suburbs out and weave my way through the shopping centre in the hope of hitting the mother load, only to see the sign “CLOSING DOWN SALE”. This is Target we are talking about here, not some Mum and Dad corner store. Apparently all Canadian Targets are shutting up shop. So I go in with fingers crossed hoping that everybody in the suburb of Richmond has diabetes and has left the chocolate section untouched, but no. The whole store looked as if it had been ransacked and the only things left were greeting cards, Ninja Turtle masks and Kenny Rogers CDs.
Plan B was Walmart. The retail behemoth that apparently stocks everything. I needed a bit of culture so I was up to the challenge. After the train back into town and the ferry across to North Vancouver I had to board the 396 bus to Walmart. After seeing two homeless people grind up against each other I couldn’t board that bus fast enough. It was times like that I had some spare change I could throw in the air as an incentive for them to disentangle.
The bus was quick and it wasn’t long before we disembarked at the front of Walmart. Think Coles, Burning, JB Hi-Fi all combined in one super-supermarket. This is Walmart. Now when I am on holidays I tend to let my dress sense and appearance also take a break. But I looked like a runway model compared to the majority. For starters I had shoes and recently brushed teeth. This makes Toowoomba’s Clifford Gardens look like a Rodeo Drive boutique.
Every story has a silver lining and I got my/your bounty. Four kilograms of Hershey’s best just in time for Easter. Now before anybody complains about the sheer amount of unhealthy food just purchased, can I make one small point? This is to be split amongst many and I think none of this will see the inside of my pantry or digestive track. Friends of mine have bought back many pairs of size 14 shoes for me over the years so this is the least I could do to repay a favour.
The trip back on the bus, ferry and train had many a familiar question, “that’s a lot of candy”. I must have got that twenty times with some elaborating further about what this is going to do to waistline, teeth and general health. And for every conversation there was that look of “why doesn’t he just eat some salad?” Once I explained that you can’t buy it in Australia those judgemental looks turned to smiles.
Moral of the story? Unless you want to see homeless people act out the first three chapters of ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ don’t take public transport.
In between my trek today I came across ‘Paul’s Omlettery’. As the name suggests it is run by a man called Paul and he makes omlettes.
He should also have a sister chain of stores for his pancakes. This was the first time this trip I have had pancakes with maple syrup. They give you whipped butter too but that stuff is no good for you. Both the omlette and pancakes come highly recommended.
Until next time. And I will be back Easter Monday so you will have to hold out until then for your sugar fix.