It’s no secret that I love eating at Taco Bell. For better or worse, I usually drive about half an hour to a Taco Bell location to get my fix. That particular TB is awesome and has never disappointed me. For the longest time though, I’ve known that location is not the closest one to me yet I won’t go to the closer one. Why? One word: Surrey.

If you’re not familiar with the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, let me educate you. For decades now, Surrey has been labelled as one of the least classy parts of the greater Vancouver area. There is a certain perception that the people who live in Surrey, for the most part, are bereft of the behaviours one might learn in a proper finishing school. I hate to stereotype but there is considerable evidence that this just isn’t some joke. There is a Facebook page, entitled “Only In Surrey“, that documents the type of people who live in the suburb.

All of this would be somewhat innocuous if that was all there is to Surrey but crime is a huge issue as well. If you look at this Twitter account, which monitors emergency communications for fire, ambulances, and police, a large majority of the crime-related Tweets reference Surrey. It’s clear that people don’t feel safe being in Surrey. From high-profile and senseless killings to a ton of petty crimes, overall Surrey just doesn’t seem like a great place to be.

So having said all that, guess where the closest Taco Bell is to me. You guessed it. Surrey. Earlier this week, throwing caution to the wind, I decided to go have lunch at the geographically closest Taco Bell to me, located at the Central City mall. I had a few things that mitigated the risk. First, the mall is located right next to a Skytrain station. That meant it would be easy to get to, would not require driving, and there would be lots of people around. Second, I’d be going in the daytime when there are only daywalkers around.

With a sense of adventure in my heart and a desire for cheesy gordita crunches, I headed off. From the time I left my place to when I got off the train for the mall was about 15 minutes, less than half the time for my usual TB journey. There were definitely some sketch people on the train with me but there were also a lot of university students too. The mall contains a satellite campus for SFU. I’d never been to Central City before and it’s actually a nicely designed mall. It wasn’t difficult to find the Taco Bell / KFC combo store in the food court. The people in the food court seemed normal which was good to see. No one accosted me while I ate.

As for my actual meal, I got a gordita crunch meal with fries supreme. My gordita was fine but the fries supreme tasted a bit off. Just from my one experience there, the TB location at Coquitlam Centre is definitely better. After eating, I explored the mall for while but I was very cognizant of when the sun was setting. I didn’t want to be in Surrey after dark as I didn’t want to run the risk of encountering problems.

I got home fine. Going forward, I will go back to that location again, just because it was so easy and convenient to get to. Central City also has a Bed, Bath, and Beyond which I usually don’t get to go to. I feel like I’ve expanded my horizons (as well as my waistline).

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