I’ve decided to focus briefly on the Olympics before playing catch-up with my travels leading up to Vancouver. For now, it’s enough for you to know that I ended up here with a group of three others from the States, all staying with a couple (one of them American, the other one German) that currently lives just south of downtown Vancouver.
It’s amazing, my opinion of this bustling city, compared to how I felt about Las Vegas. I love it here! It’s impossible not to get caught up in the enthusiasm and spirit of the Winter Games.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the city is wall to wall people. Take Robson street, for example. It’s closed to vehicle traffic, and the surges of people never stop. People are going every which direction constantly! There is continual chanting of “CA-NA-DA! CA-NA-DA!” fantastic smells of food emanating from the restaurants lining the streets, street performers encircled by gawking audiences, and bits of foreign languages being tossed about in the air rushing by. I’ve never been here before, but I’m fairly certain that all of this is not normal.
The Olympic Torch, of course, was a must-see. So here it is, my very own picture, sans the controversial fence surrounding it. (The trick is to stand a little farther back from the flame and use the zoom feature on your camera. Then crop the picture and use just a little bit of Photoshop retouching to get rid of the black fence posts.)
This trip, in case you haven’t figured it out, was a completely spur-of-the-moment decision on my part. I didn’t conclusively decide to come until the very day that my friend was leaving Jackson Hole, and I jumped in his ride.
That being said, we had no forethought on getting tickets to any Olympic events. Once we got to Vancouver and started checking around, we found that most tickets cost well over $100 and many events were already sold out. So instead of beating our heads against a wall and emptying our wallets for a few short hours of fun, we decided to just enjoy the city and all the free activities it had to offer.
But then we also decided it would be fun to see something. What we came up with was attending an Olympic Awards Ceremony. For nosebleed last-minute tickets, we paid $50, and were treated to being inside the place where the Opening Ceremony was held. (I thought that, in itself was pretty cool!)
After a lot of waiting, a few short propoganda film clips on how awesome Vancouver and British Columbia are, a trivia game, and some more waiting, the Awards finally commenced. We were treated to the Women’s Halfpipe Snowboarding medal awarding, which was fun for me to see, as I am a woman snowboarder. I was a little disappointed, however, that they didn’t show more footage of the actual snowboarding. All they showed at the ceremony was about 15 seconds of each medal winner. I would have preferred seeing more of that. But it was fun to stand for the Australian anthem (Torah Bright was the gold medal winner) and raising of the flags. And the confetti at the end was a nice touch.
The other two awards we were there to see did not take place live; they took place at Whistler. So we got to watch them on the big screen, which wasn’t the same. It would have been just as significant to sit at home on the couch and watch the athletes get their medals. Clapping for them even felt weird, as we knew they couldn’t hear us anyway. So that, too, was a bit disappointing.
But no matter! We got to take part in the Olympics!
Coming up: Ethiopian food, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Olympic Wishes, and Gassy Jack.
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