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Olympic Gold Day

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  • Posted on: February 19th, 2010

Hugo and I drove in to Vancouver yesterday morning and I met up with Crystal, Dave and Dave’s Mom to take the skytrain downtown. Hugo stayed at Dave’s to keep Mowgley the cat company – and ate all his food – ooops :( Cat food is NOT good for doggies – it’s too high in protein but Hugo seems to be okay. Mowgley is hungry though!

We drove to the skytrain station, parked my car and headed to Pacific Centre station. Our plan was to go to the Vancouver Art Gallery because they had free admission and the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit was on display. We got caught up in the crowds of people, watching street entertainers, looking at sculptures, art work and wandered the streets for an hour or so and by the time we found the end of the lineup for the VAG, it was a block long. The wait time was supposedly ’15 or 20 minutes’ but judging by the line and the movement we didn’t quite believe it so we chose to carry on wandering the streets and people watching. It was amazing to be part of the whole atmosphere.

When I realized we were right at the Hudsons Bay Company Official Olympic Store, I said I wanted to go in. It was a 10 to 15 minute wait which turned into a good half an hour. Crystal and I waited there while Dave and his Mom went to White Spot to put their names in for a table. They then watched athletes perform stunts on a trampoline – with skis and snowboards. It sounded impossible as they told us about it later at lunch, but then we realized that must be how the athletes actually learn to do the jumps without hurting themselves.

Lunch was GREAT – I’d highly recommend White Spot as I love their food. We sat for at least an hour and stuffed our faces and rested, then went back on the streets to find more activities.

The Aboriginal House attracted us and the sun was warm so we chose to stand in line. I took a few photos of the signs explaining the 4 First Nations that were our hosts, looked at the unusual totem pole which was a log cut in half and the back was hollowed out. Metal re-inforcements were bracing the back of it – possibly to keep it from warping. It seemed very odd to me as that doesn’t seem to be a traditional way, but perhaps for a commercial use it’s required.

Oh, and the actual Aboriginal House was igloo shaped. I couldn’t figure that out… Wouldn’t a teepee shaped building have been more authentic, appropriate and attractive? Or a Long House??? The igloo is made of rubber and looks like Zodiac boat material.

We stood in line for an hour and a half, with people stopping continually to ask what we were waiting for. After a while I started telling them, ‘the bathroom’. That got quite a few laughs and eased the discomfort of waiting time. We were welcomed to the ‘Signature’ performance and told the ‘live’ performances would not re-start until 9 pm. It was 4:30, but we stood in long for such a long time there was no way we were leaving until we saw the ‘show’. There were short introductions and the 9 minute show started. We sat on the floor and Crystal and I leaned back to back to relieve some of the backache. I was actually considering lying down so I could video the show on the ceiling as it was difficult to crane my neck to look up.

There were pictures of very frightening totem poles projected on the ceiling of the dome and one dad had to take his screaming child outside. I’m not really sure what the message of the 9 minute show was, other than a child saying over and over, ‘We are Here’. I think everyone was relieved when the lights went on and we could escape outdoors. People around me were mumbling about what a waste of time it was standing in line as long as we did, for a 9 minute video. Taught me a lesson – ASK more questions before standing in line!

After sitting on the floor, in the dark, our body temperatures had dropped and Crystal was shivering when we got outside. Dave and his Mom had had enough ‘Olympics’ and headed for the skytrain. Crystal and I walked to the Canada Pavillion and stood in line outside ‘Live City’. It was only a ’20 minute’ line – haha – but with the sun gone there was no way we could wait. I suggested we walk to warm up and we headed to Yaletown where we could see masses of people in the streets.

It looked like a fun area so we went into a store and bought warm ‘Cowichan’ knock off hats (made in Nepal). Crystal had a coffee and we were ready to head back out, ready for the chilly Vancouver night. Sean and Kaia were coming downtown to join us and Sean said the Men’s Mogul competition was starting at 5:30.

We found a Beer Garden with big screens and managed to get the best table in the house! Sean and Kaia joined us just before the competition ended and to our delight the Canadian took the GOLD! Everyone in the beer garden tents burst into a spontaneous rendition of ‘O Canada’. It was amazing to be part of such patriotic spirit!

Next up was Live City – the lineup wasn’t as long so we were quickly through the metal detectors and purse search. Canada House didn’t have a lineup and I didn’t go in, but we stood in line for Quebec House (I think) to hear a band play. It was so nice to sit down in a chair and put my feet up on another chair. The room was packed with people standing and dancing but Crystal and I were able to see the big screen from where we sat. Sean stood up and put Kaia on his shoulders. She was amazing to watch as she waved her Canadian flags to the music, clapped and entertained the crowd. The band noticed her and commented, and their ‘young fan’ and her ‘hot’ Dad!

Here’s a hint if you plan to go to the Olympics: dress warmly, wear layers, take a hat, gloves/mittens and really comfortable shoes! No doubt you will have so much fun you won’t want to go home early – and it does get chilly at night.

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