Whouf! So we're well into the first week of the Olympics. It's been nuts. I kind of expected it to be exciting and busy but it has been NUTS. In a good way. Here's the first chunk of haps:
Before the Friday the 12th...
- Not THAaaat many people around but there was a definite 'buzz' of excitement around the streets. Art exhibits started going up around town.
This is my favourite so far:
(The Words Don't Fit the Picture outside the Library)
On Thursday a bunch of my coworkers and I went to go watch the torch coming down Willingdon (right by our office.)
Pedestrians basically shut down Kingsway, it was crazy. We waited for about an hour (11:30-12:30). It was raining, but it was really fun because everyone was in a good mood and anxious to see the torch. When the torch guy came everyone just SWARMED him, trying to high five him or get a good picture. He looked really excited. Being short I couldn't get a good picture, here are my two best shots.
Not very good shots :( It was so fast!!
After that the crowd just dissipated, WHOOSH, so quickly. Within half an hour there was no trace that anyone was even there!! Amazing.
I rushed home after work because Trevor wanted to go see the relay AGAIN as it came downtown. I feel like we didn't wait as long? But maybe that's because I was having fun catching up with friends, and it wasn't raining. The leg we were waiting for was Michael Bublé. If you haven't heard of him, he's a famous Canadian crooner. Like literally, a crooner, like Frank Sinatra.
Once again, everything happened so fast. I gave up on the camera, here's Trevor's best shot.
That vague flame-like blur is Michael Bublé. I high-fived him as he ran past! Whoo! But I TAKE IT BACK now because he was kind of a dick at the Colbert show...
After that we milled about 'Live City' (one of the party venues) and watched the cermony of the flame being put down for the night. It was really fun! Everyone was singing the anthem, and then there were little fireworks :) It was PACKED!
The next day was the night of the Opening Cermonies. This is when the buzz really started to build. I rushed home, and everyone else seemed to be rushing, too, trying to get to a TV by 6pm. I expected Stadium Skytrain to be really really crowded, but it wasn't so bad. I think it's because people with tickets were told to get there by 2!!! I heard that there were a lot of protesters around the other side of the Stadium, but I didn't see them, I live on the other side. Lots of people I passed were wearing Canadian Paraphernalia, I passed a middle-aged businessman who was just ringin' a cowbell, just 'cause :)
Trevor had a couple of our friends to watch the ceremony on TV. We bought cable JUST for the month of February so we could watch Olympic stuff.
I really liked the Cermony. I thought it was classy, and not very embarassing. Everone has something bad to say about it: "too aboriginal, not enough French, too much Saskatchewan, not enough Ontario, too Canadian
(bwuh???)". Blah blah blah. I liked it. It was fun, respectful, very Canadiana, interesting.
- Holographic whales on the floor
- Devil in the flying Canoe (which is based on a Quebecois fable I remember from school)
- Steve Nash looking very confused and apprehensive when the pillar didn't go up
- When the cameras followed Wayne Gretzky around on the back of a truck and he looked so pissed because his arm was tired and it was raining. Everyone on the streets was like "HOLY--- Is THAT WAYNE GRETZKY ON THE BACK OF A TRUCK!?"
*sprints to follow*
Least Favourite Moments:
- The VANOC pres' horrible horrible French.
- The pillar not going up. WE WERE DOING SO WELL!!!
- I heard a rumour that a hologram of Terry Fox would pass the torch to his mom, I tried to watch the ceremony with no expectations, but I must admit that I'm kind of disappointed that there was nothing about Terry Fox :(
After the ceremony ended, all of us hit the streets. From that moment on, several streets were PACKED to the gills with people. I would estimate that 60-70% of the people were drunk. Downtown was one big party mosh pit. People were cheering randomly, chanting, singing, clapping. One group was singing "Waa-ayne Gretzky! *clap clap, clap clap clap* Aaa-aane Muuu-ray *clap clap, clap clap clap* Teeee-ry Fox'smom *clap clap, clap clap clap*". :)
It was a sea of red and white, and a bunch of other people had brought their own country's flags out, too. We passed a bunch of athletes in dress that we recognized from the cermony. You could easily spot people who had gone to the ceremony, because they were carrying the little drum and poncho that they gave everyone. One guy was dressed as Waldo. Epic!!
On Saturday, we were invited on a Photo Scavenger Hunt by my friends J&A. It was intense, and it was pouring the whole time, but it was really fun! I'm glad we did it, because it kind of prodded us to go see the sights and do fun things - get a feel for everything and get it over with on the FIRST DAY.
Most of our assignment was finding foreign athletes and visitors and forcing ourselves into photos with them.
Here are some impatient Czechs:
The "Slovakian Drinking Team" (they sang a drinking song for us :) ) (I'm in the white coat)
Some very confused dudes from either Kazakstan, Turkmenistan or Tajikistan... something like that
Some of the Japanese Team "staff"
Some indifferent, but very attractive Norweigans
Some of our best scavenger hunt finds: We had to have one of our team members dressed in a volunteer's coat:
Dance Party in "Club Energy" (Power Smart's village - when you jump on the floor it generates electrical energy -
"Your toe inside a restricted zone"
(These volunteers/cops were so nice, and then we almost got hit by that bus)
A lot of people are asking "just How Crowded Is it". Well, these pictures are probably only going to make sense if you're familiar with Vancouver, but...
This is outside the Bay:
The stairs outside the Art Gallery
There's a two hour wait, and a line around the BLOCK to get into the Olypmic Store at the Bay. Four to Five hours to get on the free zipline:
It's an hour or two to get into any of the pavillions, and I'd estimate that to see any desirable "free" show, you'll need to be there 3-4 hours in advance. Maybe more.
However, I would say that if you were deliberately trying to ignore the Olympics, you definitely could. The main areas downtown are PACKED, and there's more people everywhere, no doubt, but it doesn't take a lot of walking to find some space. Areas outside the Vancouver core are FINE. The trains are more crowded, but so far I haven't had to wait for a single train, and I've been able to find a seat most of the time. They've doubled the frequency and put longer trains on, Translink is doing a really good job. I've heard the Canada Line is quite busy, I can't really say. Expo is FINE- and I live next to STADIUM!!!
I've been doing or watching something every day and night, so I have much much more to say but as you can tell from my internet aloofness, I've been really busy/tired/busy/excited... not a lot of time to sit and write :(
Here are some parting pictures...
Me across from the Olypmic Village (you can't get inside)
The cauldron and surrounding gong Show (this is before the fence was FINALLY moved closer, I haven't been since)
One of the big monitors outside Robson Square (These are everywhere, it's pretty cool)
Tranquility found on Sunday
One of the live shows at Robson
The lanterns on Granville (compare the busyness to the image at the top!)
Silly shapes they have set up :)
chinese New Year
Michael Ignatieff (leader of the opposition) at Chinese New Year (LOL)
I've been trying SO HARD to get the comic out, but it's so hard to SETTLE DOWN and draw!! It's pre-inked, it will be up soon. (Soon being relative). I miss you alllll the Olypmics are just so awesommmeeeee