Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Olympics: Day 1.1

February 12, 2010. I woke up and discovered that I had roommates in my hostel. [It was basically an apartment... you went in and there was a shared bathroom and kitchen, then I had a room with a powerful lock, and they had a room with an equally powerful lock. They looked like a crackhead couple. They also looked a bit dead. We all said "hey", and that was the last I ever saw of them. I was Canada-clad, they were gothed out. I'm sure we would have been fast friends.

I headed downtown, well-crafted itinerary in hand, and arrived at the Four Host Nations Pavilion, only to discover that it wasn't opening on time.

I did get to look around outside, and saw this cool totem pole, which I had previously seen the making-of video for!

There was also this woman practising whatever instrument this is. She was hilarious, so I stayed a little while and listened to her beautiful music / hilariousness.

Also, there were flowers EVERYWHERE. February my ass!

Next on my itinerary was the also closed-rather-than-open-as-promised Alberta House. A sign on the door said it would be opening a whole day late. Come on! They built all these beautiful buildings and they're open for as little time as possible!?

I crossed the street and discovered that the Bell Ice Cube actually WAS open as promised! I went inside, where Sidney Crosby's torch was in the main entrance.

They gave everyone a pair of Bell earbuds, which could be plugged into a variety of cords, screens, etc. to enjoy live footage of the final day of the torch realy, news, and various interactive things produced by Bell.

I only spent about 5 minutes in line, and about 10 minutes inside. I had allowed 90 minutes per pavilion, in case wait times were bad as predicted (they were later in the games, but not that day). Obviously I had lots of time to kill, so I took a walk to an area way on the other side of BC Place where a bunch of other pavilions were. I hadn't planned to go there because they were out of the way, but I had tons of time! On my walk, I passed a group of volunteers who totally clapped for me after I took this picture. The volunteers were everywhere, and they were wonderful!

I walked through this little neighbourhood, which borders the Downtown Eastside. Vancouver is even pretty right next to extreme poverty!

I arrived along False Creek, and got a shot of Science World, which was playing host to Russia House. Sadly, they had very limited hours, so I was unable to go check out their promotion of the Sochi Olympics.

But I got to look across the water to the beautiful Athletes Village.

There were flags!

The Salt Building is a salvaged old building used as the athletes' living room. Cool! And check out how awesome my zoom is!

Canada house!

There were hundreds of little inukshuks all along the shore.

Rumour has it that one guy comes every day and makes some, but I imagine lots of people do it.

I saw Molson Hockey House, which was too pricey for little old me.

I also saw Maison du Quebec, which you could go into, but it wasn't really anything. At night, it would be filled with food and drink and live music, but not when I was there at 11am.

Next up was Saskatchewan, which I was one of the very first visitors to! Unfortunately, its enticing dome was just about the most exciting part. I got a free broken pen, and a pin with the new logo for the city of Regina. That was about it. It was mainly a business showcase.

I then checked out what Ontario had to offer. A very cool building, with cords on the outside that moved in the wind, looking a bit like Niagara Falls. The first part was a small theatre, where a 4D movie made me completely homesick for about 5 minutes, even though I'd been away about 30 hours hah. The theatre sprayed us with mist and snow and bubbles, it even stabbed us in the back. It was fantastic.

I strolled back to my original location, where I grabbed lunch at a very delicious BBQ joint called DIX. It was there I found out about the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashivili [whose name I can spell without even looking it up! :O]. Very sad.

After lunch, and a couple rye and cokes, I still had time to kill, but nothing to do. I decided to see what was going on at BC Place. And that's how I ended up as one of the very first people inside for the coolest event I've ever attended.

1 comment:

Basel-based Michael said...

Thanks for your reports, can't wait to read more, as I missed most of the Olympics this year.

BTW, the lady was playing a Cello

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cello

Will be translating more of my old blogs, but it takes some time...