Posted by: GeekHiker | March 10, 2010

Vancouver Olympics 2010 – Days 3-5 – More Events!

Day 03 – Rest, then Party!!!

Day three was mostly a rest day.  JaG and SJ had to work, so the rest of us slept in, watched the Olympics on TV, and walked around the neighborhood.

Much like The Parentage’s new place, JaG’s neighborhood is interspersed with forest creek areas, with nice trails going through.  L.A. has nothing like it, for the most part, with the majority of the city’s old creeks and riparian areas now routed through concrete channels.

(I should point out that, after reading a history of the L.A. River, there is actually some logic behind this: huge rainstorms would often flood the traditional floodplain in winter, causing massive destruction to property and, often, loss-of-life.  After years of this (particularly the storms of ’38), residents welcomed “controlling” the river and its tributaries.  It’s easy to criticize the ugly concrete channels now, but in the context of history, how it came to be makes a lot of sense.)

When JaG and SJ got off work, we headed downtown via SkyTrain.  They had tickets to the hockey game that night, so the three of us who didn’t wandered around the incredibly busy downtown area, searching for a place to eat with something less than a two hour wait.  We finally ended up at Rosie’s on Robson, where the actress I’d met on day one joined us for food and drink.

Well fed, we headed down onto Granville Street to meet up with JaG and SJ, then spent the following hours wandering up and down the huge street party.  It was all one big jovial crowd, celebrating Canada’s wins and just the Olympics in general.

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Giant crowds in Downtown Vancouver (image courtesy & copyright CB)

At one point, an impromptu game of duck-duck-goose started up on a circular bench.  It was a bunch of adults being kids and all kinds of silly, except for the one guy who took it a little too seriously.  Naturally, everybody started choosing him for the “goose”!

Granville 03
Impromptu Duck-Duck-Goose! (image courtesy & copyright CB)

Around midnight the long day was catching up with us, so we headed for the SkyTrain.  Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect: just as we hit the station, the alcohol was starting to kick in on the street, with the odd threat of an alcohol/testosterone fight nearby.  (This, I want to add, was NOT the norm: 99% was one big happy party!)

Knowing when to make an exit is everything, eh?

Day 04 –Welcome to the Wonderful World of Curling

After the previous night’s Granville party, sleeping in was definitely in order.

We couldn’t sleep the whole day, though, as we had another event: Women’s Curling!

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The Olympic Curling Venue

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Panorama of the Curling Venue

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking: yawn.  Truth be told, none of us knew a darn thing about curling before we went, and we were all pleasantly surprised.

We slowly started figuring out how the game worked as we watched.  Curling is something like a giant chess game, and at two hours plus, an endurance event.  There’s a lot of skill involved in sliding 40 pound granite rocks across the ice, then maneuvering them with brooms into juuuust the right spot.

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Great Britain throws its first stone

I also realized curling is more interesting in person.  Often, there’s discussion amongst the team about where to “throw” a rock, how to place it, knock the opponent’s rock out, etc.  They also have to think of what their opponent’s move will be, then their move after that.  As I said, it’s like chess.  So part of the fun is figuring out what the next best move would be for a particular team, which means looking at the setup and discussing amongst friends.

Which is usually where TV cuts to commercial.

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Debating the next play

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The Chinese team confers

The other cool thing about curling was the crowds.  They were downright boisterous, especially with four games being played simultaneously.  It almost made us forget about the fact that our seats were sized for kindergartners.  Almost.

Oh, and did I mention?  Some of the curlers are positively HOT.

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Eve Muirhead of Great Britain – we we all rather fascinated by her hair…

After the event, we headed downtown to see the Torch for the first time. This was just after the controversy about putting the torch behind chain link fences, ruining potential photos. By now a hole had been cut in the fence, and the rooftop of a nearby building opened up as a viewing platform. And all around, crowds gathered to see…

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Crowds gathered at the Olympic Torch

Day 05 –More Curling! Awesome!

Also, the beer served at Canadian sporting events?  Tons better than that served at U.S. sporting events.  Just ‘sayin.

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The athletes enter to a bagpipe procession

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Athletes at play. How about those (now famous) pants on Norway’s team? Huh? Huh?

After curling, we headed back into the city and ate at Subeez Cafe, a nice restaurant near downtown that makes gluten-free meals.  A shared pitcher of delicious sangria certainly helped the the repast and conversation as well.  SJ and I shared the fancy appetizer, then I partook of a salad (I needed the greens), skipping the fancy burgers.  They did, however, look mighty tasty, so I guess I’ll have to go back.

Of course, I also managed to throw out any health benefit from the salad by having a slice of flourless chocolate cake.  *shrug*  That’s what vacations are for

After dinner, we headed over to see the torch again, this time from the rooftop set up. It was nice to see it in full view, though I still found myself partial to an editorial I’d read earlier in one of the local dailies: take down the fence, put up ropes and have a ton of Mounties in full dress standing guard.  As the author put it (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here): “cliché?  You bet!  And why not?”

Whatever the case, seeing the torch was kind of surreal.  There’s this little voice in the back of your mind saying “This is real?  I’m actually at the Olympic Games?  In front of the actual Olympic Torch?”

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The Olympic Torch from the overlook

I don’t know that I’ll make it to another Olympics, but going to one in my life has been wonderfully, unexpectedly cool.

And to think, it all came about because of this blog.

More to come…

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Responses

  1. The Norwegian pants are HOT!

    The hole in the fence: that’s hilarious. People are such ingenious creatures! I’d have taken a picture of the hole!

  2. Canadian beer…..gooooooood.

  3. First my brother in law volunteered at the Atlanta summer games. Now you have the time of your life. I’ve got to get off my butt and get myself to an Olympics.

    The torch pic is very cool!

  4. Does this end of this week end up with you and the cute actress girl becoming an item?

    I’m relieved that Canadians serve better beer at sporting events. It would be too sad to learn otherwise.

  5. Impromtu DuckDuckGoose- I will chalk that up to “Things White People Like”.

    Norwegian Pants- I think I just had an aneurysm.

  6. What a great experience!! Glad you are home and can’t wait for the “more to come.”

  7. Yep. I hate you.

    By the way, please don’t do that to people’s faces without warning, FREAKS ME OUT.

  8. You forgot to mention the continuing parping niffiness coming from the row in front of us at the curling!

  9. Is this your 1st time @ the Olyimpics!? Awww….Lucky u!

  10. do you have some sort of super-telescopic lens? because those are some fantastic close-ups on the curlers. and the torch is just gorgeous.
    what a great trip. yay!

  11. K – There’s a golf company that makes ‘em, if you want some. As for the fence, you can see the solution in the picture: a horizontal slice through the middle. I think they later replaced it with plexi…

    CMACC – Are you offering to buy me a round?

    Homer-Dog – Indeed you do!

    MissMcCracken – LOL, no, nothing happened there. Never saw her again, though we do exchange the random (read: weekly or so) e-mail.

    TheCoconutDiaries – Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!

    Dobegil – Thanks!

    Narami – Bummer, I still like you! As for the faces, I always tend to do that on crowd shots, just in case someone was where they weren’t supposed to be!

    SJ – I’m trying to hold on to the good memories…

    DesertAspie – Yep. Have you been to Olympics before?

    BlakSpring – Nope, cameras just come with long zooms these days. Thanks for the nice compliments too!

  12. Wonderful post– what a great adventures– thanks for letting me live vicariously!


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