Posted by: GeekHiker | March 18, 2010

Vancouver Olympics 2010 – Days 9-12 – Tourist!

Day 9 – Intellectual Day

Not having any events and with my friends working, I decided to head into the city despite my cold.  My goal was the Museum of Anthropology, located on the UBC campus.

My first stop, though, was Tim Hortons, where I downed a cup of hot chocolate and a couple of donuts.  Not my normal breakfast of choice, of course, but I figured I was sick and I’d allow myself the luxury.  Loaded with empty calories, I got back on the train and then took the bus out to the beautiful UBC campus, walking the last portion to the museum.

Vancouver Olympics 23
Exterior of the Museum of Anthropology

The museum recently went through an upgrade, and the institution made a very interesting choice: display everything.  Rather than a few choice items on display, now everything in the collection is on display.  Some items are in glass cases, and the rest are located in drawers below the cases.

On the one hand, it’s a very cool idea, being able to see every item in a museum’s collection rather than just what’s been chosen to be put on display.  On the other, it’s a little overwhelming: with 10,000 items available, it’s hard to know where to look and concentrate one’s attention.

Still, one of my favorite parts was the fact that many of the displays were put together by the First Nations people that the objects belonged to.  It’s a great idea, bridging the object on display from being “an artifact gathering dust” to the fact that it’s a real thing: one that plays a traditional and current role in people’s lives and beliefs.  Fantastic.

Vancouver Olympics 21
“Raven and the First Men” sculpture

Vancouver Olympics 22
Totems in the main gallery

(I apologize for the lack of photos; the lighting was very dim.)

I also learned what Olympic teams do on their day off: they’re shuttled to museums.  I saw the Russian, Norwegian and Holland teams all while I was there, all dressed in their matching outfits.

It’s like being in a different world…

Day 10 – Should’a Stayed Home

It was Friday.  JaG and SJ were working.  It was my last day to head into the city to explore.  I was still sick.  I should’a stayed in bed.  Oops.

I started the day downtown again, at Tim Hortons again, eating donuts again, nursing my hot chocolate over the course of an hour.  On the plus side, though, I did engage in conversation with a couple of bus drivers from back east, out working the games.  I think I left them convinced that not all ‘Mericans are arrogant assholes…

The remainder of the day was spent wandering around, trying to check out the various houses.  Unfortunately, lines were out the door everywhere, and while the rain wouldn’t ordinarily bug me, standing in the rain constantly blowing my nose did become a bit trying after a while.

Nevertheless, I did manage to see the Northern House and the British Columbia House.  Both were interesting, but both seemed to suffer from the same problem as many of the houses: they weren’t prepared for the crowds.  The venues were always a bit too small, the lines always out the door.

Fed up with the lines, I headed over to check out the main library, which is impressive both architecturally and in collection size.  It also occurred to me while I was there that I’ve never been to the L.A. Public Library Main Library, which made me laugh a bit.

Day 11 – Comfort Food

Day 11, Saturday, the three of us headed into the city to see more houses.  As the SkyTrain sailed over Science World, which held Russia’s Sochi House, prospects did not look good: the line was down the block.

I was rather bummed that I never made it to Sochi House.  Chatting with someone at the Northern Territories house, I had sort of been curious: I was told the Russian representatives were kind of rude, most didn’t speak English or French (the two languages of, you know, the host country), and one could buy Russian Olympic Gear (with t-shirts starting at, apparently, $150).

Instead, we stood in the rain for the Host Nations House, held under a giant sphere.  There was a lengthy presentation of ceremonial dance and speeches inside that, while fascinating, ran a bit too long.  Standing in front of the vent bringing (very cold) fresh air into the room wasn’t helping my cold too much either.

Vancouver Olympics 24
First Nations House

Vancouver Olympics 25
Ceremonial dance at the First Nations House

With hunger creeping in, we headed across to North Vancouver, settling in for dinner at Burgoo Bistro, a restaurant that specializes in comfort food from around the world.  Being rainy and cold outside and needing something warm, I went for the mac and cheese, some of the best I’ve ever had.

The evening finished off back at The Bay, where I shopped as quickly as I could (and it still took too long; bless them both for their patience) for Olympic Souvenirs and gifts for some friends back home.

And remember: VISA: it’s the only card accepted at the Olympic Games (as we’ve all be informed by, you know, the voice of God).  You’d think, given the advertising, I would have seen fewer surprised faces holding MasterCard and Amex cards at the registers…

Day 12 – It’s all about HOCKEY

Sunday, my final full day in Vancouver, pretty much wrapped itself around one event: the Gold Medal Hockey Match between Canada and the U.S.

It was a damn good game, especially with the U.S. bringing it to a tie game with only 24 seconds left in the 3rd period.  JaG, I should tell you, takes her hockey very seriously.  When she said that, if the U.S. won, I would have to walk back to the border, I wasn’t entirely sure she was joking.

In fact, I’m still not.

But Canada prevailed, and I wasn’t forced out of the house.  🙂

(I’m also surprised by how much I enjoyed hockey.  Maybe I’m actually Canadian and don’t know it?)

A final, fitting photo:

Vancouver Olympics 26
From Day 11: On the Seabus back from North Vancouver. When Canada won a gold medal, the rings were lit gold. And Canada won a lot of golds. 🙂



  1. Yay!! This was fun! Too bad you were so sick, but it sounds like you really pulled through and had a great time!

  2. I think you should ditch your current job and work for Frommer’s or something.

  3. Going to the library while on vacation … very unique. I like it.

  4. What an awesome trip, great photos, great storytelling, as per. Oh but next time, at Timmy Ho’s, you MUST have a coffee. Medium triple triple. Its like cocaine, You’ll be hooked.

  5. So if Timmy’s is like cocaine, does that mean instead of doing Roll Up the rim, they’ll be doing Roll Up The Sleeve and Inject?

  6. that’s so cool how you saw all those teams in the museum. they were probably as overwhelmed as you at all the displays 🙂
    but what’s up with the russians? are you sure that was 150 dollars and not rubles?

  7. MissMcCracken – Pulled through, yes, blowing my nose all the way…

    TheCoconutDiaries – LOL, if I thought they were hiring…

    Homer-Dog – I have my style…

    CMACC – Shame on you, trying to get me addicted!

    SJ – Hmmmmmmm…

    BlakSpring – Not according to the person I was talking with, but having not witnessed personally, I’ll never know for sure…

  8. I love totem poles and all those wood sculptures! Saw something in the Seattle Art Museum (wait, or was it the Met in NYC? Don’t remember) quite a while ago, and was totally at awe.

  9. Love your Olypic post. Sorry you were so sick, but you were a trooper continuing out and adventuring. Welcome back and have you made it to the LA Main Library yet?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: