February 23rd, 2010
I know not everyone is as nuts about the Olympics as I am (or Laurie or Carol), so I warn you…. if 16 days of international love, peace, happiness and sports is not your thing… this is a very long post. My sons, hubby and I are koo-koo for Olympic Cocoa Puffs. When we learned 7 years ago that the 2010 Winter Olympics were going to be in Vancouver, BC… we said WE HAVE TO GO, whether we had event tickets or not. Or not is how it turned out. Seven years is not long enough for me to plan - I was too late to buy tickets. So we just went to be there. The world was going to be in Vancouver, and by golly we wanted to meet the world. Hello world. I love you.
It was all very iffy when we were going and for how long. Lodging was one thing I was able to secure. So as it turns out, DH2’s school schedule changed. He was going, then wasn’t going… and then he was going - and that left us with leaving on Friday night and returning Saturday night. In the big picture of things, 5+ hours driving to get there is no biggie. Seriously. Live on a Hawaiian Island for six years - where a road trip means pulling out of your driveway, driving in a big circle… and ending up where you started. Roads trips like driving up to Vancouver are still very welcome - even after having left Oahu 10 years ago.
Check Point Charlie-DudleyDoRight
Entering Canada, we were greeted with beautiful Canadian border buildings and super friendly border agents who seemed genuinely happy to have us visiting. I think I found the Nordstrom of border crossings. Beautiful British Columbia lets us know where to find Hope if we need it.
The freeway suddenly turns into a city street. Poof. Just like that. My Californian brain can’t conceptualize that we can get anywhere without a freeway… but look… there it is, we made it to downtown Vancouver on a city STREET! No fuss no muss… and everyone was driving so friendly.
Further down the street, this building reminded me of Germany. My parents immigrated to the US from Germany via Toronto - and settled in California right before I was born. I consider myself to be an Almost Canadian. Go Almost Canada Go!
Vancouver’s Chinatown. OH THE COLOR!!! I cracked up at the SHARE THE ROAD signs. I SWEAR it’s Wayne driving the ‘76 AMC Pacer and Garth riding a bike. Hmm… Mike Meyer’s IS Canadian. Go Wayne Go Garth Go!
I used to collect Olympic pins. Before they were readily available like this (or on the internet). I used to have to buy them through a broker with this thing called an envelope and this sticky thing we used to lick called a stamp.
At Canada Place. More colour, colour, colour!
Canada Place overlooking Coal Harbour.
The Welcome Centre at Canada Place. Because I love typing like a Canadian… centre, harbour, colour. Downtown was peppered with volunteers - answering questions, giving directions, saying hello and welcoming visitors. What wonderful ambassadors they were to Vancouver and Canada. Thank you volunteers for making us so welcome in your home.
The Olympic Flame in all it’s glory. Like Cinderella’s Castle in Disneyland… it looks much bigger on tv. Much controversy about the cauldron - it’s surrounded by fencing. The fencing was moved closer before we got there, but still bah hum bug over it. I think it looks like a captured alien being interrogated. FREE THE CAULDRON! FREE THE CAULDRON! Go Cauldron Go!
Ha. I guess we won’t be going up to the viewing balcony. Oh sure, we can wait in the queue with 20,000 of our new best friends. I think the end of the line was at the entrance of Stanley Park. Back to the chain link fence we went. But it was fun. SOOOO many people speaking so many languages and everyone was so happy and festive. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget. It really did feel like the center of the world there. I say this EVERY Olympics… I wish the world lived in the same peace of the 16 days of glory - but doin’ it 365 days a year.
As we headed back to the garage, we came upon an Old Spaghetti Factory on Water Street in Gastown. We really wanted to go, but we decided we weren’t going to come all the way up to Canada and eat at an OSF when we can do that in our Vancouver (Washington). BOY do I regret it. They had beautiful outdoor seating and a huge Euro vibe about it. I almost wept. And the weather was 100% al fresco dining weather to boot (as you can see by my
Winter Spring Olympic footwear). It was packed, the final reason we nixed it. Look at this photo I found on flickr. Yeah. We passed that up - but we had a consolation… we found an all you can eat sushi place and WENT. TO. TOWN. We’re going back to Vancouver and we’re having dinner at OSP on Water Street. No ifs ands or buts.
I don’t know how it happened, but I became a Russian athlete/coach stalker - in hopes of befriending them and they’ll hand over their adorable red and white jackets/hat. Laurie has a great post about the US athletes attire at the opening ceremony. While I love the Ralph Lauren outfits… I gasped when the Russian team walked into the stadium with the red/white swirliques on their hats and jackets.
Why, hello Russia.
I go to a mall about once every 2 years. I had no choice but to visit one in Vancouver - I had to go to The Bay if my life depended on it. But it was fruitful and worth it. Oh so worth it.
Coffee and dessert the Canadian way. Go Timbits Go!
The flip side of the Peach Arch as we head back into the US. The border agent asked us the standard crossing questions. He then asked us, “Oh please don’t tell me you drove from Oregon just to spend one day in Vancouver?” Um. Well. Now my brain is thinking that clearly no matter what our answer is - is that we’re gonna look like Cocoa Puffs and the next thing you know our truck is being torn apart and inspected. I did volunteer my apples for ag surrender. Maybe that did the trick. Doing the right thing is always best. Plus the last time we crossed from Victoria I smuggled a few Cuban cigars into the US and I’ve been carrying the guilt. In case the border patrol is reading this… I just made that up about the Cuban’s. BTW… Dear US Government: Safety and security is job one and we’re grateful for the US Border Patrol’s service and dedication. But have you seen how pretty Canadian’s crossing is? Our border agents look like they’re working out of 3rd world outpost and it’s not looking too welcoming to our visitors. I think we can still kick ass and look good at the same time - just saying.
Thank you, Vancouver. We heart you.
Posted in Field Trip |