Richmond Olympic Oval: Encore Public Skate

April 4th, 2010

Today was the second last day that the Richmond Olympic Oval opened the rink to the public for one last hurrah of the Olympic experience. Tomorrow is the last day you can go skating from 1-5pm. Admission and helmet rentals are $2 and skate rentals are $3. Parking is free (at least for me it was).

I went this afternoon with a few of my friends. I don’t normally travel into Richmond and naturally, my airhead of a friend told me to take an exit that basically led us to New Westminster–not where we wanted to go. Thank god for the iPhone and GPS. As I drove past the Oval, my jaw dropped. That place is massive.

There was quite a lineup outside of the Oval but it went faster than expected. Many people brought their own skates, and according to one staff member, 90% of the people he had talked to in the lineup had never stepped foot into the Richmond Oval before.

We headed upstairs to where the rink is, and it was exactly how I had seen it on TV. Obviously. Crowds of people were swarmed around sitting on chairs, putting on their skates, making their way to the entrance of the rink… The entire process was pretty fast considering the number of people that were present. Music blasted while we skated, and during one of the breaks (when the Zambonis came out and did their thing), they played Nikki Yanofsky’s “I Believe”.

Now, I’m not a skater. I’ve never learned how to skate. I don’t know how to skate. I can walk on it just fine and glide around like a total noob, but I can’t skate. This is why you have people called friends. We all took 2 tumbles throughout the ~ 1.5 hours (total) that we skated around, which consisted of losing balance, one skate hitting someone else’s leg, a friend trying to save my ass from losing balance which just made him lose balance… but it was all in good fun. We laughed it off.

Being a worse-than-amateur skater doesn’t mean that I stop snapping photos though.

After some fun on the ice, we walked around to check out what else was happening in the building. We happened to see a Paralympic gold medalist in a wheelchair, taking photos with people. I had no idea who he was, but I just went, GAAASSSSSSPP, basically because I wanted to hold that gold medal.

I’d held medals at the Mint during the Olympics, but this seemed different. Maybe because this time, I wasn’t wearing a white glove saying “I touched a gold medal”. I was aware of how heavy the medal was going to be, but somehow, I was still surprised.

I Google’d up the Paralympian and it turns out it was Darryl Neighbour, wheelchair curler. He’s in his 60s and really nice.

After we finished scouring the top level and went back down the stairs, we saw a still pretty big lineup for those wanting to get in, and the Oval was to close in about 2 hours time.

There’s an area in the Oval called “Field of Play”, where you go up a set of stairs and end up basically in the middle of the whole place. There’s a blue podium where you can take photos and you get a nice view of everything around you. The entire section inside the track is concrete/wood, and there’s a huge area for basketball and/or volleyball right now. That area looks bigger than my high school gym.

The words there (part of it cut off) are supposed to say “With Glowing Hearts” (and maybe some stuff after that), which is the Olympic’s slogan. The other side of the rink says something like “Vancouver 2010″.

After tomorrow, when the Oval closes to the public, they’ll be turning away from the long track speed skating configuration for a layout that will be able to accommodate ice, track, court, paddling, and fitness users. The end result will be three levels high with all 512,000 square feet filled out.

Can’t you just picture yourself on the 3rd level, running the treadmill, and looking down to see a fun hockey game, a volleyball practice, some basketball being played, and track and field, all at once?

Imagine that.



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Great Olympic Quotes from International Media

March 10th, 2010

So I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner, glancing up the odd time to look at the News Hour on Global TV, when I saw all of these quotes from newspapers and websites about Vancouver and the Olympics being broadcast.

It turns out that the international media is raving about basically everything Vancouver has to offer. This is a big plus for Tourism Vancouver, which has put together a collection of quotes–the ones that were broadcast–and made sure to ignore any negative things the media has said about the Olympics. Check them out.

“You’re gorgeous, baby, you’re sophisticated, you live well… Vancouver is Manhattan with mountains…” - The New York Times

“Vancouver is a city unlike any other. Wherever I look, I see water or mountains–or both. And everyone looks so healthy.” - The Daily Telegraph

“Vancouver looked gorgeous on TV… NBC’s shots of Vancouver’s downtown and waterfront, and aerial views of Whistler ski areas, provided a media boost no marketing campaign could have delivered.” - The Seattle Times

“Thank you, Canada. For being such good hosts. For your unfailing courtesy… For reminding some of us we used to be a more civilized society. Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.” - Brian Williams, NBC News

“The Olympics went into overtime Sunday. It was perfect. No one wanted the Warmest Games to end. Warmest weather. Warmest hosts.” - The Miami Herald

“Make no mistake, Canada’s people were the stars of these Games…” - Chicago Sun Times

“Why can’t we be more like Canada? They host the Olympics like they mean it. They smile… But most of all what they have is a kick-ass national anthem…” - The Huffington Post

“This is the nicest city I’ve ever been in.” - The Los Angeles Times

“These were the best Winter Games ever.” - Salon.com

“You can’t stage a better Olympics… In the end, it’s the people that power the movement. The Canadian people pushed these games back from the brink of disaster and right off into history.” - Yahoo.com

“Seoul’s citizens were wonderfully fanatical in 1988 and Sydneysiders were pretty hyped up in 2000 but the Vancouverites… set the standard for Londoners for 2012.” - The Daily London Telegraph

Cool, no? Like reporter Ted Chernecki said, “It’s amazing how 14 gold medals, 2 in hockey, could change the mood of the city.”

I’ll end this post off with 2 things: a link to the most hilarious article ever about Air Canada and the gold medal hockey game, and a YouTube video.

Air Canada learns that hockey trumps flying – from Yahoo.ca

This is “CTV’s Final ‘I Believe’ Montage Preceded By Brian Williams’ Closing Comments From Vancouver”. It should bring back some of the greatest moments from the Games.



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If you wanted to see patriotism today, you had to be in Vancouver

March 1st, 2010

Words can’t even begin to explain what happened in Vancouver today. It was one of those once in a lifetime things that you knew you would regret if you didn’t partake in the glorious festivities.

I started my day by pulling my Luongo Team Canada jersey over my head and heading out the door to go Downtown for the final time during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Even at the smaller SkyTrain station where I began the day, people were decked out in red, white, and giant Canada flags. I decided to hang around Starbucks in the Chapters by Robson Square for an hour or so before meeting up with my friends. Just looking out the window, I could tell everyone was stoked about the upcoming gold medal hockey match between Canada and USA. (I love the love-hate relationship we have with the States.)

Throughout the day, I’ve had random people come up to me to give me high-fives, saying they wanted to kidnap me because they saw me in my Luongo jersey, and all kinds of weird things. That wasn’t a rare occurrence today though. We wandered over to Robson Square and found an okay spot amongst the crowd to stare at a big screen to watch the game. Some other friends were inside Pacific Centre, but I preferred the atmosphere outside, even if I didn’t have as wonderful of a view. There were even people inside Chapters (right behind) on the 2nd and 3rd floors, sitting by the window to watch the game.

The sounds of all of the “GO CANADA GO!” “CA-NA-DA!” “LET’S GO, CANADA, LET’S GO!” “LUUUUUUUUUU!” are still ringing in my head as I type this. Canada flags waved all around throughout the game, and “O Canada” was even sung twice during the game. “BOOOOOO”‘s rang out when the Americans came out, when they scored… whenever they did anything that we didn’t like, we boo’ed. I also won’t forget how many times we had to yell at security, the press, anyone and everyone that got in our way of the screen (as we didn’t have a fabulous view).

I noticed that somewhere in the middle of the game, the sky got brighter. That’s when I realized the sun was starting to come out. The thought that ran across my mind, We’re gonna win! The sun’s out! Then USA scored. With what, 24 seconds left in the 3rd period?

Of course, there was the lone American, waving his little American flag, cheering, while everyone else stay silent, wondering how Luongo could’ve possibly let one in when the gold was so close to being ours.

Now, by that point in the game, I just turned sideways and didn’t watch. I couldn’t watch anymore; it was too intense. But the sun was still there, and I was assured that Canada was playing very well during OT, so I waited for the crowd to react. Waited, and waited, and waited. And then there it was.

Canada had done it. Crosby had done it. I was sure one of my friends was over at the mall crying his eyes out. And there was the sun, shining brightly…

… as Vancouver burst into cheers.

This is the national anthem being sung in Robson Square during the victory ceremony while people continued to zipline across the Square and media recorded the historic moment.

Going down Robson Street was not easy either. Everyone was there, everyone was cheering, everyone was high fiving, everyone was so patriotic. I took the following video on my iPhone (as my camera had long died by then) while making my way through Robson Street.

I originally didn’t intend on staying Downtown for the closing ceremony, but was later convinced that the continued cheering and patriotism was an opportunity not to be missed. I did go home first for a little bit before coming back, and this was my experience on the Granville Station escalator (one of the longest escalators ever, 45 degree angle basically). Do excuse the man in front of me with the ginormous Canada flag.

Of course, the cheering didn’t stop. The Canada flag waving didn’t stop. None of the hype stopped.

We watched the closing ceremony on the Sears building, where it was projected.

I was happy to see that the cauldron finally had its 4 arms, complete and to everyone’s satisfaction.

I didn’t find the closing ceremony all too interesting. It seemed like they were trying to put on something that was a bit in contrast to the opening ceremony; something more humourous. In any case, I nearly froze to death out there watching the ceremony, but it was nice to see everyone walking around, still sporting those Canada flags, cheering their minds out.

After the closing ceremony, we walked over to Canada Place to see the cauldron one last time. Of course, the flame was no longer lit, but the icicle-ness of the cauldron was still there.

I also managed to see the Olympic rings across the water, this time in gold, at nighttime.

And it didn’t stop there. We heard endless car honking, cow belling, cheering, flag waving, high fiving, all while walking towards the SkyTrain station to go home.

It looks like Canada has “Own[ed] the Podium”, maybe not with the most number of medals, but with the most number of medals that counted. Our national anthem was sung 14 times in this Olympics, more than any other Winter Olympics ever, and we’ve gotten the most medals to be awarded by the host country at a Winter Games. That’s 2 records right there.

And like I said on Twitter and Facebook,

Sorry, USA. It doesn’t matter that you won all the games leading up to the gold medal game because you didn’t win the one that counted. :)

It’s too bad everything’s come to an end, and that everyone has to make a sudden, abrupt 180 back into school and work mode this quickly.

In any case, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics has been one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to Vancouver, and to its citizens. Everyone who had the chance to experience these Olympics firsthand will have so much to pass on, to tell. Canada, and especially Vancouver (it seems), has never seen this much patriotism before. And I’m sure that even those who only had the chance to watch the Olympics through their TV screens can say that today, they are sure as hell proud to be Canadian.

“From no golds ever won on Canadian soil to most golds ever won in Winter Olympic history – what an accomplishment.”Dave McCaig

Vancouver 2010: Olympic Records

February 27th, 2010

What a great day for Canada yet again as the Vancouver 2010 Olympics comes to an end! :)

CONGRATULATIONS TO…
Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, Denny Morrison: Men’s SpeedSkating Team Pursuit – GOLD
Jasey Jay Anderson: Men’s Snowboard – Parallel Giant Slalom – GOLD
Lascelles Brown, David Bissett, Chris le Bihan, Lyndon Rush: Four-Man Bobsleigh – BRONZE
Kevin Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Herbert, Adam Enright: Men’s Curling – GOLD

Canada’s medal count now reads:
13 GOLD
7 SILVER
5 BRONZE

Now, what’s so special about the number 13 here?

  1. Canada has won more gold medals here in Vancouver than in any Winter or Summer Olympics. We got 10 gold in the 1984 Summer Games, and 10 each in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Games. So we have broken our own record.
  2. Canada is now tied for the record of most gold medals at a Winter Games, with the Soviet Union in 1976 and Norway in 2002.

What does this mean now?

  1. We can beat the most-medals-at-a-Winter-Games record if Canada wins in the men’s gold medal hockey game tomorrow against USA.
  2. No other country can now catch up to Canada in terms of gold medals.
  3. Canada > USA no matter how many medals they may have gotten :)

Vancouver 2010: Olympic Outings #10 & 11

February 26th, 2010

What a great day today eh, Canada? I didn’t have time to blog last night about yesterday so I’ll stuff two days into one blog post. Again, I’m gonna try to breeze through this.

So yesterday, I plastered a ginormous maple leaf on my face and headed out the door. En route to Canada Northern House, I passed by the Royal Canadian Mint, and the lineup was just absolutely outrageous. There wasn’t just one line either; there was one line to be able to go upstairs to touch the medals, one line to just get in to visit the boutique and buy stuff, and one line just for a bloody coin exchange. The lineup was supposedly 6-8 hours long. I can only hope those people had a ton of fun waiting in the cold.

Canada Northern House was pretty interesting; it focuses on the 3 territories of Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

There was even a little station where you could build your own inukshuks.

This is some sort of whale bone. I find it scary how there’s a face on it.

I didn’t get a photo of the entire thing, but I believe this bushel of food lasts people from the North for up to 6 months.

After exiting Canada Northern House, I went back to check the lineup at the Mint. It didn’t look like it’d eased up at all. If anything, it just got longer.

While wandering among the crowds, I happened to see Jennifer Heil, silver medalist in women’s moguls, on Robson and Granville right by the Vitamin Water booth.

And again, I saw Miss Bronzed Cowgirl, doing her thing on her little bronze podium. I really wonder how these types of people go to/from where they stand around without people giving them looks and all. I mean, you see them there during the day, but what about before/after?

I ended up at Robson Square to watch the Mascots show, which was actually pretty cute.

Found these cute Lotto Max people prancing around by one of the Canada Line stations.

Now today… just wow. I hadn’t planned on going Downtown again, but I did. I ended up with a lot of free stuff from Cheerios. And I saw Ashleigh McIvor and some other athlete I don’t know and met Patrick Chan.

Great day for Canada today, although I’m disappointed that women’s curling didn’t win gold. Or else we’d be harsh dominating right now. But nevertheless, we’re dominating so far in terms of gold medals. Like I said on Facebook and Twitter…

Dear America,

You may have more medals than us, but our national anthem was sung more times than yours.

Love,

Canada

Gotta love being Canadian. ;)

Vancouver 2010: Olympic Outing #9

February 24th, 2010

I realize there was no Olympic Outing #8, but I left that with my trip up to Grouse Mountain. I’ll try to breeze through where I went and what I did today as I’m incredibly tired but don’t wish to leave this post until tomorrow. Note that my pics are somewhat sloppy today; it was amazingly cold and the famous Olympic mittens don’t allow me to move my fingers around (aka I didn’t wear them).

Main stop of the day: LiveCity Yaletown. It opened @ 11am and naturally, there was a huge lineup. We even had to go through security to get into the place, but the lines went by fairly quickly.

The main thing–or the thing that stood out the most–was the Coca-Cola Pavilion/Open Happiness House or whatever it is they call it. It’s a very interactive pavilion–probably one of the best pavilions they have for the Olympics. The workers there are very cheerful and friendly.

First, you go through the history of Coca-Cola and how it’s been intertwined with the Olympics since forever ago. You get to see the changes to the bottles in terms of everything from looks to material.

Next, you get to view a short video on Coca-Cola and the Olympics (if I’m remembering correctly). And then you get let into the interactive, fun area of the pavilion.

There was an area where you could get a free bottle of Coke, either in regular or zero.

There were more interesting things but I wouldn’t want to spoil all the fun in case anyone hasn’t been there yet. LiveCity Yaletown includes other pavilions like Panasonic, Samsung, and Acer.

Outside the Samsung Pavilion were 3 incredibly cute huskies, leashed to a structure of some sort of sled.

Inside the Samsung Pavilion. There wasn’t too much in there. Everyone could play some games, look at some phones, and collect some stickers.

There were a few other things on the side of LiveCity, but I don’t really remember what they were nor were they that interesting.

Back Downtown, there was a school (more like drum and bagpipe) band from Sardis Secondary (from Chiliwack, BC) performing on the street, and boy were they good. Not only that, but they had in-sync movements like wiggling around their heads and waving Olympic-coloured flags in unison.

We also went to where CTV broadcasts during the day and also where they were handing out pins (in which there was a massive lineup for as well). That area was also where I watched Clara Hughes win bronze on her last race.

Something I noticed today. Remember the largest Canada flag in the world that was vandalized? This is what I found today (FYI, not being vandalized).

Guess they want to make it look pretty again.

Anywho, while on the SkyTrain en route to home sweet home (and then out again for the epic Canada vs Russia hockey game), while passing by Canada Hockey Place, I expected large crowds outside of the stadium, and there they were.

Before I take off, I’d just like to say…

CONGRATULATIONS TO:
Clara Hughes: Speedskating – Women’s 5000m – BRONZE
Kaillie Humphries, Heather Moyse: Bobsled – Women’s – GOLD
Helen Upperton, Shelly-Ann Brown: Bobsled – Women’s – SILVER
Jessica Gregg, Mariane St-Gelais, Tania Vicent, Kalyna Roberge: Short Track Speedskating – Women’s 3000m Relay – SILVER

4 medals for Canada today! And there will definitely be at least one more tomorrow. We’re now tied with USA and Germany with 7 gold medals, and despite our lower medal count thus far, I’d say we’re doing better than we did in 2002 and 2006 considering in those Olympics, we had 7 gold medals in each of those Games. Guess Alexandre Bilodeau was right. The party’s just getting started. ;)

Vancouver 2010: Olympic Mascots

February 23rd, 2010

I’ll keep this post short and sweet. Today was a non-Olympic day; I needed a break after 8 continuous days.

I found this on the counter of the cash register at Sears yesterday. Thought it was pretty cute. I’ve found that Quatchi and Miga are always in photos together (on maps, the Vancouver 2010 bus banners, everything) and half the time, Sumi’s not there.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Sumi “represents” the Paralympics as opposed to the Olympics. Anywho, does anyone else think Quatchi and Miga seem to be depicted as a couple?

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Vancouver 2010: NBC’s “Today” Show on Grouse Mountain

February 22nd, 2010

Today was one of those days that I just know I will never experience again. It began @ 1:30am after roughly just one hour of sleep. Getting out of bed wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be–I had only considered that one hour a nap and not so much sleep. By the time 2:40am rolled around, I was out the door, starting the engine, and driving on up to Grouse Mountain.

Now I have never gone through the streets @ 3 in the morning before; the latest would be around 2. Okay, I know that’s not much of a difference, but I had never driven as far as I had today in the middle of the night. There was something indescribable about that drive; it wasn’t the same as any other drive I’ve done.

No cars on the road–just a few taxis, reminding me of New York. Passing through Downtown–that was peaceful, and stopping at a red light right before Harbour Centre (which still has its Santa hat, BTW) also reminded me of New York. It all felt so serene; something about everything had that “wow” factor to it.

It’s one thing to be out during the day, it’s another to be out at night, and it’s a whole other thing to be out between night and day (if you know what I mean).

Once up on the mountain @ around 3:20am, we heard a bustling of people in line waiting for their complimentary pass for NBC’s “Today” show. Clearly, there are some hardcore “Today” fans out there. The mountain gives out 100 complimentary passes each morning for the show. I’m not sure what happens to those who aren’t in the top 100. Originally, we were in the lineup for a pass until I realized that complimentary pass or not, I could get into that place for free (thanks to my Privilege Pass). I got my 2 tickets and we just made it for the first tram going up to the top of the mountain. (Photo below was not @ 3:30am, clearly. It was taken soon after 8am.)

The Skyride, now that was also something else. There’s just something about the middle of the night that’s so incredible. At least 50 of us (hopefully my guesstimation isn’t too off) were jammed into the tram for the 8-minute ride up to the top. Nobody was holding on to anything (nor was there anything to hold on to); the only form of standing support was someone else’s back. It wasn’t just the fact that we were stuffed in there like objects; it was the fact that absolutely everything was dark. You couldn’t see anyone else’s face, you couldn’t really see outside, you couldn’t see anything. Only until we reached higher altitudes could the folks blessed with a window view facing down see all of the lights and glamour of the city.

I felt like a hostage in there gliding up the side of the mountain. Then, I felt like I was in Jurassic Park, where the family’s trapped in the trailer and the dinosaur’s ready to throw the whole thing over the edge. The tram literally went at a 45 degree angle while going through the second sway, but with the help of the shoulders and backs of everyone else, we all stayed standing.

When we finally got to the top and were let out of the tram, it was full force charge to the set of “Today”. (Note that many of my photos didn’t turn out perfectly clear. I blame the fact that this was 4am and that it was still dark out.)

Soon after everyone surrounded the fire pit, Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer showed up, being nice and saying “good morning” to everyone.

Matt Lauer is a busy guy, running from here to there to everywhere. He’s not seen a lot (from what I saw) but will of course stop for photographs and autographs alike.

Meredith Vieira is really nice, and from what I could tell from the autographs she signed, she has really pretty writing. She does, however, look older than from when I see her on TV, but beautiful nonetheless.

Then came Ann Curry. She is the nicest person I have ever met. It seems most well-known people don’t really take the time to even say “hi” to you. It’s just okay photograph autograph toodles! NEXT! But with Ann, she’ll really take a look at you and say hi to you and say that it’s nice to meet you, even if she doesn’t know who in god’s name you are. So, so nice. (I just found out she’s of… Cherokee, French, German, Irish, Scottish, and Japanese descent. Explains the exotic look.)

Al Roker also joined in on the festivities but I didn’t see too much of him either.

While standing out in the freezing cold, sniffling in the smell of a crackling fire, I got to see what it was like to put on a show like this. It requires a lot of waiting around while the screen shows footage, there are (obviously) more “backstage” guys than the anchors and reporters themselves, and timing is crucial. I just don’t know how they put the whole show together though. All of the commercials and footage have been put together beforehand, the script has to go according to the footage, they have to decide on the specific locations on the mountain and have time to move there… I don’t get it. It’s amazing, although I don’t know that I could ever do something like that (not that I want to).

Anywho, somewhere during my approximate one hour in the cold, Kristi Yamaguchi showed up! She was the only well-known person outside of the “Today” show that I saw. I took a photo with her (as well as Ann)–she’s so tiny!

After we couldn’t stand it in the cold anymore, we went on inside and took a look at the set indoors, used for the cooking portion of the show (and also for interviews, I believe).

Soon after that, it was time for breakfast. It was funny that a kid who was probably only about 10-12 years old was working the cash register at the food place. Something went wrong there because they decided they didn’t have a mocha to make! Until we told another (more appropriately aged) guy about it. And then he went fumbling around getting cups and making steamed milk and everything.

I noticed that there was a gorgeous view of the city right outside the seating area (better in person than in photos). It oddly again reminded me of New York.

Here are just some more photos that I snapped around the mountain.

The skating rink, with some cute 2010 ice sculptures.

On to the food portion of the show here. It seemed like they were making some poutine with an egg or something on top.

When we finally decided there was nothing left to do on the mountain, we lined up to take the tram down to the base to head on home. Everyone from the “Today” show (backstage guys included) left at the same time and got on the tram to go down. (I didn’t take the same one.)

If you can see here, Matt’s in the USA jacketĀ  to the right of the lady in yellow.

And here the sun rises some more on a not entirely clear day in Vancouver. That was my “Today” show experience up atop Grouse Mountain, something so worth it considering the price (ha-ha) but not something I would ever do again. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things–experience it, and then store it in your memories to pass it all on.

Vancouver 2010: Olympic Outing #7

February 21st, 2010

As much as I think I’m not going to discover anything new after going Downtown for the 7th straight day, none of those 7 days has ceased to amaze me. Today, I headed out with some family back on the Olympic streetcar and on to Granville Island once again.

Once at Granville Island, I found this cute cement truck that I’d seen once or twice before.

There was a street performance somewhere amongst the area, complete with women on stilts and audience members dancing along with them.

As the show came to an end, I found an interesting sight.

When Granville Island got a bit boring after lunch (all of us having been there before), we Canada Line’d it back Downtown, and boy were we packed like the subways of New York.

Outside Pacific Centre Mall, I saw again a cute polar bear structure that I had seen the night I went Downtown. This is a better photo as it was taken during the day.

Robson Square here, full of people, as usual.

If you haven’t already heard, the largest Canada flag in the world was vandalized yesterday. On the very top was written (torn out) “F U 2010″. Looks like they decided to tear more of the flag off so it wouldn’t resemble those words.

And remember the copper cowgirl? Well, I saw her again today and finally got a photo with her. I love her, she’s so cute.

Now, drumroll pleeeaseee! The highlight of the day! While everyone else was waiting at BC Hydro to play a game for some lanyards, I decided to walk over to Canada Post to see if they were handing out any Cheerios (they were supposedly the other day). Instead, what I found was a long lineup for I-didn’t-know-what. Then, one of the workers announced that Maelle Ricker would be showing up for an autograph session and that this was the line, so into the line I got.

Long story short, the autograph session went from 2-3pm and everyone got Cheerios postcards for them to sign. I was pretty far back when I started lining up and we were just hoping that we’d make it by 3. The lady in charge was pretty anal about the “hard stop at 3″ blah, blah, blah. And then it was our turn! We got signatures of Warren Tanner (supposedly from the 2006 Olympics) and Maelle Ricker and also photos with them. We got to them literally 2 minutes before 3. If I had gotten into the line any later, we probably wouldn’t have made it.

(I just noticed she’s left-handed.) Here’s Warren Tanner with the kids that were behind us in line.

What was funny during the lineup was that there was a huge white limo going along the street, and coming out of the top window were 2 American flags. Then, a lady started going, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” Everyone on the street heard obviously (with the majority of them wearing some form of red) and started going, “BOOOO! CANADA!” That went on for about 5 minutes on-and-off. Here’s the limo behind the throng of people.

Anywho, after the autograph session, my feet were getting tired so back to home I went (and then out again for the disappointing hockey game). Of course, Stadium Station was jammed to no end, like every other Olympic-related station.

I find it interesting how they didn’t bother changing the sign from saying “General Motors Place” to “Canada Hockey Place”.

Well, it’s time to call it a night. Not so much a night I guess considering I’m leaving the house again in about 4 hours. If you haven’t kept up with my blog posts, you’ll find out why tomorrow!

Vancouver 2010: Olympic Outing #6

February 20th, 2010

Today wasn’t so much of an “outing” per se, but more like a morning of shopping. I woke up @ 6am after about 4 hours of sleep to groggily head out into the cold to line up at The Bay Downtown/Olympic Superstore in search of more Olympic clothes (a girl can never have too much).

The lineup, on Seymour Street, had already curved around once into the formation of 2 lanes. And I arrived at the line a tad before 8am. (The store opens @ 9am and will now be open 24/7 until the Olympics ends, which makes me wonder exactly how they will ever clean up that mess in there and replenish the clothing). As I kept waiting, the line kept getting longer. And longer. And longer. Until it had curved around about 4 times and turned into 5 lanes.

It’s funny what people will do for clothes. It’s all in the mind I guess. Like I said on Twitter, the Olympic Superstore (I really hate that name) is like a gold mine; you strike gold when you find something that fits, no matter who it was meant for (men, women, boys, girls). As long as it fits, you grab it and never let go.

That was the case for me. I stocked up on a boys size 10/12 jacket and some girls size 14 pullovers. Now in the case of the lineup, well, that just looped around half the store, but it did go pretty fast considering there were about 10 cashiers on each side. My cashier was somewhat strange; he kept looking at me (he’s either a pedophile or he was just amused by the maple leaf on my face). Anywho, let’s just say a lot of money was spent today on Olympic clothing.

Somewhere amongst the clothes in the Olympic Superstore is the Coca-Cola Happiness Cafe and an official pin trading area. Around there also are a whack of Coca-Cola clothes and what have you. (I find it funny how the Canada-hoodie lady somehow managed to wind up in both of my photos, which were taken only minutes apart from each other.)

After finally exiting the building, I went around back to Seymour Street to see how long the lineup was (this was late morning). I tried taking some good photos but because of where the sun was, the lineup turned into something of a silhouette.

I usually see the other side of the building of The Bay with the models (or maybe athletes) sporting the Olympic clothes, so it was nice to see the other side today, with the nice shade of blue and athletes doing their thing (they might be Visa ads) on the side of the building. The Scotiabank Tower is in the background.

Because I couldn’t get any good shots of the lineup, I just took a 21 second video of the line.

Now I’m absolutely exhausted from 6 days of continuous outings. Today was a short day, which I’m thankful for. I’ll be well rested for another short outing back Downtown tomorrow morning and of course, the much-anticipated Canada vs USA men’s hockey game. :)