Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A gold medal kind of night

Sometimes, Fortune (yes, capital F fortune) smiles upon you.

It was about 30 minutes prior to the men's moguls final that my friend Brad called me up with an extra ticket to the next night's medal ceremony. Why not? I figure. It's Quebec night, and I can always handle some wholesome Gregory Charles post-awards. Count me in!

Of course, less than an hour later, I was in possession of a ticket to see the first Canadian gold medal presentation of the Games-- and the first one on home soil.

What is there to say? Our seats were so high up, I finally understood the expression "nosebleed". But to be there, to see and feel the frenzy that started before Alexandre Bilodeau even stepped onto the podium-- it was a pretty fantastic moment.

As Gregory Charles, the entertainment for the night, came on, BC showed its impressive apathy towards anything French by leaving in mass numbers... which allowed us to sneak in to ground level, where we managed to make it in to frolick in the fake snow under the "ice stage" (that y'all probably remember from the opening ceremonies) and dance party with the brave souls who stuck it out. Dance train with a bunch of middle aged folk in various countries' jerseys? I can check that off of my Olympic "to do" list...

Next up on said list: sneak into Sochi House and drink with the Russians... and acquire a pair of those Norwegian ski pants.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Games begin...

I hopped off the Canada Line at W. Georgia this morning and nearly collided with a parade-- a typical Friday morning in Vancouver.

It's the last day of the torch relay and the town's starting to get a bit crazy... I deked through the Art Gallery's square to Hornby in an attempt to make it past the crowds. I had five minutes to grab a coffee before I was to be at the office-- crunch time.

But it was as I carried my cup of bold roast around to Robson that things got interesting.

CTV torch party! At least, that's what I'm calling it. In celebration of the torch passing by that morning, it seemed like everyone and their dog-- and their torch-- came out for the festivities. In a two-block radius, I saw at least twenty people in their hip white track suits, clutching their torches proudly.

It's a bit funny to see so many in one place-- the Olympic torch is marketed to seem special and one-of-a-kind. But in reality, there are over 12,000 torches. And everyone who ran with it was able to purchase the torch for a cool 400 bucks (before you get all excited, I'm pretty sure it can't be lit again. Sigh).

As I walked into the lobby, the room was chock-full of at least 50 or 60 revellers. A photographer from above called out-- as the crowd yelled "cheese!", about half of the audience raised their own torch.

Today, the torch will continue to zigzag across the city. It will go on a bike, a canoe, a dragonboat, and a bunch of other forms of transportation in a decidedly Seuss-esque manner.

Oh, Vancouver.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's go back to the coast, baby, westward to the ocean...

In true BC spirit, I had Said the Whale on my iPod as I ventured to the Ottawa airport yesterday morning. My destination: Vancouver, with a stopover at Olympic Glory (yes, capitalized).

The last few weeks have been busy but a lot of fun-- my feature article on MPs and social media was published (front page!) in the Ottawa Citizen's Saturday Observer (you can find the piece online here) and I've just finished a promotional video for the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa that was part of their 50th anniversary launch on Thursday. But now I'm back home-- well, a few hours from home-- in Vancouver to intern with a what-will-for-now-remain-unnamed Big Media Group. They're covering some sort of big sporting event going on in town, I think?

While I know I'll probably be out East for awhile (yes, Ontario counts as "out East", though to be fair Alberta is also East by BC standards), parts of my heart still belong to the coast. Vancouver is warm (9 degrees today! 9! While Ottawa was -11, warm by Ottawa standards...) and it's even cleaner and prettier than usual thanks to the Big Olympic Machine that has taken over the city. At the airport, there were more volunteers than travellers-- there were even two volunteers at the luggage carousel who organized the bags as they came off the conveyor belt-- not one, but two!

Today was a lazy settle-in day, and it's never too hard to get back into the BC pace: sleep in, read all of the Olympic news clippings and updates, all-you-can-eat sushi date with friend and roomie Scott (and the ensuing stomachache...) and wandering Granville Island with one of my Vancouver friends. Then a long walk home in the balmy air, enjoying the mountains and my favourite familiar spots in the city. And, of course, grabbing a copy of the Georgia Straight, which I will devour as soon as I've finished this entry.

The internship starts tomorrow, so I'm sure to have more interesting stories then... and, if not, my roomie is volunteering at the Athletes' Village, so I'll just steal all of his ridiculous stories and post them on the interwebs for your entertainment. Deal?