Day one Opening Ceremonies

Vancouver Travel Blog

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Today I was woken up by the sound of helicopters at 6am.  I live in downtown Vancouver so hearing loud sounds and even the odd helicopter is not unusual but not normally at this time of the morning.  Not really sure what was going on so I got up a looked up and there was 4 of these helicopters circling the area.

What was going on?  Well the Olympic torch was making its journey through Vancouver on it's way to BC Place which would host the opening ceremonies later that day.  At the exact moment I was woken up the torch was in the middle of Stanley Park (about 2km from my house) and was being given to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger so security on land, sea in the air was very tight as was the media coverage.
  I briefly considered going outside to try to see the Olympic Torch as it went through my neighbourhood but really I was too lazy. 

After puttering around the house all morning and wasting some time on Facebook I went outside for some lunch.  I left for my job way early today as I expected traffic to be terrible on the first day of the Olympics and did not even want to ride the train on this day.  I can walk to work in 45 minutes and really if the weather in good it is very nice as most of the walk is along a bike and walker path only that runs along the ocean.

As I was I reached the waterfront I started to hear a lot of cheering and saw many folks just milling around.  I was close to a fairly famous Vancouver landmark called Granville Island and I had forgotten the Torch was going to be run onto the the island and then taken off by a boat across False Creek harbour.
  I reached the harbour at the same time as the torch was walked onto a canoe.  I found some stairs to stand on and took some photos of the torch as it went from Granville Island to the downtown area called Yaletown. 

After a bit of time I could no longer see the torch as it was paddled farther away.  I continued along the walkway and almost caught up with the torch a few times but just as I would get close the press of the crowds of people made it impossible to get closer.  After a few attempts I gave up and I walked away from the water and the crowds as I still tried to get to work.  This was not as easy as I thought it would be. 

I walked back to a main street called Pacific Boulevard and very soon reached an area being blocked by Vancouver Police and RCMP.
  I had found, by accident, the location where to torch would come back onto land and continue it's final day of exploring Canada.  I really had not choice but to wait for the torch to pass as my destination, work, was on the other side of all those police.  Very soon the cheering was raised again and once again I saw the torch but this time from much closer.  I suspect my photos will be mostly of the tops of other people's heads but what the heck I caught a small part of history.

Once the torch passed the crowds followed it much like a bunch of moths to the flame.  Very quickly the sidewalk opened up and it seemed I was one of the few people walking away from the torch.  I thought I was home free as I know many shortcuts to my office from this location.
  Unfortunately all of routes were either blocked by police or large security fences.  The reason for this is simple my office is very close to BC Place Stadium, Canada Hockey Place (normally called General Motors Place) and Russia House.  This all means security is very high around my office as on some days makes it a bit of challenge to get to work.  After a few false starts that required a lot of backtracking I ended up back on the waterfront and ended up near a what is called The Plaza of Nations. 

Normally this is a bit of dead area of downtown unless there is a football match or a hockey game.  Part of the Plaza is a small casino and nightclub but during the day this area is normally quite.  Today it was packed.  A few countries and large corporations have set up huge party tents.
  They have even set up a very large international food court. 

I needed to pass through this area to get to work and was not really paying attention until I found a Japanese vendor selling takoyaki.  I had just eaten a large lunch and was not hungry but I really needed to eat this Japanese dish.  The only other time I have eaten this is on the streets of Osaka and I have only ever seen this for sale in Vancouver at high end Japanese pubs.  For 5 dollars I got a quick taste of Japan and then it was off to work. 

2 hours after leaving home I was at work.  The work day was mostly waiting around for my clients to come out of the opening ceremonies and then driving them the short distance to their hotel.  I wish I could have got into the stadium to see the event but the closest I got was watching the ceremony in a Chinese restaurant on a big screen TV.
  The good news was my Swiss corporate client paid for it.  It is always a good day when you get paid a full day to work maybe 1 hour and the rest of the time you watch TV and get fed. 

The experience of watching the Opening Ceremonies was a very Vancouver experience.  Here I was watching some of Canada's most famous performers surrounded by First Nation dancers from throughout the country while eating sushi in a Chinese restaurant.  Even my fellow diners were a good cross of the Vancouver population.  One gentleman was one of those rare breeds a born a raised Vancourite.  Another gentlemen lives here now but originally comes from the American deep south.  My clients representatives were from all over the US including Washington DC, Hawaii and Salt Lake City.
  The folks beside sounded like they were from Hong Kong but it also sounded like they lived here now.  We might not be the most typical city to host the Winter Olympics but we much be the most international city to do it.

Tomorrow I will walk the streets of Vancouver looking for some more Olympic images.  I do not work until late so we will see what happens. 
KeikoCreative says:
Congrats on your featured!
Posted on: Mar 09, 2010
aloneinthecrowd says:
Congrats on being featured today :D
Posted on: Mar 09, 2010
Koralifix says:
Congrats on this feature! Way to go!
Posted on: Mar 09, 2010
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The McDonalds by my office.
The McDonalds by my office.
photo by: Browser