Day one Opening Ceremonies
Vancouver Travel Blog› entry 1 of 13 › view all entries
February 12th, 2010 – by: bcbusdriver
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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