Friday, March 12, 2010

Olympic recap begins.... NOW!

Let's launch this blog post into outer space!

Forgive me Blogger, it's been over a week since I have written anything. I've been overwhelmed.

It's not that I took a 6 day tour of the Great White North, or that I have all this work to do. Nor is it that my parent in-laws are visiting. My problem is that I am still trying to process everything I saw and did at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. And what I am slowly realizing is... that it's impossible.

There is no way to explain the level of hype and expectations that I was feeling just getting on the airplane. No way to share how those astronomical expectations were EXCEEDED. When they tell you it is a "once in a lifetime" experience... BELIEVE IT.

Although I hope not. Because the Olympics are like crack, now that I've had that high, I am going to be chasing it for the rest of my life. I think this explains why all those athletes come out of retirement, participate in spite of broken bones, or hang on well after their moment may have passed. I get it. I need it. Now I too, am an Olympic Junkie.

We join our Olympic tale at midnight the night before I am going to Vancouver. My flight is at 6 am. I will need to be in a cab (no way Lyle is driving me at the time of day) at 4 am. I will need to shower at 3:30 am. I normally go to be around 2 am. Screw it, I'm staying up. And that is how I arrived giddy, and punch drunk at the customs and immigration counter in the Vancouver Airport. I've been awake for 38 hours. My flying companion, Mikka, sensibly got 5 hours of sleep. She is so wired, you'd never know.At the baggage claim carousel, there are TVs showing Olympic coverage. While waiting for our bags, Canada wins a gold! The entire airport staff and all Canadians in the waiting area erupt into a joyful cheer. I've never seen such a friendly, joyful, smiling airport in my entire life. Olympic Fever crack, the first hit is free.

Driving into the city everything is red and white. Normally there are a lot of Canadian logos that utilize red and white. But this? This is different. Yards have signs, flags are flying everywhere, block after block of store windows have Canadian flags draped elegantly, hastily, crooked, repeatedly. This land of polite people seems to have found a pride that no longer hides. Olympic Fever makes me giddy.

On the street, there is red and white on all the people. My Gucci scarf of grey, green and red seems out of fashion immediately. Lucky for me, my advance team has warned me and I have packed a vibrant full red scarf. I change scarfs before we get to my friends home. "Bienvenue, Canada! Je suis Canadian, aussi!" my scarf cries out in French, because of course as any good Canadian scarf would tell you, he is bilingual.
My scarf is also very respectful of the native arts, pausing to pose in front of these official sanctioned blow up totem poles with LED lights.

Our first Olympic act was to get to a viewing venue to watch the Women's Hockey Gold Medal game. We walked toward LiveCity downtown and the line was a shockingly short at only 30 minutes to get in. We met a friend of Robb's, Ben, who told us that he heard there were seats available at the gay sports bar Score! a few blocks away. We left the line and high-tailed it over to the Sports bar. There were two seats, outside, on the smaller unheated patio. We were three people. We squeezed in. We arrived and the score was already 2-0 in Canada's favor. Clock running out on the third period and... Canada wins the GOLD!

The volume on this is VERY LOUD.
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The volume on this is VERY LOUD.

Thank god I was outside. I was stunned. I was overcome. These people are nuts! Inside, it was crazier. All that noise all that testosterone (quite a few lesbians in attendance) and all that joy forced to live inside a square box. Unbelievable.

The locals had been doing this for almost two weeks at this point. I asked a few people how they were managing to keep going after two weeks of this kind of energy? Most everyone agreed, PURE ADRENALINE.

After dinner we walked the two blocks from Robb & Lewis's house to Robson Square. A fantastical light show was performed here twice a night. The bright orange blasts in the video are fire. From a block away you could feel the heat on your face. There was a zip-line across the sky spanning two blocks. By day, you could wait four hours in a line-up to pay and take the 10 second ride over the crowds. By night, they added another dimension to the light show. Watch in the first half for the skier in the sky!
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We caught the first light show at Robson Square because we had plans for later. We were watching a different fireworks show 10 blocks away! Robb's friend Ben hooked us up with a 15 stories high skybox views in a condo next to the launch site with floor to ceiling windows.
The lighted village on the lower right is "LiveCity" on False Creek. The two small blue rectangles to the front of it are the stage. About 5000 people fit in front of the stage. The red and white square in LiveCity is the Coca-Cola pavilion. We'll see that in a later post.
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Donna and I are working our "Italian Super-Model on the ski slopes" look with our skinny jeans tucked into our boots. It may not have been snowing in Vancouver, but I promise you, it was definitely cold enough for my silver puffy. (Keep in mind, I wore my silver puffy coat to walk the dogs here in Los Angeles two nights ago as well.)

And so, after being awake about 40 hours in a row, we made our way home to sleep. Tomorrow promised to be another banner Olympic Fever day and I was going to need my full 6 hours of rest!

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