Sunday, March 14, 2010

Olympic recap day 03

This is the Yaletown Subway entrance/exit. I think you can count about ten volunteers in the blue Olympic parka. They are waiting for people to come up and ask them questions. The most amazing thing about Vancouver was the volunteers. On every corner, at every turn, twice as many as you'd expect, all giving freely of their time to make sure the guests of their city had the best possible experience. When you watch the closing ceremonies, and the representatives of the Vancouver Volunteers is presented, take note of the deafening roar of the crowd. It was certainly heartfelt by the 60,000 guests inside GM Place that night.

Day 03 in Vancouver for the final Winter Olympic weekend. It's a bit fuzzy. Mostly, everyone was trying to firm up exactly where they were going to be on Sunday for the big US versus Canada Men's Gold Medal Hockey game. In the midst of that, we toured. The friends that Mikka was staying with had been given last minute tickets to the Gold Medal Curling game. Mikka called to say she was on her own and would we like to see her? Hell yes!

So we met downtown and went for coffee. Then we caught the subway one stop to Yaletown and headed for the LiveCity venue. Mikka claimed to have connections to someone who offered to get her (us) in ahead of the lengthy line.

We got there and the line wasn't nearly as long as it had been on other days. Was it wrong to be disappointed that we were only cutting ahead of a half hour line instead of getting to feel superior for cutting ahead of a three hour line? Please note, Mikka's commitment to the hat. Once the hat is on, all photos for the rest of the day will be with "the hat".

Mikka's connection, Roy, came through and we were sent through with ease. When Mikka asked him what he was in charge of at LiveCity, he gave a sweep of his hand and said, "All this." We were duly impressed.
(pssssssstttt.... it's a big flat doughnut)

Roy gave us a brief tour and told us that the Coca-Cola tent was probably the longest line to go through. He said he would see what he could do, and found a Coke representative to see about getting us in "VIP". As the Coke representative radioed their boss, Mikka interrupted, "Are you asking for Dave _____? Does he have a twin brother? Tell him it's Mikka! We went to High School together!"

And that is how our VIP experience in the Coca-Cola tent came to pass.
Coke has sponsored the torch relay since 1992. In the entryway they showcased torches of previous Olympics. On the far left is Vancouver, next to it is Beijing, the blue one to the right is Torino and the last one at the far right is Athens.

This is what Coca-Cola employees wore at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988 to work in the Coke pavilion. You may not be able to tell the boots are shiny silver, and the pants are a sparkling red. The hat, is not optional.

Inside the tent is a whirlwind of Coke propaganda and Olympic spirit. As we waited in line, Canada won a gold medal. A Siren/Horn wailed and my first thought was, "Tsunami! Run for higher ground!!!" But then the giant Coke bottle in the center of the room turned glowing gold, the event finale was projected all over the roof of the tent, announcements were made and the party kicked off!

At last we make our way to the front of the line and it's our turn to touch an Olympic torch!

Two gay guys and a girl with a big prop, official photographer, how will we ever stand out and make this photo our own?
Good Morning Charlie's Angels!

We left LiveCity and walked along False Creek toward the Russian Pavilion. Across the water was the athlete's village.
You can see flags on the balconies to give you an idea of who was staying where.

I was having major deja-vu on the walk. This was the former Expo "86 grounds. I spent almost every day here on this site way back when. I thought it funny that two completely distinct, international events could happen in the same spot and give me so much joy. As I walked, I flashed between current moment and 1986. Things have changed (I can buy more that a McDonald's ice cream cone for dinner for 39 cents), and things are the same (I have the best most amazing friends!).

The Russia Pavilion was closed by the time we got there, so we doubled back to the Quebec tent. We ducked in to get warm, get dry, get a snack.
Mikka still working "the Hat"!

Maple syrup butter tarts with whipped cream.
I wish I'd bought the whole tray!

We parted way so everyone could re-group, have a real meal and meet again for the fireworks finale at LiveCity. Roy had been kind enough to give us VIP passes to return with later that night. I love Roy.

While Robb and Lewis took a much needed rest, I hauled ass back to the cauldron and my elusive view of the "Five Golden Rings"! It was 7:30, it was dark, no umbrella or woman was going to stand in my way.
Simply gorgeous.

We went for dinner with friends where I learned that all businesses had to receive their shipments between 6 am and 11 am. Most restaurants weren't normally staffed those hours and had to bring on additional help. The businesses weren't complaining. They were all full!
David, Mark, Me, Robb and Lewis.

We walked down to LiveCity and went past what felt like Time's Square on New Year's Eve. MASSES OF PEOPLE lining every sidewalk, street, balcony all waiting to see tonight's final fireworks show over False Creek. We raced to the back VIP entrance and walked right in. As we gave our passes, the woman checking them asked for our names to go with each ticket. I reached for my wallet to give her my ID. "Oh not that. Just your name. SO when you want to use them tomorrow, you won't have any problems." Tomorrow? "Yes, these are good for either LiveCity venue tomorrow as well."

And BANG! Just like that we had in our hands the golden tickets to get into one of the hottest venues for Gold Medal Hockey in the city!
LiveCity, from day... into night.

As if the night couldn't get any better, we were about to watch a fabulous fireworks show!!!


Robb said...

It was a phenomenal time. But to channel Derrik, take all the Christmases between 1 and 14, grad, summer vacations, and have them all end simultaneously. It was crushing. But then, when hope was fading, an encore! The Paralympics! Less of a party but even more inspiring!

Lyle said...

wish I could have been there