My Olympics Part 5 – Get In Line

It’s about that time – more Olympic fun with Marianne!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I had big plans when I woke up bright and early Monday morning. It was my second day off from volunteering, with a 5 day stint coming up, so I wanted to make the  most of the glorious sunshine and take in a days worth of Olympic sights. Plus, my mom’s hiking group was heading downtown for their walk, so I tagged along for the transit ride.

I fuelled up with what would turn out to be the last bowl of oatmeal for a long time.

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Into my oats went:

  • 1/2 cup oats, milk, water
  • 1/3 block Mori-Nu Silken Firm tofu
  • coconut
  • coconut extract

I also had an under ripe persimmon and the usual glass of cranberry juice to go with it.

I ended up splitting from the group earlier than planned as they took the longer train ride to get downtown, and frankly, I’m not into going through 4 extra stops when I don’t have to. Plus I had a destination in mind.

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My mission for the morning was to get into the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion in order to see the Olympic medals live and in person. Of course, I wasn’t the only one with that idea.

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That would be the 3 hour line up to get into the room with the medals. Oh sure, I could have gotten into the shorter line (you can see it on the right of the photo) if I only wanted to see the rest of the pavilion, but seriously, who doesn’t want to see the medals? So I got in line, and made friends with the people around me. It definitely helps when you have people to chat with while you stand in a line for 3 hours. Plus then you have people who will hold your place while you make a quick run up to Holt Renfrew to use their washrooms 😉

Although it seemed like we might never make it inside, eventually we did.

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All of us in the medal line up were presented with our very own special glove for touching the medals.

Rockin’ the one glove look (and the lack of sleep look).

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After more waiting in line inside, we FINALLY were admitted to the medal room. Woo!

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There was lots to see once we were in there. They had a display showing each of the steps that went into making the Olympic and Paralympic medals, including describing the process of making the undulating surface.

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Some interesting facts about the medals:

They are all unique in design, as they are each part of one large First Nations design.

The design for the Olympic Medals.

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The design for the Paralympic Medals.

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Also interesting is that all of the metal used is reclaimed from computer parts and other sources. Yay for recycling!

Paralympic Silver Medal.

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Olympic Bronze Medal.

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I made sure to pose with both the gold medals. Here’s the Paralympic Gold Medal.

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And me and the Olympic Gold Medal. Too bad they don’t let you put them around your neck 😉

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Let me tell you – those bad boys are heavy! They weight between 500 – 576 g each (that’s over 1lb each for all you Americans out there).

Now, since I’d waited those 3 hours to check out the pavilion, I wasn’t leaving before seeing the rest of it. Like the million dollar gold coin – which was worth 1 million when it was originally made. I think now, it’s worth somewhere around 3.5 million!

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They also had other interesting commemorative coins and gold items to check out.

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Despite the long line up, I still think this was one of the better pavilions to visit. Lots of interesting things to see, and hey, you get to hold the medals!

Seeing as it was almost 2 pm by the time I was out of there, I knew I needed to find lunch ASAP. As I walked to the bank to get out some cash, I spotted my lunch destination.

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Japadog! A Vancouver sensation. I have always wanted to try one of their infamous ‘dogs, but living in Victoria, I wasn’t able to…until now.

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I studied the menus intently, deciding on the ultimate ‘dog for my first Japadog experience.

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I really wanted to try out the Kobe Special. I mean, hello? Kobe beef hot dog? Yum!

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Alas, they were sold out. Boooooo. Oh well, I went with the Chef’s recommendation instead.

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Looks like the picture! I did add a little wasabi sauce to it as well.

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And took the obligatory Japadog photo, just like everyone else eating there for the first time.

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So the verdict? I really enjoyed it! Not only is it a high quality hot dog, but the Asian twist on it is really fun. I’m biased, seeing as Japanese food is definitely a favourite of mine, but still. I will have to make another trip downtown one day just to have one for lunch – perhaps I’ll luck out and score a Kobe Beef next time.

Full of delicious hot dog, I made my way across town to my next “must see” destination of the day.

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Sochi House – also known as the Russian pavilion. They are the hosts of the next Winter Olympics, so they had taken over Science World to promote the region and their Games. A very popular destination, and it always had a line up – mostly because they were only open to the public from 12 – 5 pm each day.

I got in line, and enjoyed the Russian pop music being played outside, as well as this guy waving Russian flags.

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I made another friend in the line up – this time a guy from Kazakhstan who is studying at the University of Victoria. Surprisingly, this line up moved quite quickly. I figured it would be about an hour wait, but I was through security maybe 15 – 20 min after getting in line.

The bottom floor of the pavilion showcased information on the region around Sochi.

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They were also showing off their Russian Team Clothing. Very striking – you saw it on people all over town!

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Upstairs they had a large lounge area where you could sit down, watch sports, play a few games, and get your picture taken with the torch.

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I took the opportunity to take a seat and watch some snowboard cross on the big screen. And wouldn’t you know it? We won a silver medal!

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I then checked out the rest of the displays. Like the hockey memorabilia.

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I also took in some Russian singing while I was there.

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I checked out the store selling all the Russian team clothes, but alas, it was all on the pricy side. Really, all I wanted was a pin, and they didn’t have any. So I left empty handed, but did enjoy the little hockey playing mascots flanking the entrance to the store.

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Before leaving, I made a pit stop in the washroom. Now, although the Russians had taken over the building (which is normally a science place for kids), they hadn’t removed the signs in the bathrooms.

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Tee hee!

Since the line up at Sochi House was much shorter than I thought, I had plenty of time left in the day to explore some more. First I took a quick wander through Concord Pacific Place, where I checked out the Compact House – an entire living space, in only 220 sq ft!

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Not sure if that’s the kind of house I’d want, although with the housing prices the way they are in Vancouver, it might be the only thing I’ll ever afford!

Passed longingly by Molson Canadian Hockey House, wishing I had tickets to get inside. Le sigh.

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Then discovered that the Concord Pacific office had signed hockey jerseys inside. Woo!

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I avoided all the pavilions with line up, since I’d already been in my fair share for the day. My wandering continued, and I was finally able to get a picture of the new Woodwards’ W.

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Side note – looking at the prices & specs on those condos makes me want to buy down there. Something decently reasonable in downtown!

My wandering took me past the Alberta pavilion – which turned out to be only a restaurant, even though all the guides said they would have exhibits. Thumbs down to you Alberta, you missed the boat.

I kept walking, pretty much just across the street, and wound up at the Bell Ice Cube.

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It’s basically a big room with a bunch of high def tv’s. You get a free pair of headphones, and you can plug in to any of the feeds you want to watch and listen to.

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As you can see, I chose to enjoy a little pairs’ short program figure skating.

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I didn’t stay too long though, only because my feet were getting tired, and there really wasn’t anywhere to sit down and watch in there. Otherwise, it’s a fun place to get your Olympic fix.

I still had hours to kill before meeting up with my mom (she had a late volunteer shift), so I figured it was time to find a place to spend the rest of my evening. LiveCity Downtown was the perfect location – giant screens showing events, pavilions to puruse, all in one location.

I checked out the Manitoba Pavilion.

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It wasn’t really that spectacular, but they did give me a pin.

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Then I went over to the Canada Pavilion.

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There was more to see and do in here, but man, it was busy! Popular features included having your picture taken with the torch (I swear, there were at least a dozen places in town you could do this), and having your picture taken in a bobsleigh. I opted out of those, and just browsed the exhibits. Like this one showing old and new hockey/skating equipment.

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And of course, I was drawn to the hockey memorabilia.

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Then it was time to head back outside to watch the medal ceremony where Canada received their first (of many!) gold medal of the Games!

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Alexandre Bilodeau! Congrats on your moguls medal.

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The crowd sang O Canada proudly as the flag was raised, the first of many such occasions.

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After all that patriotism, I decided it was time to head out on the town again. This time my wandering took me to Granville Street, where I got to check out LunarFest.

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There were lots of creative, artistic lanterns to enjoy. Beautiful.

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Finally, it was time to meet up with mom, enjoy a late dinner (fish & chips at White Spot), and make our way home. I was definitely exhausted after my long day taking in as much as I could. I think I hit the pillow and was asleep like that!

Hopefully you all survived this mammoth of a post. I promise, the remainder of my Olympics posts will NOT be this long. They should be up soon – I hope you are enjoying them.

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6 Comments on “My Olympics Part 5 – Get In Line”

  1. Amy
    March 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Wow, it seems like such an amazing experience. I would have loved to get up close and personal with those medals…they are truly things of beauty =)

    Thanks again for sharing! Looking forward to the rest of your Olympic recap.

  2. March 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    How awesome was this post!!! Thank you for giving us a tour…it’s SO cute how you looked so grumpy in the morning and how HAPPY you looked when you got your hot dog. hahahah I would be happy too….beaming just like you are. 🙂

  3. March 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    That is one crazy hot dog! I kinda want to try it for myself…

  4. marie
    March 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your Olympic experiences! I’ve really been enjoying them.

  5. March 4, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    This was my favourite Olympic post yet! The info about the medals was very interesting and I was able to share that with the kids. The hotdog looked amazing. I’m impressed that you can happily spend the whole day out and about by yourself. I’m just not good enough company with myself to do that…

  6. March 4, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    Rocking the one glove like Michael! I like! That’s really cool you got to hold the medals. That’s awesome that you got to play tourist in your own city – how fun!!

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