My Olympics Part 11 – The Prequel To Gold

I can’t believe I’m still going through these Olympic posts. I think I may throw in a food post soon, just to mix things up. Until then – enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This was supposed to be my day off from volunteering. But what did I go and do? Sign up for an extra shift since they were seriously short volunteers. It was “Super Sunday” at Canada Hockey Place – we had all the hockey superpowers going head to head: Russia vs. Czech Republic, Canada vs. USA, and Finland vs.  Sweden. As much as I wanted to enjoy my day off, I also kinda wanted to be a part of it. And since the shift was from 16:00 – 00:30, it meant I would be at the rink for THE match of the day – Canada vs USA.

Of course, since my shift didn’t start until 4 pm, and it was another beautiful sunny day out there, that I should head downtown and mingle with the common folk some more. Seeing as it was a Sunday and such an important hockey day, I knew the atmosphere would be electric!

As soon as you get into Vancouver, you see signs of the Olympics everywhere.

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My first stop of the day was to Korea House, located in the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

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Korea is again bidding for the Winter Olympics (they lost out to our bid, as well as Sochi in 2014). They had their house in Vancouver to showcase some information about their bid. It was a small display, but no line ups, which is always a plus.

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I arrived at the wrong time though, as it was in between activities going on, like hand massages and dance performances. I didn’t have time to stay long, but was able to enjoy some of their complementary refreshments (Coca Cola products of course).

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I then thought I would try my luck at getting into the BC Pavilion at the Vancouver Art Gallery (or the VAG as we like to refer to it), but seeing as it was a Sunday, that just wasn’t gonna happen.

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As you can see, the place was crazy busy!

There was a peaceful little (non-Olympic) protest going on.

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Only in Vancouver could you protest in just your skivvies in winter and not get frostbite 😉

I thought about sitting down to watch the Mascots skate on the outdoor rink at Robson Square, but then I saw the crowds.

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And kept on walking…where I found this guy, with a skateboard and his dog.

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What were they up to? Well, in between lights (as this street was not closed to traffic), the dog was skateboarding down the road. I kid you not.

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I only have photos of the dog getting his speed up, as he was too far away from me by the time he was riding the board down the block. But let me tell you – that dog was a damn fine skateboarder!

I continued my wandering past Chapters, where I saw Theo Fleury autographing copies of his autobiography that recently came out.

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There were plenty of street performers out – like this guy juggling on a very tall unicycle.

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Around the city we have these eagles that have been painted by different people/groups (we done this previously with bears and whales). I stumbled upon the best one, featuring my favourite Canucks player of all time – Trevor Linden.

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Interesting fact – he’s married to the cousin of a girl I used to skate with way back in the day.

Eventually I ended up at a little place my mom had told me about.

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Discover Calabria. It was a small showroom promoting this region of Italy. They had many interesting things to check out – art, fashion, glassware, jewellery, and tourist information.

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But more importantly, they had a small cafe set up to sample foods from the region.

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I was able to try a white chocolate covered fig, olive oil samples on doughy, fresh bread, grilled and marinated zucchini, and canned tuna. They also had real Italian espresso, if you desired.

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It was all very delicious, but I think my favourite was the zucchini. I must find this at an Italian grocer!

Next I made my way to the Vancouver Public Library.

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Where they had an interesting art installation as part of the Cultural Olympiad. You go downtstairs and write a message about making peace. Then they attach this little light beacon, and you shoot it up a tube into the net above, where all the messages sit and blink their lights.

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I didn’t get a chance to do it, because I was under a time crunch and there was a bit of a line up, but it would have been fun to a part of this interactive art installation.

I decided to take a short walk down to Yaletown, and ended up at Casa Italia (or Italy House as we like to call all the pavilions).

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There wasn’t really that much of interest there, probably because I was starting to get tired. But they did have one thing to make the trip worth while.

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Real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for sample. Hells yeah!

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Nothing beats the real thing.

Despite all the little tasty bites I was able to enjoy, I figured it was about time I track down something more substantial for lunch to get me through my quickly approaching volunteer shift. I wanted a place to sit down and enjoy my lunch, but all of the restaurants in Yaletown had line ups – everyone was getting their seats to enjoy the big hockey game. But as luck would have it, I stumbled across a suitable lunch location – Fuse Pan Asian Express.

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They are a noodle/stirfry house, with some other creative Asian fusion appetizers, salads, and iced teas. I love me some good noodle dishes, so I was sold!

I made sure to get in a little caffeine to keep me going.

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And ordered the pad thai, because really, you can never go wrong with a pad thai.

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Stupid me wasn’t thinking, and forgot to ask for no cilantro. Although, I have to admit, it does make for a much prettier photo.

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It was a delicious lunch, and plenty filling!

By the time I’d fuelled up, I knew it was time to me to power walk across downtown to make it to the arena with time to check in and get changed into my volunteer uniform. I did take a little time to enjoy all the hockey buzz going through the streets though.

I took in a little street hockey.

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And made a stop in the Swiss Alps (thanks to the Swiss Army trailer).

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There was no way you could get lost on the way to the rink. Just follow the sea of people dressed in red!

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Some more so than others.

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And they say Canadians aren’t patriotic? Pffft! Get a little hockey involved, and we’ll bring it!

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Even if you didn’t have tickets to the game, you were bound to have a good time where ever you ended up watching the game.

So I made it to the rink, and completely lucked out with an inside job again. I was ushering in some tunnels, but had to keep the photo taking to a minimum – they really like to crack down on it during high profile games, seeing as we aren’t paying spectators. I did manage to sneak one or two photos though.

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Sadly, as we all know, our boys didn’t quite come out victorious in this match. You’d think it would put a big damper on the crowd, but it really wasn’t too bad. Probably because this wasn’t yet an elimination game.

And since I was working an afternoon shift instead of my usual day shift, I didn’t have to suffer through eat soup & sandwich for my meal again!

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So what exactly was for dinner? A creamy vegetable lasagne, beef & barley soup, whole wheat roll, and that damn granola bar. When I heard lasagne was for dinner, I was sad, because I’m not one for tomato sauces. But I was pleasantly surprised to see it had a creamy sauce, and honestly, it wasn’t that bad.

I was there for the Sweden-Finland game as well, so I didn’t get out of there until midnight. LATE! Fortunately, my mom was also working that evening, as well as one of our family friends, so we were all able to ride the train home together.

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Phew! Another one of those epic updates for an event filled day. Hope you all made it through that. My goal is to at least get all my Olympic posts done up this weekend, so soon we’ll be back to some regular food fun. But hey, it let’s me keep that Olympic fun going just a little bit longer 🙂

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