My Olympics Part 14 – Finally, A Day Off

More Olympic coverage coming at you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finally, I had a day off from volunteering. Because I’d picked up an extra volunteer shift, I ended up working 9 days in a row. I was definitely looking forward to the day off so I could go out and play, especially since my friend was in town visiting.

Looks like I was playing food blogger in the morning, and captured breakfast.

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Too bad it’s not really anything that exciting – yogurt with coconut, almonds, and craisins; toast with peanut butter & jam, and some juice. I may have had the day off, but I was still too lazy to make any fancy breakfasts.

We were off pretty early, since we wanted to get in as much fun as possible, and we knew there would be line ups everywhere. Our first destination was technically Starbucks (my friend needed his morning coffee), but then we went to our first Olympic destination – the Cauldron. Yes, it was my 3rd or 4th time being there, but that’s what happens when new people come into town.

I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone on this picture – the usual green tea latte + cauldron in the distance.

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Then our mission was to get into the BC Pavilion at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I had been trying to go all Olympics, but there was always a massive line up. We got there 20 min after they opened for the day, and got in line. Less than 30 min later, and we were inside! Score!

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They had many displays, showcasing our forestry industry, green/environmental technologies, digital arts (EA Sports has an office located in Vancouver), as well as our First Nations culture. We also got to enjoy a short 3D immersive movie on the province.

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Not only did we check out the pavilion, but the rest of the art gallery was free admission, so we took a wander through the Da Vinci exhibit as well. They were displaying his sketches of the human body, which were amazingly detailed. Alas, they don’t let you take photos in the rest of the gallery, so I had to buy a postcard in the gift shop afterwards.

Next we took a walk down Robson Street in search of something for lunch. We saw the most awesome candied apples in the window at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

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I was pretty tempted to pick one up and call that lunch 😉

Inspiration eventually struck, and we were headed down to Gastown to get our lunch on at Vera’s Burger Shack.

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Vera’s is a local Vancouver burger chain that I’d heard only good things about, and knew I needed to try one day. We have one on campus at UBC, but I generally bring my lunch with me, so I never think to get a burger while I’m out there. This day seemed like a good day.

We perused the large menu and finally placed our orders. I went with The Vera Burger, topped with cheddar and “The Works”, sans tomato and hot peppers.

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And we shared a basket of fries, because you can’t have a burger without some fries!

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It was really good. I wanted to go with their basic burger so I could get an idea of what I’m working with, but I think next time I get the chance to visit, I’ll try out one of the specialty burgers. I highly recommend getting “The Works” on your burger as well – it’s messy, but delicious!

We did some souvenir shopping while in Gastown, then decided to get the heck out of Vancouver.

Wait, what? Leave Vancouver?

It’s true. We were off to Richmond, home of speedskating, as well as the Richmond O Zone.

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The plan? Get into Holland Heineken House to watch the women’s Gold Medal hockey game.

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This was another hot spot attraction, so we knew we might face a long line up to get in, but it was only about 30 min, and we only missed a little bit of the game.

You have to get a refundable pay card to use inside. I was tempted to keep it as a souvenir, but I wanted my $5 deposit. I figured a picture was good enough.

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They had some exhibits/activities you could check out, but we were there to watch hockey, so we booked it to the main area. You know, the one with the bar 😉

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It is Heineken House after all.

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We made sure to hydrate right away – I had some white wine, while my friend had the mandatory Heineken.

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Although I’m not a beer person, I did have a sip just to say I drank Heineken at Heineken House. I didn’t want them to kick me out or anything 😉

Watching the game there was odd – because they were showing the Dutch broadcast! All of the commentary was in Dutch, although some hockey terms like “power play” were in English. So bizarre, but pretty much everyone there was Canadian, so it was still a great environment.

All that wine (one glass) started to go to my head, so I knew I needed food. Good thing they were serving up some Dutch specialties. I had to go with one of my favourites from when I was in Amsterdam years ago – Frites!

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Served up with a healthy dollop of mayo, just like I had in Amsterdam. Yes, I had fries twice in one day. And I enjoyed it 😀

As expected, the pro-Canadian crowd went wild when we won the hockey game, breaking out into the national anthem.

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Since there were other things at the O Zone we wanted to see before heading home, we decided to leave as soon as the game was over, and watch the medal presentations on the giant screens outside. This time with English commentary!

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After that was said and done, we figured we should check out some of the rest of the activities out at the O Zone. Like the BCLC tent – where you got to play a sport (we chose hockey), win a scratch ticket, and see if you won a prize. Alas, neither of us won a prize with our tickets, but it was still fun 🙂

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There was an outdoor ice rink you could skate on, but I’m not into skating in rental skates, so we passed on that. Instead we headed on over to BC Street, where the Ice Wall was set up.

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What is this Ice Wall you may ask? It’s an art installation that is made up completely of ice. It’s really spectacular looking. To keep it from melting, it’s encased in a refrigerated glass casing. I loved the way it look lit up at night.

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Then we went through all the pavilions along BC Street. Pretty much every region of BC had one set up, where you could learn about the area, get tourist info, play some games, etc.

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There were even samples of candied salmon being given out at one of the pavilions. Yum!

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By this time it was getting late, and we knew we needed dinner. None of the food options at the O Zone really appealed to us, so we left for the food court at Richmond Centre, since it was on the way back to the train anyways.

Since I’d overloaded on fries all day, I knew I just wanted something light and fresh tasting.

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As soon as I saw Jugo Juice and their lovely fruit smoothies, I knew I was getting one. I went with the Skinny Peach, because the combination of peaches, raspberries, and cranberry juice sounded perfect.

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I love how they even put their nutritional stats right on the cup. They could probably do without most of that “tropical nectar” (aka – sugar). Not exactly something I would consume every day, and it’s a bit much for a snack, but it worked out well as my dinner that night.

As we were leaving we passed Beard Papa’s – a cream puff place. I had a weak moment.

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This vanilla cream puff somehow jumped into my hand. And then into my mouth. And I managed to get myself covered in powdered sugar. Oops!

Finally we’d had enough excitement, and hopped on the train to get back downtown, and on the express train back to the ‘burbs. Which turned out to be an entertaining ride – there was a group of drunk happy guys in our car, singing O Canada, and running up and down the isles with a Canada flag. Gotta love that Olympic spirit!

And can you believe – there are only 3 more days (2 more posts) remaining for my Olympic recap? The end is near, dear readers. Stayed tuned!

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One Comment on “My Olympics Part 14 – Finally, A Day Off”

  1. March 18, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Heineken house?! You are now my hero! I don’t how many times me and my friends looked at that line and were like, screw it! Plus it always ended up being like 30min later no one would be allowed in…

    hmmmm fries.

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