Saturday, February 19, 2011

new tradition: spring olympics!

A year ago today was Day 2 of our Olympic trip, and as a special treat, we got to celebrate something new: the spring Olympics! The Spring Olympics were so nice that I think future Winter Olympics should really consider switching to Spring. True, I heard they had a bit of a snow disaster up in Whistler, but we watched our Olympic events inside arenas, so we weren't too affected by that and we were loving the sunshine!

Chele, Christina, me
Self-portrait in the sunshine! Chele, Christina, and me.

We didn't have any set plans for Day 2 (Friday), so we took our time getting ready, enjoying the smorgasbord of breakfast treats that Mama Jackson had put together. Once we did head out, we realized that it wasn't just a nice day—it was WARM! I was wearing a long-sleeved tee under my regular tee because I'm always cold, but even I decided to run back inside to take off my extra layer.

Us with Flag
First things first: photo with the Canadian flag in our Canada tees! Fun fact: 3/5 of us are not Canadian. Whatever...details!

We drove to a Skytrain station, parked our rental Jeep, and took the train downtown. First stop once we arrived (after waiting in line for like 30 minutes for the washrooms at the train station) was the torch! Initially, I was not impressed with the fence around it, but I realized that a fenced-off torch is better than a vandalized torch and unfortunately, not everyone respects the Olympic movement like we do.

I wedged my lens into the chain-link to get some fence-free shots, and I also climbed up on a pillar, with two of the girls steadying my legs so I could get a higher angle. The things I do for photography! ;-)

Group shot with torch
There were a ton of people around, so we easily got someone to take a photo of all five us with the torch. L-R: Jen, me, Chele, Christina, Jules.

We didn't have a lot to do, but this doesn't mean we were bored! Wandering the streets was endless fun. We went in a bunch of stores that had Olympic-themed merch, checked out the crazy dedicated pin traders, stopped in at some of the downtown Olympic "sites," like the downtown UBC campus, where they had entertainment as well as the official ticket office! We had to pick up our skating practice tickets, and we ended up buying practice tickets for a second day, the day of the free dance. I felt a little relieved, because at least I'd see free dance practice...I still wasn't convinced we were going to end up with free dance tickets.

Count-UP clock
Then, we walked around to the opposite side of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where the countdown clock is located. In 2008, we were all in Vancouver for the Canadian Championships and we took a series of photos with the clock, dreaming that we'd all be back together when the Games were happening. Being back at the clock while it was counting UP instead of down, all five of us together, was so emotional and awesome. Being at the Olympics was a dream come true, but it wouldn't have been the same if any of us had been missing.

That night was the compulsory dance, and although we're huge skating nerds and would be happy watching compulsory dances, we were saving our pennies for the OD and free dance, so we didn't bother with CD tickets. Instead, we decided to time dinner with the CD, knowing that every TV in the city would be showing Olympic coverage. Christina had a recommendation for Ebisu, a Japanese place, so we headed there and thought we'd be plenty early for a Friday night, but of course, the line was epic and Japanese food isn't generally prepared quickly, so tables don't really turn over quickly. We ended up standing in line for almost the whole CD, craning our necks and leaning around a corner to see the top teams skate. We couldn't hear any sound, so maybe I was singing random Tango Romantica tracks to make up for it. Haha.

When we finally got a table, it was literally in the break while the team before Tessa & Scott was waiting for their scores. And the table that we got was right below a TV playing the skating coverage. So some of us literally had to lay across the table to see the TV, so we could cheer on the kids, who laid down a fantastic dance and leapt into 2nd! Our waitress saw how into the Olympics we were, and told us that a big booth had just opened up in the bar area by the giant projection screen. Did we want it? Umm...yes, of course we did! Skating was over, but we got to watch skeleton, which included a win by Canadian Jon Montgomery. Singing "O Canada" with a whole restaurant while I'm eating fantastic sushi? Yes please!

Once we hit the streets after sushi (and cooked food for Chele...her first bite of sushi was still several weeks away at that point!), the hits just kept on coming. We thought about going somewhere for a drink, but didn't want to deal with more lines, and I don't think anything could have been more fun that jostling gigantic crowds in the streets, high-fiving random Canadians, belting the anthem a few more times, and taking a ton of photos. Are the Olympics always this amazing? Or is it a special brand of awesome when you're part of the "home" team? I hope that I'll find out! Who's up for 2014? I speak Russian...not as well as I used to, but I can brush up! I'll be useful!

Some street decorations...I never did learn the significance of them, but they were a) pretty and b) fun to stomp around on.

One of my two favourite group shots from the Olympics! We all look so fantastic and happy! I'm a bit of a conehead in my hat, but it has a maple leaf on it, so it's allowed.

And I'll leave you with a parting shot that describes, in photographic form, how I felt about that Olympic night.

Crazy Me

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