Saturday, February 27, 2010

Olympic Experience-Take 2

Thursday of this week, we got everything organized at home, and then headed off to Vancouver again.  Thankfully our daughter was home from work in the early afternoon,
so the dogs would have someone to let them out and maybe take them for a walk or play a game of fetch.
Despite leaving much earlier this time, the parking lot at Skytrain was full again.  The Fraser Hwy 'parking lot' wasn't as full yet, so managed to find a spot along there.  Only a quarter mile walk this time, instead of the half mile walk of last week.  Hopped on the train and headed straight in to Waterfront station.  Those Olympic volunteers are everywhere, easily recognizable in their blue jackets, and they pointed us in the direction of the Olympic flame.  The oh so lovely (she says sarcastically) chainlink fence still surrounded the flame.  Honestly, someone slipped up on the planning here.  Surely they could have come up with something better than this fence that looked like it had been thrown up in a hurry with no thought to it.  After taking this shot, we checked out the lineup to the viewing platform (over an hour, so not on our agenda) and took a stroll along the waterfront.  Made us think about coming back in a month or two with bikes.

Looking back at the line for
the viewing platform, with the flame just visible over the top of it.
We headed back to the flame and got a shot of it through the gap in the fence.  I thought it was quite 'futuristic' looking.  Well I think that is the word I want.

I had to check out and see if there is a Peruvian Olympic team, and there is, albeit a rather small one  I don't think these were athletes though.

We wandered into the Pan Pacific, and were just in time to see some aboriginal dancing.  We headed down to the food court for some pizza and a pit stop, and  then off to Robson Square.  We found the (inevitable) line up for the art gallery.  It was only a 15 or 20 minute wait, so we joined the rest of the herd and stood in line.  Once in the gallery we wandered through the De Vinci exhibit.  It brought back memories of seeing the same thing 10 years ago, accompanying my son's grade seven class to the provincial museum in Victoria.  In the other half of the first floor was a show called Visceral.......something or other.  I must admit my idea of 'art' is pretty narrow, and this just didn't fit within the borders.  Just kinda weird...... sculptures looking like body parts....I swear one was made out of real intestines.  Gross.   Let's just say that the art gallery was not a roaring success.  A lot of it was probably that I wasn't in the right frame of mind, wasn't relaxed enough to 'absorb' the art.

The biggest Canadian Flag you are probably ever going to see.

The Bay. Onto the skytrain here at the Granville station, and off at Stadium Station.

As we walked either side of the stadium, it seemed every other person was asking us if we had hockey tickets to sell.  One fellow was carrying a sign, offering $2000 for a ticket, wow.  Can't imagine being that desperate, but then I don't usually watch hockey anyway.
This was as close as we were going to get to the women's gold medal hockey game.  We were there at the right time, just outside the building instead of in it.
Along that part of False Creek were probably thousands of inukshuks made out of the stones protecting the bank.  Really something to see. 

This fellow was Russian.  Probably not an athelete, as the jacket didn't have 'Russia' across the back, but very similar to what the athletes were wearing.  This is taken near the Russian pavilion.  I'll be kind and just say that I'm glad that the Canadians didn't have this uniform.

We saw two of Canada's finest.  A woman had handed them a coloured cut out of a child's figure, and was taking a picture of them holding it.  From the bit I overheard, I think the real child couldn't be there, but they were taking pictures of the picture in various locations around town.  Kinda neat:)

Molson Canadian Hockey House. The 'cheap seats' were $99, so no entry for us.   

After bypassing the hour plus lineup for the 4-D movie at Ontario House, we wandered into the pavilion, and stood and watched some of the women's hockey game.  Then we walked into the Quebec pavilion, (nothing to see there) and bypassed the Saskatchewan pavilion (another lineup).  Headed over to McDonald's for a cheap coffee and muffin, and watched more of the hockey game.  Back onto the skytrain, and to waterfront, where we switched to the Canada line and headed to the airport. Had to change trains at Bridgeport, as we were on the train heading into Richmond.  Got talking to young couple on the train.  They had flown out from Winipeg that morning, and were heading to catch a flight back.  They were planning on coming back on Sunday for the day.  Turns out they both worked for Westjet, so am assuming the flights were free.  Lucky them! 

We found the new observation deck at the airport, and watched a few planes take off and land.  There were also TVs on the wall, so we were able to watch the last part of the women's gold medal game.  Yeah Canada!!

Back on the train, switch again at Bridgeport, and head to the O Zone in Richmond.  There were some interesting things there, including BC street with pavilions from various areas in BC.  Of course Heineken House is the biggest draw here, and once again we just took a photo to say we had been here, and gazed in amazement at the lineup.  It was enormous.  We had to wonder when those people thought they were actually going to get inside.  Mmm, maybe sometime Friday?  It was just crazy....

We were in time to catch the medal ceremony for the women's bobsled, on yet another big screen of course.  Yay Canada!! Gold and Silver, wow.  We proudly sang O Canada with a small crowd.

At the far side of the artificial turf field there was an outdoor skating rink.  A sort of kidney shaped 'oval'.  How cool was that?  Well obviously cool enough to keep the ice frozen, dah.  Skating was free, and it only cost $2 to rent skates.  What a deal, and I was tempted to give it a go, but it has been quite a few years since I have been on skates, and well... I chickened out.  Wished I had thought to take a picture though.

Well we did finally get to see a hockey game!  No expensive seats to watch this game, I don't think there were ANY seats, expensive or not.

We went into the city hall, which had a very interesting exhibit of speed skating skates.  There was an older dutch fellow there who was full of information, and it was really fascinating, who would have thought?  Enjoyed that more than the art gallery.  The next room had examples of skating 'skins' from the last few years, and even some that you could put on, and have your picture taken posing.  I declined the suggestion that I try that.  Umm, no thanks, too form fitting for my liking.

We came back outside in time to watch the best of the women's figure skaters, and see Joannie Rochette win her bronze medal.  You couldn't help but shed a tear or two.  My heart goes out to her.

By this point we had had enough.  Back on the skytrain, to Waterfront.  Switch to the Expo line, and head back to Surrey.  We did consider changing trains to ride the Millenium line to Columbia station, so that we could say we had ridden the entire sky train system in one day.  Exhaustion took over though, and we just stayed slumped in our seats until we got to the end of the line.  We arrived home more than 13 hours after we had left, but it was one heck of a day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Olympics-The experience

So the Olympics are here in Vancouver/Whistler.  Not that we were terribly enthusiastic when it was first announced they were coming, and no mad rush to buy tickets for any events.  Maybe I am cheap, but those prices just seem way too high to me.  But, that said, we have always enjoyed following the games on TV.  So, since they were so close to home, I knew I would regret it if we didn't get a taste of what all the fuss was about.

We are basically country bumpkins, and head into Vancouver very rarely.  Just can't take all that traffic, trying to find parking, and actually having to PAY for parking, well we just aren't used to doing much of that.

So, Thursday last week, we drove to Surrey, and had our first struggle with parking.  The skytrain lot was full, and after stalking a few people getting off the skytrain, to see if they would lead us to a spot in the parking lot that we could inherit, we gave up.  So then we drove around the neighbourhood.  Cars were parked for quite a distance down Fraser Hwy, but we finally found a free spot on a patch of grass that a construction crew had taken over.

No problem getting on the skytrain, and off we went.  We exited at the Main station, and were greeted outside the station with a Russian choir. 

The Russian pavilion was at Science World.  The lineup was huge, hours long,  and as well as trying to avoid having to pay for parking, we also don't really 'do' lineups

Across False Creek was the Olympic Village, which of course was off limits to the likes of us.  The police presence was very obvious.

We wandered around, and then headed to the south side of False Creek and walked along (which turned out to be much farther than I thought it was) to get to the Olympic Line train.  Another huge lineup, but after watching for a few minutes, realized that they could cram an awful lot of people onto one train, so got in the line and into the next train.  I think Vancouver would be foolish to not keep this train running, and expand the line.  Why spend 8 million, or whatever the number was, and then not continue to use the track?  It was a quiet enjoyable ride.  A little freaky though to look down the track (we were up the at the front and were basically looking over the driver's shoulder) and see another train on the same track, heading right at us.  Thankfully there was a small stretch of double track that one train pulled into to let the other train by.

We did line up for the Yaletown Livesite.  There was airport type security to get in, which was what was slowing things down.  We watched some curling on the big screen, went into the Samsung and Acer pavilions.  The Samsung was a waste of time, and the Acer, well we weren't too much into playing computer games, so didn't stick around in there.   A huge lineup for the Coke pavilion, so skipped that one.

Next we wandered up the streets.  Several were closed to vehicular traffic, and were crowded with lots of people in hockey jerseys, or whatever red clothing they happened to own.  A men's hockey game was on at the time, so as we walked past restaurants, all we could see were hockey jerseys and tv screens.

We made our way to Robson Square.  It was dark by this time.  There was a show on in the ice rink, and of course a huge crowd surrounded it.  The front of the art gallery was draped in 'flowers'.  Not sure the reason for that, maybe something to do with Chinese new year?  The art gallery was offering free admission for the Olympics, but of course by this time was closed.

After wandering for a while, we made our way back to the Skytrain, and to our lonely car sitting on the grass back in Surrey.
 I think another trip will be in the works.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fotos in Fort Langley

On Saturday my photography class took a field trip to Fort Langley.  It is a quaint little place, and much quieter now that the ferry is no long running.  It is really quiet there in the morning, and doesn't seem to come to life much until after10:30.   
                    There are some really interesting looking stores, and one had a suitable antique Canadian window display.   We wandered around town and took random photos.  


Just as we were finishing off, a wedding party showed up to take photos on the community hall grounds.  Who would have thought, having planned a wedding for February, that the weather would be so cooperative?