The beauty of living in Seattle, when the Olympics are going on in Vancouver, is that you can get a wild hair idea on Saturday night which results in an early morning race for the border. Olympics here we come. I love Canadians — even the border patrol seemed happy to see us. First stop was at the Richmond visitor center to get the lay of the land. We had five people helping us at once–Canadians are enthusiastic hosts. Next stop River Rock Casino–just for parking, this was a family trip after all. We weren’t sure if the machines took atm cards and being the silly US Americans we are, we had no Canadian money with us. The result was an Olympics volunteer gave us 2 Canadian dollars for parking. Again, very gracious hosts. We caught the light rail from there straight to the waterfront; a few steps later we were looking at the Olympic cauldron albeit through a chain length fence. We waited in the viewing platform line for 45 pleasant minutes talking to our new Canadian friends, school teachers from Northern Vancouver. Lovely folks. Lovely view over the bay with the mountains in the background. Then from there on out we walked around town with what seemed like the entire country of Canada within a few blocks’ radius wearing red maple leaves. Granville and Robson streets have been closed to automotive traffic creating a party-like atmosphere. There was just a general sense of celebration and joy. Accents from all over the world could be heard. The sun was sparkling off of the water and buildings; people were flying across zip lines over our heads; Canadian mascots were seen patting small children on the head. There was an underground ice skating rink full of children. It was while watching this that I was interviewed by a local television station about my Olympic experience. What a kick. We headed off to Yale town where we managed to get lost and then sorted out by the friendly fire department. Music was playing live on the streets along the way. We headed to the Live City Olympic venue where the sporting events were playing on a jumbo screen; different sponsors had various interactive venues to visit. I am now all up to speed on the latest 3D television technology! My son had a bison burger at the taste of Canada booth. My husband and I went for the, more familiar to a Seattleite, Humbow (pork dumpling) at the bite of Asia. After that we walked along the waterfront passing a long line of inukshuk. These are rock stacks that, I believe, orginate from the Inuit communities in Canada. Then we headed to the Hockey arena to watch the US and Canadian fans stream in to watch the men’s hockey game. Lots of hoopla, horns, cowbells. Later we checked out other cultural venues then headed for a pub to watch the game. As it turns out it is fine for kids to be in the pub with their parents, unlike in the US. So in the Gotham bar we watched the game–keeping a very low profile–since team USA ended up winning. After we slunk out of there, we headed back to the cauldron for an evening shot of the flame and the Olympic rings on the water. Beautiful! Then back across the border and home to Seattle. A spectacular day in Vancouver.
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