Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh Canada!

If you are anything like me, you spent a significant amount of time in front of the of the TV between February 12th and 28th.  You fell in love with the stories of athletes from all around the world.  You were interested in sports you know very little about.  You cheered on people you had never heard of before.  You stayed up way past your bedtime to watch the medal ceremony of a sport you only hear about every four years. 
The Olympics are an amazing event.  Despite all the flaws and negativity that can surround the event I choose to believe it is something truly special.  Men and woman from all around the globe come together to compete.  It is a unique opportunity to learn about other countries and the people that call them home.  Having the 2010 Winter Olympics in our backyard made them seem extra special.  I set my Tivo to record every bit of it just incase I missed something or fell asleep before the events of the evening were over.  I watched all the interesting, albeit sometimes cheesy, stories from the Great White North.  I got caught up in the Olympic spirit!  And I loved every minute of it from my living room. 

That is until my crazy little sister got a crazy little idea.  "Would you want to go to Vancouver this Saturday?"  She asked me on the phone the during the second week of the Olympic games.  "Uh?  Sure. I guess?"  I wasn't quiet sure about the hassle that would involve, but is sounded fun.  So my family, sans Ryan (more on that later), made plans to visit Vancouver and see the sights of the Olympics.
Heidi forced us to get up before dawn to make the drive to the boarder and beat the traffic.  It worked.  The wait was 5 minutes.  Just north of the boarder Heidi noticed a large bird flying right in front of our car across the freeway to a fence on the other side.  It was a juvenile eagle.  A short distance later we saw a pair of adult eagles sitting in a tree.  Then another pair.  Then a group of 5 eagles sitting in a tree.  Between the boarder and the river we saw somewhere around 75 eagles.  It was awesome!  We were having a great trip and we hadn't even seen the Olympic sights yet. 
We parked in Richmond, B.C. to take the sky train/subway into the city.  The station is adjacent to the River Rock Casino resort.  It's a very nice looking place and the money window in the casino came in very handy when the train ticket machines declined every credit card the four of us had.  We found out later that the bank we share blocked our cards do to suspicious activity in B.C.  That was us!!!  Since when do they block your card when you do BC.  They certainly didn't do that when Ryan and I went to Victoria last September.  Oh well, good thing some of us (not me) had cash and the Casino could exchange it.  So we bought train tickets and headed to Vancouver.
First stop, the Olympic Cauldron.  It was quite the sight to behold.  Yeah you had to behold it below a cyclone fence and above plexiglass, but is was still a sight to behold.  The Olympic flame that has travelled all around the world and all around Canada and we are standing in front of it!  Pretty neat-o.  There were olympic volunteers sitting on lifeguard chairs to the left of the flame announcing in English and French that we could get a closer view of the cauldron if we followed the path around to the left of the building.  So we went to check it out and we found a very long line of people waiting to go on the roof for a better view.  We decided that it looked just fine from the ground.
the family and the flame
From there we could also see the Olympic Rings!  
Next we decided to wander around Vancouver and see the city and Olympic sights.  At the Canadian Mint you could see the medals so we decided to go check it out.  Only problem was we found another very long line.  It snaked up and down the entire city block.  We found the end of the line and there was a volunteer there that said the wait from that point would be about 8 hours.  Um, no Thank you!  Okay, let's try the Olympic Store.  Heidi and I wanted to by some pint glasses, my mom wanted a few souvenirs and I really wanted a pair of the now famous red mittens.  So to the store we went.  Only problem was we found another very long line.  This time it was an hour wait from the end.  Um, maybe it will be shorter later in the day.  How about some lunch?  After checking a few full pubs/restaurants we ended up at Red Robin.  Another line but we were hungry and a little bit tired so we decided to wait.  We ate some delicious food while it poured down rain outside.  We picked a good time for lunch.  After a bit of a rest we decided to check out some sights without lines.
Like this funny snowboarder silhouette. 
Canadian Spirit was covering the city!
Heidi tried her hand at an Olympic sport!
And then another one!  Dad and I got to help.
We did make it back to the Olympic store and waited in line.  It didn't really take that long.  Unfortunately everything on our want list was sold out.  Including the coveted red mittens.  As we exited the store I saw this sign.  It was as close as I got to the mittens.  
The day was just about over.  We hoped back on the train to Richmond.  Two more stops before we leave B.C.  Stop #1 - A department store that we heard might have mittens.  Instead they had an incredible picked over section of Olympic gear with no mittens.  Stop #2 - Tim Hortons for Timbits, of corse!  A yummy end to a fun day! 


Megan, Heidi and Patrice said...

So good Fit! You should really blog more often! I had so much fun with you all, thanks for coming along on my crazy adventure! And isn't the donut in the last pic placed in just the best spot! :o)

Mi.and.Ry said...

I still read and I still think you're so stinkin' cute. Maybe we should bag this whole dinner with our husbands fiasko and just go on a road trip with he 4 of us. :)