Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vancouver here I come

Today was the day, I was off to the Vancouver Winter Olympics to see the Curling , I have been to the 6 previous Summer Olympics, but this was going to be my first Winter Olympics.
I started well, went to the local pancake place that have a free stack of 3 pancakes (mmmm) to help celebrate Shrove Tuesday which is International day of pancakes.

I drove off around 7.50am too me about 30minutes (45kms) to get to the border, the Canadian border asked me how long I was going to be here for, I said about 10 hours, he looked at me strangely and asked why short, I just said that I was staying in the US and driving up to Vancouver for the games. I drive about 15-20kms into Canada, I managed to get some Canadian money at a Service station (gas station here) just in case I need it for the bus. I then parked my car at a Park & ride from where I was catching a bus to the Train Station, normally you need to show your Olympic ticket to get a free ride but explained to the bus driver that I was going into the city to pick up my ticket, he let me on and gave me a ticket for the bus/train. I caught the train on the new Canada Line, I got off at the stop in the city, everything was moving well, I picked up my ticket by 10am, the curling wasn't on until 2pm, so I had 2-3 hours to wander around.
I walked down the river that runs thru Vancouver and then walked along the board walk, I noticed in the distance a big boxing kangaroo on a building. It was the athletes village that is on the other side of the river (obviously well protected), and I was looking at the big flag that caused a lot of hassles with the Australian Team. Just around from the Kangaroo was an even bigger Canadian Flag draped on another building, I am sure the Canadians didn't want to be beaten.
The downtown area wasn't that busy, it seems like mainly Games fans & spectators were wandering around, maybe the general public had been scared off. I went past where the ice hockey is being held, there were a lot of people selling hockey tickets, I even heard a guy offer them for half price. I might come back into town Thursday or Friday for a hockey match, I might be able to get one cheap.
Onto the Curling, I had to catch a train back down the Canada line to the Prince Edward station and then had a 10min walk to the Curling venue. They had the usual security but a lot better that was at Beijing, got in about 1ish, I had an Australian take some photos of me in front of a Vancouver sign, also the RFYL hat got a few of his own shots.

Inside the venue, I bought a long sleeve Olympic top, took a few photos of some Canadian Mounties there. I got my seat and watched some of the practise session. With Curling there is 4 pitches side by side length wise about 2-3 metres apart, I am guessing that the pitches are about 30-35 metres long 4-6 metres wide. There were 4 mens games going on together, the match in front of me was the french Swiss game but they were some of the bottom teams, I was more interested in the British Norway game that Norway won 9-6, Canada had a easy win against China 10-3, but the Chinese fought all the way, Curling is like Bowls on ice, you have to land the most of your Granite rocks closest to the circle at the other end of the pitch, the Chinese were hammered 4 shots in the first end, there is a maximum of 10 ends, but if a Team gets to 10 the mercy rule is enforced, I heard somebody comment that the games could be over in 3 ends. But the Chinese settled and didn't concede that many until 3 in the 7th ending the game. Curling is very strategic and is played by 4 people, 3 sweepers and the skip who pushes the granite rocks along the ice, i won't go into much detail, because I was only learning as I went along.

After the matches ended, I had a pretty good run back to my car via a wet walk (it started raining this afternoon), train ride & bus ride, I got home by 7, not a bad day, I might have a easy day tomorrow, a run, might go to the local Mall for some shopping and maybe catch a movie.

If people are wondering the time zone here, add 5 hours (5 1/2 in SA) to your time and then take a day off.

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