And So It Begins....

by Carmen Cruz

Day one of the Olympics. As I'm sure you've already noticed, the city is PACKED with people. I spent the first day wandering around the downtown area. It was a sea of red and white, Olympic mittens, toques and jackets on every second person that walked by. AND, lets not forget the odd person walking shirtless (yes, shirtless) wearing the Canadian flag as a cape. If you're claustrophobic...sorry.

I checked out LiveCity Yaletown. With a lineup that was at least 3 blocks long, I decided to pass on the idea of trying to get in. Not today anyways.

Walking through Yaletown kinda made me feel like I was walking through an outdoor flea market. Seriously. Tents are set up with people selling items like 'Canada' earmuffs, t-shirts, key chains, and other items that will most likely end of on the shelves of your favourite local thrift shop in a few months. I understand the need for commerce, but it kinda made me feel...icky. Ah well...
The highlight of Yaletown itself will definitely be the patios. There are tons of them set up, blaring live music, so evenings there should definitely be interesting.
FYI: Most restaurants and bars in the city have raised their prices for the Olympics. Even the price of street meat (hot dogs) has gone up! Booooooooo!!!

Walking around downtown, you can literally feel the excitement. I know it's cliche to say, but it's true. Robson Square is the heart of the madness. If you're a 'people watcher' this is definitely the place to be.

I checked out the official Olympic clock, expecting to see all zero's, but I was wrong. It's started another count (not too sure what exactly).

I also ran into an Olympic Torch bearer (her name is Shelly) and she was SWARMED by people. I managed to snag a quick pic with her, but due to all the pushing and bumping (yes, it got that bad) the picture turned out blurry.

In the evening, the opening ceremonies was broadcast on screens and walls downtown (check out the video).

Here are a few of my recommendations:
~Head to Granville and Robson. The exhibits there are cool to see.
~Bring a pair of rubber boots. Wet feet are not fun.
~Wear anything that says 'Canada' on it. I know it sounds silly, but trust me on this one.
~Don't be afraid to chat to strangers. I ended up meeting a backpacker from the Czech Republic who was trying to find his way to 'Vhistler', and a SUPER nice group of chefs from the UK who are here through Vancouver Community College (see picture).
~Try the Rickshaw ride on Robson. They're free and they guys that run them are hilarious!

If you see me wandering around, come up and say 'Hola!'