Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hostess with the mostest

On Day 2 of the Olympics 3/4's of our family drove to Whistler - to watch TV.

But how could you not? There are TVs everywhere you look, inside & out.
Every plaza & town square, every store, pub & fast food restaurant is wired for the big show. Coming out of the washroom at an Indian restaurant where I'd popped in for a pee-break, Kim grabbed me & whispered "You have to buy something, I don't want to miss the rest of this event." I was ready for a pot of Chai tea anyway and the waiter let Shea have the last strawberry-banana lassie that he'd hidden away for himself.

We watched the very first gold medal win of 2010 standing at the base of the mountain, on a TV screen the size of a small house.
See those clouds, chopping off the mountain at it's feet? That's why the men's downhills were postponed. That and the relentless drizzle that started later and kept the weathermen their jobs by fulfilling their forecasts.

From an Irish pub we watched three Korean speed skaters almost win the top three places, until one of them hit the boards just before the finish, taking one of her teammates with her.
Yup, we drove 2 hours to sit in a pub very similar to the one 1/2 a block from home and watch on TV an event happening 10 minutes from our house.

But it was worth it. The Sea-to-Sky highway was almost empty, only a few buses and official Olympic vehicles, and us, on the road. (We had a borrowed resident's pass) The weather, at first, was spectacular. Kim was kicking himself for believing the negative forecasts and leaving the skis at home. I had to keep reminding him that it was promised to get worse.

We had a mission to find Shea some new ski gloves so hit every single sports shop in Whistler (wait, don't we do that every time we go there anyway?) and some galleries.
One of our favourites, Gallery Luminaura, a glass gallery at the Chateau Whistler, had just received Dale Chihuly's new 2010 line of pieces. They got them before anyone else in the world because, well the whole world was going to be at Whistler wasn't it? They are amazing, I could easily have brought a couple home with me, except for, you know, that money thing.
Across the hall from the glass gallery is the gallery where I first fell in love with Francis Solar's woven metal pieces. They had a good collection of dolls they had commissioned from Kate Church for the occasion: quirky winter athletes and a whole herd of wacky spectators, all wearing those red mitts. And selling fast, judging by the number of red dots. "Look Kim, polymer clay in a gallery of this calibre! We are gaining some respect in some places"

Walking through Whistler Village, you really could tell that the world had come to visit: athletes, tourists and media people from all over the world, everyone in coordinating outfits, displaying their country or reason for being there. The coolest were the TV France guys we kept bumping into in their tres chic black down jackets, (OK, that's the limit of my high-school french) although Shea's favourites are still the Czech athlete's jackets.

What a festive atmosphere, and live music everywhere. We did manage to see a short set by the Great Lakes Swimmers and most of (darn, can't remember the name, will have to fill it in here when it comes back to me) before the rain started to soak through our jackets into our bones and we had to squelch back to the car for the long drive home. This is how Vancouverites enjoy outdoor concerts. Shea says the music really does sound better in the rain.

Here's me and Shea, who was mistaken once or twice for Sean White, the red-haired US snowboarder, even though Shea still needs a few more inches of hair to be a contender for the gold in "best hair".

Oh, one last thing. To all of you in the rest of Canada: if you've ever considered committing a crime, now is your chance.
Right now, when every single cop in the country is here, in Whistler or Vancouver.

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