Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vancouver - Day 1

Ahh, finally. Off to Vancouver day! I arrived at the airport nice and early after getting a ride form a friend. I walk up to the Delta counter and there’s no line – fantastic! Enter my confirmation number and wait a, what?? My confirmation number doesn’t work! Crap! Look at my ticket again and then try and creep away from Delta as quietly as possible…. Because I’m actually flying on United. D’oh!

Well, that’s a nice way to start a trip! I decided to take it as a learning lesson. Lesson of the day: Try and be less dumb.

I made it to Vancouver with no further incident (well, unless you count sprinting through the Denver airport as an “incident” – I just barely made my connecting flight but that’s ok. I’m totally counting it as a speedwork day in my training log - and yes, Dave, that DOES totally count!)

Patrick Chan was sitting a couple of rows in front of me on the plane. I just adore that guy – he’s a skater from Canada, fairly young still and talented beyond belief. He’s had some turbulence in his coaching life in the past month and he takes a really different approach to his training. Most skaters hunker down with their one coach and train with them for years, but Patrick kind of floats from coach to coach. I like to think he does it because he likes to take wisdom from different people and patch it together like a quilt for himself… but I kind of think right now he’s just restless. I’m crossing my fingers, toes and eyes for him in Vancouver. I just want him to have a beautiful skate.

Article on Patrick arriving

The Vancouver airport is gorgeous! After the extravagance of everything in Beijing, I really had no expectations for anything in Vancouver. It’s hard to top China and what they did for ’08. But wow – the airport kind of surprised me! Right off the plane, you walk through this aborigine display complete with water, music and dinosaur sounds (?) They also had this really cool waterfall thing right as you come off the escalators into customs.

So I landed in the Vancouver airport at 1:30. At 3, I was in the Olympic Super Store trying on Team Russia jackets. I chucked my bags in the hotel and ran down the street to the holy land of team Russia jackets. I ended up picking out this white and red tracksuit that all of the athletes will be wearing. I feel very fancy. And Russian. And suddenly I have a strange penchant for wearing fur coats?

But here’s the thing. The second I saw that giant display of Team Russia stuff, it totally lost its magic. I finally have to admit to myself that part of the fun of the Russia stuff was simply the HUNT. The fact that it was so dang hard to get a hold of that stuff is what made it so magical. And then to walk into a giant store and have someone just hand it to me… sigh. It just wasn’t right.

I ended up heading back there later that night after working and got a different jacket instead. One that I’ll actually wear – the white tracksuit is so fancy and gorgeous (and expensive!!) that it would probably just sit in my closet forever.

(I have this thing about buying white tops and then never wearing them because I think I’m going to get them dirty – you’d think I’d either a) stop buying the white tops or b) invest in one of those Tide stain sticks)

As I left the Olympic Super Store, I see Jamie Sale and David Pelletier clowning around in the store windows (the Canadian pair team involved in the ’02 pair scandal in Salt Lake.) Awww, they’re so adorable. Jamie was plastering herself against the window and David was standing still mixing himself in with the model dummies. The people watching were clapping and awww’ing – you can tell Jamie and David are two very treasured people in Canada.

I ended up heading into work yesterday around 4 and my very first order of business. Write down the directions to the starbucks.

The IBC (international broadcast center) is HUGE. It almost feels bigger than the one in Beijing and that one felt like 14 football fields. I must have walked around the IBC for a good 25 minutes before finally finding the NBC area. Which – takes up about a third of one of the floors so the fact that I couldn’t find it shows how big it is (or my terrible sense of direction, but let’s go with the “IBC is big!” theory.)

As I was driving in, I was commenting to our driver that in Beijing, you could tell that they had basically bulldozed half the city in order to re-build it for the games. But driving into Vancouver, you can tell right away that they built around what they already had in order to make room for the games. I like that. I feel like we’re seeing the real Vancouver which is a huge relief after Beijing which was just one giant show.

And the real Vancouver is gorgeous! Can’t wait to explore the city more. I went for a run before the sunrise this morning and I found a path that runs along the water. Tons of runners and bikers out – I have a feeling I’ll be hitting that path quite frequently in the next three weeks. As I was running back, the sun was starting to come up over the mountains and oh wow…. I love the mountains, I love the water, I love the Olympics. All three in one place? I had to stop for a minute and just take it in.

No comments: