Olympic Gung Hai Fat Choi

Yesterday’s Olympic events were slightly marred by an anti-Olympic protest which turned violent, leading to quite a few metal newspaper boxes being thrown through large plate glass windows in businesses downtown. So much for the vaunted one billion dollars spent on Games security … I’m all for free speech and public protest, but not for an uncontrolled angry flash mob throwing things – where were the security personnel?

From the looks of things, people had been running down the street and just heaving metal boxes at will.

Our walking route through downtown took us to the Four Nations Host Pavillion at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza, the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where we discovered that the large cedar enclosure that we’d seen being erected earlier was going to be home to a First Nations carver of totem poles for the duration of the Games, and the area south of the Gallery between it and the Court House where a zip line has been installed so people can fly across Robson Square. We heard later that the lineup to try it was six hours long. After a little photo session on the medal podium, purchase of a pair of sale winter boots at Aldo, and a stop at the newly-refurbished Corner Pub to watch the ski-jumping, we were back at the ranch to catch the Dutch skater Kramer capture gold in the first men’s speed skating event, the 5,000 meters.

Later, we made our way through the downtown crowds, onto the Skytrain to Waterfront, onto a Main Street bus, and in the door at the Floata Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown, Canada’s largest Chinese Restaurant, for a formal 12 course sit down Chinese New Year dinner. Served at tables of ten, the food was excellent: BBQ’d meat, whole crab, tiger prawns, whole white fish, mushrooms and greens … and finished with a bright orange mango pudding. We enjoyed the food, and the company of some of our table-mates, but the evening was a bit spoiled as time passed by one couple, who arrived inebriated (after having spent the whole day drinking beer in the German pavillion), and proceeded to get drunker and more obnoxious as the evening drew on, filling up their glasses from bottles they’d snuck in inside their clothes. The man, in particular, was a real prize, grabbing food indiscriminately with whatever he had to hand, including his hands, spilling it and wine all over the table and the man next to him, and sinking lower and lower in his chair. Seeing that things were going downhill fast, Ty and I took the opportunity to slip out at a quiet moment. After a train trip back to Yaletown, we watched the crowd for a bit from the vantage point of Starbucks patio.

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