Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Fever

The Olympics finally arrived and everyone seemed to catch the bug... well almost. I can't say that I have the bug. I tried really hard. I watched part of the opening ceremony. What on earth was that whole thing with Saskatchewan about? I loved Ashley McIsacc and the rap poetry was also great.(can't remember his name) It still didn't get me going much, but I had heard that they had some great weird  art work on Granville street and I wanted to take some pictures of the flame just to say that I had actually seen it even though I actually walk past it on the way to my office. So Fred and I climbed on the sky train and went  down to where all the hoopla was happening. I got a picture of the flame without standing in the at least hour long line that the tourists were in ... what on earth for people? As you can see it is a fire coming out of metal pipes. Not 
earth shattering! 
From there we fought our way through crowds to go about one block to see the Kla-howya aboriginal welcome village in the lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel. It would turn out to be one of the few places that was not lined up. 
I had great fun watching the tourists get their picture taken with real live natives!!! 
From there we made our way through the crowds to Granville street where I had hoped to see the Royal Canadian Mint that I had heard was very good. It was supposed to have a huge gold bar that was chained to the floor that they were letting people pick up. However, the line up there was at least two hours. 

So we decided to carry on up Granville and see the weird art?! But first  we came to  the  street entertainers. Some them were doing magic shows and some were dancing, but  this guy was trying to beat his partner in getting out of a  straight jacket... somehow I found this quite appropriate and hilarious! Okay I never said I was normal. 
The street art was very strange. I love art and consider a lot of things art, but some of these escaped me. Like this one that looked like a large piece of aluminum foil scrunched up. It was entitled Artificial Rock - Huh!
We carried on wandering with the crowds and taking in the excitement of the people.  What interested me the most were some of the locals that dragged themselves out for this event. If there were no flakes on Whistler it was only because they were all in the city trying to cash in on the tourists. Like these guys -
They look innocent enough. I thought they were protesting something and handing out leaflets so I stopped to ask them what is was about. Apparently these enterprising scam artists decided to print up, on half sheets of letter size paper, a list of the best places to go to in Vancouver and sell it to the tourists for two dollars a pop! Come on guys... do you really think that is what VANOC meant when they ordered us to be friendly to the tourists for two weeks? Then of course there are the religious folks who come out at every large event to try and make sure that they can score brownie points by trying to save the world , one crowd at a time, with printed pamphlets of why they are right and any one who thinks differently than them is wrong. And of course any where there are tickets and money involved the scalpers were out in force!  Three and four on a street corner wearing signs asking to buy tickets from people.
Finally we worked our way towards Robson square and I got a picture of the one event that I would loved to have tried. Zip Trekking! A company has put a zip line across part of the city and are offering free rides! I was in awe. If my back were not so bad I would have waited in line for hours to try this. Unfortunately all I could do was watch and photograph. I just loved this picture if you take a really close look she has her purse attached to the line as well. No lady should leave the ground with out it!

So ended my Olympic foray and I doubt I will do much more of it while it is in town. I have enjoyed watching the kids all excited and dressed up in Canada colors. However this little one was dressed as the Olympic mascot Quatchi and you just can't help but say Awwwww

Monday, February 08, 2010

Saturday Morning

Well... after my last two posts I thought it was time to post something nice to look at. Lucy has met a new friend. Her name is Calli and she and her guardian meet us on Saturday morning for a two hour trek around the lake. Lucy and Calli have a ball while Brenda and I chat. Of course I also have to be snapping pictures.

This past weekend while the east coast shivered under  mounds of snow we basked in beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures.  The mountains in these pictures have about half as much snow as usual  for this time of year, but they look like sparkling gems in the early morning sunlight.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Olympics - Party On

The previous post was to give you and idea of the kind of media we have been experiencing in the lead up to the 2010 Olympics. Little wonder that most people are not exactly rejoicing over the soon to be Olympics. What is a wonder is that VANOC and our government can't understand why most of us are not really looking forward to hosting them. 

VANOC has;
Closed our streets
Changed bus routes
Told us to expect 2 hour waits at sky train stations just to get to work and back.
Put in 900 cameras all over the city that we are not sure are going to be gone after the games.
Told volunteers that they have to tape over any logos on their shoes or clothing before coming to work for them for free. 
Closed schools for the period of the games
Filled the streets with military and police
 Closed the sea to sky highway to anyone without a pass even if you live there. No pass no go.
They have sued everyone and anyone who dares even appear to be using their name, the year, or the circles to obtain money even when the name is part of a family business that has been around almost as long as the first olympics!!
They have told us to welcome the world and help tourists etc. while they demand that the Australian team take down their mascot flag from their accommodations.  Why? because VANOC deemed it too commercial.
Forced businesses to close down for two weeks and their employees are unemployed with no way to pay their rent or bills.
Insisted on breaking our laws by having smoking pits for the "Olympic family" at the games venues. 
      It seems that when a city "wins??" the Olympic bid they give up all their rights to VANOC. Worse through out most of the last few years we have heard little about the athletes of whom this is supposed to be about. And even less about sportsmanship or good will. It has been primarily about greed. About contracts for buildings and roads. Who gets them and who doesn't.  About people desperate for affordable places to live while landlords evict tenants so they can rent the buildings for inflated prices to tourists. It's about where they can hide the homeless and mentally ill so the tourist won't see and if they do how can we put a positive spin on all of this. 

        Don't get me wrong I think that the Olympics could be a good thing were it not that there are so many bad things happening to people in my province. We have the lowest minimum wage in the country while we have the highest rate of child poverty. We have  workers who are having their contracts rolled back, teachers laid off and hospital surgeries canceled. while watching our government pour billions into this two week party.

        They keep telling us how this will benefit us all in the end, but all that most people can see is more lay offs, higher taxes and no jobs.

        When I think about all the ways we have been bullied as a citizenry in the last year to accommodate the Olympics and how our city seems taken over by a group of people that most of us will never even see I have to ask myself why we put up with this? Why do people allow themselves to be pushed around by this for the sake of a very small part of the population? What exactly does this teach our children?

        Saturday, February 06, 2010

        Oh Boy The Olympics are Coming!!!





        "800 TEACHERS RECEIVE POSSIBLE LAY OFF NOTICES AFTER DEFICIT FORECAST" (think this one doesn't fit read the one above)



        All levels of government have had to come to the financial rescue of the 2010 Winter Olympics, leaving you on the hook for the tab."



        industry gears up
        Vancouver escort agencies and strip clubs report huge surge in demand a head of Olympics; bishop warns of human trafficking threat

        Sex trade workers across the country converge on Vancouver

        Scalping by volunteers, performers criticized in online forums

         Well, I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait for the five ring circus to begin.