Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Touchdown At Vancouver

After years of work and planning, and months of anticipation, I woke up this morning jazzed about the "travel day" notation in my work calendar.

Two flights and two taxi rides later, tonight it is great fun to write from Vancouver, the Olympic City, from the 14th floor of a downtown high rise hotel, a.k.a. "home" at the Olympics for the next three weeks (Edelman, the P.R. firm where I work, has an apartment arranged for the three weeks following this hotel arrangement -- looking forward to living without a car for several consecutive weeks).

Flying into Vancouver for the third time in as many years, this evening marked my first night-time arrival to Canada, and it was cool to disembark from United Airlines Flight 97 to enter the newly-decked-out YVR airport, with colorful "Look of the Games" banners, billboards and other decor on just about every surface.

For those arriving at Vancouver via air, you may anticipate a short green walk (most of the carpet is forest green) to an enormous First Nations carving and gorgeous fountain that surrounds the escalators to Passport Control. Luggage retrieval is a breeze, and just outside the baggage claim area I was happy to complete my first Olympic pin trade of 2010 with two friendly Information Kiosk volunteer workers (look for them, donning lime green jackets, under the big "?" question mark sign before grabbing a taxi or the train into the city).

If you deplane hungry at Vancouver International Airport, from the arrivals area head upstairs to the food court (excellent selection of Asian cuisine) and one of the Olympic Stores operates across the atrium from an enormous emerald-colored First National sculpture that is reminiscent of George Washington Crossing the Delaware.
Heading to this area is worth the trip also for a peek at the giant touch-screen Samsung "official phones of the Vancouver Olympics" with what appeared to be plasma touch screens with real working (and over sized) phone apps for fun (I watched some kids send a text message "Brian You Suck" handwritten on screen - LOL).

I was pleased the taxi ride to downtown was only $28 (last time I found the new city train to be fantastic and easy, but tonight there were too many bags to brave the rails). It was cool and memorable to cross the waterfront via Granville Street Bridge (is that what it's called?) and find all the city's neon lights fired up, much like the gargantuan million-dollar Olympic Rings lighting up the airport road (tonight in all-blue, but according to the cabbie, they change colors daily) -- it's going to be a remarkable Olympiad here!

The buzz so far regarding the Games (including feedback from the airport volunteers to the cab driver, hotel staff and Yaletown neighborhood grocery clerk) is that the weather is of concern as it's been a bit warmer than a typical January for the last several days (tonight typing this post I have my balcony doors open as it feels like it's about 65 degrees Fahrenheit outside -- gorgeous!).

The local TV weather reporters predict continued rain this week, and sustained warmth (hallelujah!), which leads me to the following weather prediction (you read it here first): It will snow in downtown Vancouver on Feb. 12 just in time for Opening Ceremonies!

1 comment:

olmofamily said...

Nick...I am so excited for you!!I am looking forward to your first hand accounts of the Olympics...lots of love-Meg

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