I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I picked up Guy and another bus driver I haven't met, Michel (pronounced Michelle) at their hotel just at the other end of Walnut Grove, Langley from me. We drive to the SkyTrain and park at the mall. We park in the parkade and pay for 9 hours - $22!!! At least I won't get a ticket this time. Last time I went downtown, with Olga, I came back to a ticket for $59 on my windshield. I had no idea a mall had time limited parking.

We walk around the waterfront and go to Quebec House. What a waste of time. The guys were so looking forward to it and then all it held was a stage and a cafeteria. Quebec is whining about not having enough representation of their French language and heritage at the games and then do nothing with their house. Do they want everything done for them? The guys are so disappointed and I don't blame them.

Guy and Michel

We walk around the seawall and get some good photos of the Athletes Village and False Creek. The shore down to the water is very rocky and people have built dozens of Inukshuks with the rocks. It looks great. Near the Edgewater Casino there's dozens of tents set up with a market inside. Most of the goods look cheap and we pass them by but we find a row of stalls selling ethnic foods. It smells divine and we stop to buy some samosas.

There are long lineups for everything that's any good to see. We walk up to the downtown stage for Live Nation where Christopher, my son, is doing sound every day from 8am to 1am. The lineup to get in is 45 minutes long. The guys don't want to wait. We walk to the back entrance and try to use our accreditation and the fact that my son works inside to get in that way but we don't succeed.

Olga calls to say she is arriving at the Stadium station which is right close by so we wait for her and scan the huge crowds everywhere until I finally spot her. We walk to the Bay so that the guys can buy souvenirs but the lineup there snakes around the block. We give up on that idea and walk down to the Sears tower and take the glass elevator up on the outside of the building to the observation deck. It's a gorgeous day and so have clear views to Mount Baker in the south-east and Vancouver Island in the west. The north-shore mountains are sharply outlined against a blue sky, and the ones in the distance with snow look spectacular. We can see the Olympic rings in Coal Harbour. The guys love it. When we come down in the elevator, there are two athletes with us from the Czec team. I don't know who they are though.

We head into Gastown so they can see the steam clock and here they buy their souvenirs. We walk down to the very end where the statue of Gassy Jack and the flat-iron building is. They take lots of photos all along the way. My knee and feet hurt and it reminds me of walking all over London with Ashleigh. Five days into that and I was barely able to walk.

We walk (I sort of limp) down to the Olympic Torch at the foot of Thurlow. It's a shame how it's all fenced off. People are really upset about it and there is a petition on line to 'free the torch'. We take lots of photos and, thankfully, whoever put the fence up thought to leave a space where you can take pictures without chain-link obscuring the view.

We hop onto the crowded SkyTrain and get off at Granville so that Olga can try again at the Bay and then go home. She is exhausted because she worked today so has been up since 2am. The guys and I continue on to Yale Town and stop for dinner at The Hamilton Street Grill. I order the wild salmon and when it comes, it's raw in the middle so they take it back and bring a new one that is cooked all the way through. When we are done eating, they bring us a huge dessert - gingerbread pudding with caramel sauce and home made ice-cream - one scoop of pumpkin and one of ginger. It's an apology for my meal being raw. It's divine and, although I was full to bursting after the salmon, I manage to eat several spoonfuls. While we are eating dinner, the TV screens show Maelle Ricker receiving her gold medal for Snowboard Cross. The whole restaurant bursts into cheering and applause. So great.

The sea of red clad people with their Canada scarves and touques is so exciting to see and gives me such a charge of patriotism. There's also a lot of white cowboy stetsons about and they look fabulous. People burst into spontanious cheers for Canada constantly. We also see a lot of people in outfits for various other countries. A few times I am sure we are in the presence of athletes by how they are dressed and the people they are with, not to mention how fit they are but I can never be a hundred percent certain because I just don't know them anymore. I used to know almost everyone competing. That was when I was at home all day with little kids so could watch all the events. Not now.

The guys have to be up early to drive their buses to Whistler so we head to the SkyTrain right after dinner; it's about 8pm. I am worried it will be crammed like it was when we rode it from the waterfront earlier, but I needn't have bothered... it's almost empty and we all get seats.

When I get home I discover I have walked a hole in my new socks and have a big blister on my left sole at the heel. Well worth it!
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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