An Expat’s Guide to the Vancouver Olympics

ourfuture.org, February 12, 2010

Olympic_Flame_of_Vancouver_2010_Olympics_(night)

 

Hello, world. We’ve been expecting you. It’s good to see you here, milling around Robson Street in your uniforms and badges, whooshing here and there in what must be a million Official Olympic GM-donated cars, making guesses as to where in town they’ve hidden the fire tower for the Olympic Torch (it’s still a big secret, but the local news station thinks they may have found it last night), and generally making it impossible for locals to get a restaurant reservation or cross a bridge. Still, we’ve got you to thank for the new convention center and Seabus ferry, the Canada Line subway that finally(!!) directly connects the airport to downtown, and that shiny new four-lane freeway that’s taken half an hour off what used to be a treacherous winding trip two-lane up to Whistler.

So, y’no, thanks.

I got here a little ahead of you — six years ahead, in fact, as a native California transplant who was looking for something a bit more like freedom back in 2003. This city has been preparing for this week almost exactly as long as I’ve been here. And I arrived already knowing what Vancouver was in for, because this isn’t my first Games. I’m an Olympics veteran who did her time as a full-time paid staff writer for the Los Angeles Summer Olympics back in 1984. So the energy gathering around town right now is very familiar, mostly in a sweet, good way.
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