It is finally here. I am watching the opening ceremonies as I write. While I certainly appreciate the young lady who sang so well the national anthem, I barely recognized it. It was the wrong tempo and well, quite frankly, I was a little disappointed when extra bars and other wierd stuff was added.
What a day today. It was like we were invaded. I have never seen so many people in our city before. I got off the bus for work at about 8:30am and the streets were crowed already. The torch was on its way. It was a little bit early but I waited like everyone else who were pouring out of the offices around me. There was quite a procession starting with 2 buses for volunteers, then a van carrying the runners for the day and then 2 coke trucks blasting music and dancers who whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Considering it was a work morning in the heart of the financial district in front of two Starbucks, the amount of spilled coffee was minimal. The coke trucks were followed by the RCMP in cars and then 4 mounted police. Finally, the van carrying the flame was followed by the torch runner. I was unable to get a picture of the runner due to protecting my own Starbucks cup.
By noon, I was hearing a lot of noise from the street 29 floors below me. I looked out to see someone on a trampoline doing some tricks for an excited crowd. I also noticed a crowd starting to line the streets up Georgia and Howe street and in front of the First Nations pavillion (its the space ship in the picture) by the Library. The torch had made its final run around the city and was on its way back to the downtown base for the final leg prior to the opening ceremonies. I have inserted the picture from my window of what it looked like about 20 minutes before the torch arrived. Quite a crowd gatthered. The fella on the trampoline lost momentum and gave up after awhile.
I wrapped up early in the hopes of catching my bus to Granville Island a little early to pick up some dinner before heading home for the night and getting off the street. However, as I made my way towards my bus I was confronted by a mob. I had forgotten about the demonstration that was to take place at the Art Gallery. Well, it spilled over onto the street and broke through the police barricade to march up Georgia street. While it appeared some wore their goggles and their special vinegar covered bandanas, a lot seemed to have forgotten. Too bad for one fella because he got poked in the eyeball by a flag someone was waving. I sort of felt sorry for him. Hard to be a badass protester with tears running down your face because you got poked in the eye by a 5 year old waving a flag. It was a disappointing protest. They couldn't seem to make up their mind as to what to protest so they protested everything. It was a bit of a mess and kind of embarrasing for me as a Canadian to discover that a number of our protesters couldn't even spell. Some of the signage was just plain sad. For the world press who showed up, it didn't bode well for our school system. Perhaps I misunderstood and they were protesting poor teaching.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow - 1st day of competion. Go Canada Go!