So the Olympics have been a bit exhausting, but definitely worth the trip to Van. Last night we ended up going to a skid kind of beer hall place with hundreds of rowdy fans, and 6 of us sharing 3 stools and a small table. We watched Woman's curling and saw Canada beat Slovak. We cheered with everyone else as we drank our cheap beers and ate fries and gravy. 'The Cambie' was over a hundred years old, and a easy going, rip roaring time. Fast forward to 10:30pm. My sister has arrived from the airport and gets to have just one beer. Her husband and his friends are now no longer welcome to order drinks from the bar, as they've gotten rather sloppy drinking there since two p.m. We leave and his friend, whose house we will stay at, suggests we walk by the crowds to get the feel of the Olympic spirit.
Things degenerate. A desperately sober sister, and a rapidly sobering me doggedly fight our way through the throngs as the boys keep getting separated and slowing our progress down as they need to be found and herded together again. The journey reaches a climax when at the top of the parking garage where all the boys pee freely, I pause to consider doing the same. Before I can act, 4 cops round the corner and one of them wants to give me a $250 dollar fine for public urination. I have to endure his unjust accusation with a full bladder. To make matters much worse, brother in law's friend decides to give the cops a 'lecture series' and starts shouting, pointing his finger and even swearing. My sister and I back away and can't believe that he didn't get arrested. We all march on - the guys now have their suitcases - and battle through about 5 more blocks congested with people standing cheek to jowl. It takes us quite a while to find an open Starbucks and longer to wait in line. But at last I have my turn to pee.
Fast forward again, no cabs in this city, so we magically get on a bus that doesn't charge us, and after a LONG, sometimes sullen and sometimes hysterical ride, and a brief hike across a golf course and over a fence, we get to his home. As God is my witness, It took us about 3 hours to get home from the bar. And I was literally ready to beat the face off of our host.
Today was MUCH better! My wife lovingly reminded me that I could eat until 10:00pm and still be on track with my Lent vows (because it would only be 7pm in Toronto). I took full advantage.
We are staying very centrally tonight with our cousin in Yaletown in her lovely condo. So grateful. A dear old pal treated me to VIP tickets to the Hockey House where we lounged in ridiculous comfort and luxury, watched the bronze medal game, ate ourselves silly, drank for free, watched the Gold Medal curling, and saw Colin James perform (I even got a photo with one of the curlers!). Mark Messier was there tonight too and my wife texted me that I should try and make a baby with him. It was a clever suggestion for how I could get a nice souvenir of the Olympics without having to buy anything new, but I opted instead to battle it out in an ice-skate-lacing contest, and won a scarf. I was so delighted to earn some Olympic swag that I didn't have to purchase. I am always working the grey area and loop holes of my ground rules, aren't I? With my Olympic mitts from that nice gal from the Compactor's Club, my twin knitting me a red homemade pair, and my newly won scarf, I am all set.
It is great to be spending money on 'experiences', like this trip, and interestingly, since I'm not buying stuff (and I've lucked into some free tix) I've actually spent very little at the Olympics, which is a bit of a refreshing surprise.
Tomorrow, we may go out to the flame, and otherwise, we are holing up to watch the hockey game/closing ceremony with my cousin's homemade chilli, and we can see the streets of Vancouver pulse with revellers through the windows on 3 sides of her condo, but not have to fight our way through them. I'm saying that now. Who knows, I may be out on the street dancing with strangers if we win that hockey game.
p.s.: I miss my wife.