“You can see a lot just by observing.”
It wouldn't be a bona fide sporting event if I didn't quote Yogi Berra at least once.
I don't know if I should attribute it to my military counter terrorism training, an intense paranoia or my inability to color within the lines, but I like to mix up my daily routine as much as possible. Since I've been here I've been trying to take a different way to work everyday. That way I get to see something new. New streets, new shopfront windows and new panhandlers. The ones that I see outside my hotel are starting to get sick of me, and vice versa.
Adding to my growing list of why the iPod is the greatest invention ever made, I can walk by panhandlers and when they start talking I just point to my ears and act like these little white earphones have been surgically implanted and can't be removed without the help of a medical professional, or Steve Jobs.
Anyway, this is my sixth full day in Vancouver and I think I've taken five different paths from my hotel to the main media center, oops. Partly because of a bad sense of direction and partly because of earlier stated character quirks.
It's actually worked out quite well. Vancouver is a fantastic, vibrant city, especially during these Olympic Games, and I heard a rumor that someday soon it might actually stop raining. When that happens I can only imagine the spectacular panoramic views being masked by the clouds and fog.
One of the pitfalls that comes with covering just one sport at the Olympics is you find yourself taking the same route and following the same routine for the entire 17 days. For me life normally consists of a daily path from the hotel to the media centre to the rink back to the media centre and back to the hotel. If there's a bar or burger joint located along the way, all the better. Then one day you stray off the path by a block or two, find yourself staring at the most beautiful building or amazing sight ever created and wonder, "Wow, when did they put that here?"
Anyway, today I tried a new route, turning right out of my hotel on Alberni Street, turned left on to Thurlow Street and straight down the hill. I ended up running smack dab into the Olympic flame, which happens to be burning bright down on Canada Place.
It was pretty cool to see it up close, despite the chain link fence, glowing in the predawn darkness in all of its Olympic glory. No matter how many times I see it, it still gives me a chill and really drives home the point that I am in fact at the Olympics. I can only imagine how locals feel. Ten years in the making and the Olympics are finally here. Just make sure you stay behind the fence.
To get any closer you have to pass through the International Broadcast Centre, but to do that you'd need special permission from God, or Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports.
That figures. Those damn broadcasters get all the perks.