I admit it. I was wrong.
I was cynical, and flip and smug and negative. And I was so, so wrong. I have thus been absent in a beer-clouded haze of wandering and cheering and high-fiving perfect strangers. This in of itself shows the extent of the celebrations that took place during the Olympics, as I personally equate the high-five somewhere up there with university beer-bongs and riding mechanical bulls in redneck bars; I tend to avoid it more due to public humiliation as I always either grossly over or underestimate the distance of hands and inevitably it turns into an awkward half-arm-slap where both parties are forced to pretend that it never happened.
So yes – over the course of 2 weeks I had possibly the most fun of my life. I started waking up at 5:30 a.m. to avoid the commuting congestion, and in the process laughed more than I have in ages. I witnessed more incredible sunrises than I have ever seen before.
I made amazing new friends, watched the sky light up with a million fireworks and bright art installations, and the twinkle of lights on the mountains. There was live music on every corner, street entertainers and massive t.v. screens all over the place so thousands of people could stop their meandering and join into impromptu renditions of “Oh Canada” when we took yet another gold. I cried on several occasions, out of tragedy and pride for our athletes. The patriotism that filled this little city was overwhelming. It was thick in the air and everyone was just on their best behavior – helpful and friendly and ecstatic and wonderfully amazing.
I watched undoubtedly the most exciting hockey game in the history of hockey games (or rather in the history of *my* hockey games as I’m fairly new to it in the past few years). I ate no less then 284 pieces of pizza and consumed 681 pints of beer* (*numbers are approximate due to my inability to count when tipsy). On the last day, when Canada scored that unbelievable goal in overtime to win gold and the yell of an entire nation went off simultaneously we were so overjoyed that we dropped our aversion to the giant crowds and headed downtown. We bought Strongbow tallcans which we sneakily placed in paper bags and walked over the Granville Street Bridge. The people so thick, it was like nothing I have ever witnessed. Laughing and dancing on bus shelters and rooftops of hostels, celebrating in the streets, hugging policemen and the aforementioned high-fiving happening EVERYWHERE. Top that off with a sunset on the beach, more Strongbow, delicious burgers, and still more beer, and it was arguably the best party Vancouver ever witnessed. Suck on that, you “No Fun City” naysayers.
The snow didn’t really make much of an appearance (until today, mid-March once everyone has planted their flowers), but we made due as best as possible. We wooed the media and travelers from all over the world with our gorgeous views and million cherry blossoms and huge magnolias on every street corner, already in bloom. Yes, we will undoubtedly be paying for this party for a long, long time – but the collective well-being, and the unbelievable ability to stir up excitement in Canadians who are often known for their indifference, it was worth every penny. You did good Vancouver, and proved us all wrong in the end – we are more proud than you will ever know.