FREE OLYMPICS – DAY 17

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GOOOOLD!!!!!  What a finish to these Olympic Games! Canada wins its 14th gold — a Winter Olympics record — on home soil, on the last competition of the last day, doing what it does best: hockey.

Watching the game from my high-rise apartment, a Canadian goal would generate a spontaneous roar from the whole neighborhood, many people going on their balconies shouting in joy and blowing those air horns as loudly as possible. It was a tight game, but Canada got the edge, Sidney Crosby clinching the game winner in OT.

I went out in a hurry shortly after the medal ceremony to catch the expected festivities in the core of Downtown Vancouver. It was incredible seeing so many Canadian flags hovering proudly over the dense, festive crowd. I don’t think Vancouver has ever been this happy! If only this were “Groundhog Day“… :)

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FREE OLYMPICS – DAY 6

Day 5 was a day of household chores for me, so I apparently missed out on some good street hockey fun on Granville St. yesterday. Tonight though, day 6, I was in the thick of the action. :D

I gave up trying to go to the Heineken House at Richmond’s O Zone after hearing that it was next to impossible to get in once again from a friend’s friend. Some colleagues and I decided instead to hang around Science World and the Downtown core for the evening.

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The Russia House at Science World was already closed by 5pm, but there was this interesting structure close by

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Inside the Saskatchewan “bubble” (?). At night they project a 360 degree video of all things Saskatchewan. Cool effect!

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I don’t know his name, but this artist put on a great show inside the Saskatchewan House — great guitar player!

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The roofless Quebec House. lol  It was too early (before 6:30pm) for the party to be under way there.

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Robson Square had some performances going on during the evening

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The Vancouver Party Patrol 2010 guys brought music around 10pm and it didn’t take long for people to join in the fun on Granville St. I don’t do the clubbing scene, but seeing people dancing and having a great time was a blast! The Irish House had a $20 cover charge, but this was probably more fun and all free! :D

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I got lucky with this cool “ghostly” shot (1/3 second exposure, with the subject jumping in the air for her pose)

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At 11pm, the nightly fireworks and laser show at Robson Square were on

FREE OLYMPICS – DAY 2

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The Italy House, located at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre. Nothing much to do unfortunately. But I liked these funky chairs and some ski equipment that were on display. I doubt it was free, but there was a section for wine tasting too.

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4:30pm, the Netherlands’ famous Heineken House was already full. Lots of disappointed people had to be turned away to look for other things to do instead. And I just heard on CTV News that in the evening you needed your Dutch passport to get in! :s It will be difficult to get in what some call the biggest party place of the Games (4,000 people capacity). Oh and one word of advice: if the weather is so-so, bring an umbrella with a flat top with you. My huge, pointy umbrella had to be put aside as I entered the O Zone. Luckily, the rain held off while I was there.

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Watching the Olympics at the CTV booth on Robson St., cheering freestyle mogul skier Jennifer Heil on. She won a silver medal. :)

The overwhelming trend of the day is that the fun free things to do require you to stand in line for a long time and if there are no lineups, expect a boring experience. :s

GRANVILLE ISLAND

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Taiko drummers

Granville Island is a great place to “chill”…  [More on this great attraction at a later time…].

 

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The playground area offers lots of fun for kids

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I call this area of Granville Island “Mini-Venice”… Cool — but surely expensive — place!

Directions:

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2008 JAZZ FEST – RUMBA CALZADA

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Left to right: unknown guest; Rolando Preza; Raphael Geronimo

The party was already on as I joined a crowd of ecstatic concert-goers, halfway through Rumba Calzada’s set.  The Latino beats and grooves had many people dancing and cheering at the Maple Tree Square in Gastown.  I was amazed to see how band leader Raphael Geronimo was able to send the groove into hyperspace with his small percussion set.  The solid rythm section was quite enjoyable to watch and hear too.

It’s too bad I didn’t have time to write this article earlier for you guys, as the band was set to play another free show at the CBC Studio One Jazz stage on Tuesday (yesterday).  I’m sure many people took note of it when the band announced this other gig of theirs. :)  Let’s hope they come to your neighbourhood soon! ;)

 

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Raphael Geronimo  (multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Apivor in the background)

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Miguel Valdez and Rod Murray

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Let’s dance!

Rumba Calzada’s Official Website