If you missed the 2010 Vancouver Opening Ceremonies last night, I’m here to give you my version… from the Canadian Embassy!
Jonathan, Sarah, Chris and I got off the metro at Judiciary Square, turned the corner and dropped our jaws when we saw the party waiting for us. We checked in and they gave us our wristbands and Canadian mittens.
The outside set-up was incredible. Heated lamps were spread around the tent area where everyone was watching a giant TV that had an unbelievable ice sculpture of a hockey player next to it. Long lines were already forming at the food and drink stations so we decided to check-out the inside.
The first room we came to had a cheese table smörgåsbord in the center and different wii Olympic Games stations. From the ceiling hung beautiful snowflake mobiles. We attacked the cheeses and made our way down a hall of jerseys, movie posters, and other memorabilia. In the far back room we found the “real food” line and bar. We were able to find seating with a view of the large flat screen TV. I was impressed with the food: delicious sliders, more fruit and cheese, chocolate cake bites, and three different kinds of ravioli – shrimp, lobster, and mushroom.
As we sat and ate, waiting on the ceremonies to begin, we began chatting with a couple sitting next to us. Come to find out they are the owners of “Good Stuff Eatery” and the parents of ‘Top Chef’s’ Spike Mendelsohn. Cathy and Harvey were super nice and we talked about their new store soon to open, “We, the Pizza.” I’m looking forward to trying their turkey meatball sub and the other dishes Cathy told me about.
The ceremony opened with snowboarder, Johnny Lyall, jumping through the Olympics rings. Sixteen year old Nikki Yanofsky sang the national anthem, “Oh, Canada.” After various introductions four totem poles raised in the center of the stadium, representing the original aboriginal tribes of Canada. We debated as to whether or not they could be considered ‘Native Americans’ or if they were ‘Native Canadians.’ The result was that since Canada is part of North America, they were still ‘Native Americans.’
After some traditional dancing in very intricate costumes, the Parade of Nations began. This started a guessing game at our table of how many people were on Team USA. Needless to say we were very proud that the US had the most team members – 216! We commented on the various uniforms, noting the colorful pants of Azerbaijan, and Cathy of course said they’d make great chef’s pants. As the Canadian team walked last, we were excited to see that they were wearing the same mittens given to us as we entered the embassy.
Once the parade was over, Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams sang, and we started chatting with the people around us. One highly intoxicated lady thought that Joe Biden’s wife’s name was Cindy. She was shocked when we informed her that her name was in fact Jill, and Cindy is McCain’s wife. As usual I picked up two attractive men, who were attracted to each other. They were a lot of fun and I regret that we did not exchange contact info, especially because one of them works on the Hill for Texas Rep. Gene Green. While we were all chatting there was some crazy song and dance going on in Vancouver. Unfortunately we couldn’t hear the TV, so we created our own commentary. I decided that the spirit bear was like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on steroids. My new friends and I were excited about the Joni Mitchell song – who knew she was Canadian? – but thought that the choreography for that section was a little trippy.
It was about this time that they started closing down the inside rooms and we were ushered back outside, where we proceeded with a photo shoot.
Unfortunately the metro closed at midnight and we had to leave right after the Canadian opera singer performed the Olympic Hymn. As we left Chris said, “Watch. This is going to be the best cauldron lighting in Olympic history.” Well from what I read, it wasn’t the best, but there were some technical difficulties and I’m disappointed that I missed what had to be an internationally awkward moment. All in all it was a great night, and a fabulous event with good friends, both old and new, eh?