Wednesday, March 3, 2010
We Are The World - Vancouver by Foot
There are some terrific walking cities in this world; Vancouver is one of them. During our stay, we logged between six and 10 miles daily. Yes, we could have taken advantage of the excellent and free transportation that was offered to Olympic fans during the 17 days of the Games, but that would have left us without a good sense of the city - and without some of the best experiences we had during our stay.
If you watched the USA vs Canada hockey game, and the TV coverage that showed Robson Square and the streets outside of the Olympic hockey venue, you understand that virtually all of Vancouver looked like Times Square on New Year's Eve. Navigating the pavement filled with a world of cultures, all of whom have different sidewalk etiquette, at times made for a gigantic came of "Twister." But no matter where we went; no matter how many people were walking our way, or making their next move at the spin of the arrow on a street corner; when the light turned red and the movement stopped, people talked to one another. It was amazing.
"Hi! Where are you from?" "Have you ever been to Olympics before?" "Are you enjoying yourselves?" "Have you seen...?"(This would be followed by a laundry list of attractions and events set by organizers to keep the throngs entertained.)
We met people from Saudi Arabia, China, Netherlands, France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark. We talked to others who were having their first Olympic experience in Vancouver, and many who were veterans of many games. Yes, we would have met people on the bus and light rail. You couldn't help but having a true "up close and personal" experience on public transportation. But these mental snapshots of culture while touring Vancouver by foot were some of the best and most treasured memories we brought back.