The trip was a pretty last minute idea. I'd been watching bits and pieces of the Olympics and wishing I'd made plans to go up, but I figured that since all of the hotels were completely booked (and I'm too poor to afford a hotel stay anyway), I'd missed the boat. But then it occurred to me: given Seattle's close proximity to Canada, I could totally make a day trip of it!
So I e-mailed a few friends and we all dragged our butts out of bed at dawn to get on the road by 6:30 (note the sunrise in the foreground of the picture below).
After a pit-stop at McDonalds (where they no longer serve southern style chicken biscuits apparently!! RACISTS!) we crossed the border and landed in the 'couve by 9:30.
For those of you who weren't following the Olympics this year, you should know that Sunday was the day of the USA vs. Canada gold medal hockey game. And since hockey is pretty much Canada's national sport, people were already lined up outside of every bar in town, staking out a spot to watch the game. We picked a line on Granville street (the major nightlife thoroughfare) and hoped for the best.
At around 11, the bouncer at the Olympia Bar and Grill (how suitable, eh?) started letting people through his velvet rope. Unfortunately, we were not in the chosen few and were stuck standing wistfully at the patio railing.
Which brings me to the most ridiculous/amazing moment of the whole trip. On the drive in, while blaring some Party in the USA, we'd made a nice little sign to hold in the window...
My friend Antoinette had pinned the sign to her bag and was showing it off/using it to heckle a table of Canadians (all in good fun, of course..) when all of a sudden a (very attractive) Canadian man runs out of the bar, steals the sign, runs back into the haven of the bar patio (where we are not allowed to follow) and proceeds to LIGHT OUR SIGN ON FIRE.
In the meantime, someone (wink wink) was busy smooth talking the bouncer, and managed to score us three coveted seats in the patio. So the five of us rotated in and out of the bar for the duration of the game, taking turns drinking beer and avoiding fire code violations.
I'll be honest and say that I've never been much of a hockey fan. But the game and the spirit that surrounded it were both pretty amazing. And when the U.S. scored that second goal with 25 seconds left on the clock, my heart was racing (though that could be because of the fact that I was starting to imagine myself being ripped limb from limb by a mob of bloodthirsty Canadians). When Canada won, the whole city erupted.
After a chorus of Oh, Canada (note the slightly embarrassed, slightly amused, and slightly tipsy expression on my face in the above video), the victors took to the streets and Vancouver became a sea of red.
Honestly, I was happy that Canada won the game. The US definitely didn't just give the win away, so we could still walk around with some pride, but if we had won, the atmosphere in the city would not have been this exciting (and I may not have made it out alive).
The rest of the day was full of so many random adventures and hilarious moments that it would take way too long to run through them all, but I'll at least give you a top 10:
1. The company. I could not have picked a better group of girls to travel with.
2. A Bobsled Photo Op. Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme...
3. The Olympic Cauldron! (and the gorgeous mountain range behind it):
4. Canadian flags EVERYWHERE!
5. The most delicious (and expensive) crepe I've ever had in my life. (9 dollars for a skinny pancake! Seriously, Canada?? If I weren't so addicted to Nutella, I might put up a fight on that)
6. Canadian Beer. Yes, please.
7. Canadian Men.
8. This Sign.
9. The closing ceremony fireworks --LIVE. Please ignore the fact that when I get excited I end up talking with a lisp.
10. The best (and most frightening??) souvenir i have ever purchased in my life .
Yep, those are moose. As mittens. Jealous?
All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime. Hooray for spontaneity.