But not this week.
Friday's ceremony was spectacular, exceeding all of my expectations. We watched in a pub full of people, the walls bedecked with flags from all over the world, and clapped and cheered at our favourite parts.
I couldn't find a YouTube video of my absolute favourite part - Shane Koyczan's rendition of his "We Are More" poem - so here he is in an earlier performance, reciting the whole poem in front of the Vancouver cityscape instead. I also loved the orcas, but I couldn't find a clip of that either! Hopefully you all saw it on the night...
My British friend and I leaped to our feet and cheered Team GB when they came out. Everyone looked at us. But then the whole pub did the same for Team Canada, and the owner and his son came in with air horns and massive Canadian flags on hockey sticks, to rapturous applause. I loved the fiddling, I loved KD Lang, I loved that they chose four people to light the flame simultaneously. I love that my iPhone autocorrected my first spelling attempt to the correct form, Gretzky. (I think he should have smiled more though).
I really love that when we saw the fireworks light up the TV screen, everyone ran to the window to watch them in real life.
What a contrast to the destructive douchebags who rioted and smashed windows yesterday morning. I think the anti-Olympic movement just lost a lot of the support that the (much larger group of) peaceful protesters had earned over the last few months, and on opening night. What a shame that maybe 20 people - probably not all from Vancouver, and probably not proposing any constructive solutions to the problems they're using as an excuse to riot (I haven't heard any, anyway) - got to define the agenda like that.
It's so much easier to be destructive than creative.
Anyway... moving on. We decided that those cowardly mask-wearing fuckers were not going to deter us from having fun, and set off for downtown with our Team Canada shirts and British flags. The SkyTrain was packed, but amazingly, people were chatting to strangers and having fun. This never happens in Vancouver.
Arriving downtown, we set off to find the Olympic flame. There were tens of thousands of happy people down there, wearing their team colours, being asked if they needed help by Olympic volunteers, and packing every cafe, restaurant and bar.
The Olympic flame, as lit by The Great One on Friday
The first photo was taken on maximum zoom, through the fence. At a weird angle due to the crowds pushing into my back. We were very disappointed that they wouldn't let us get any closer.
This photo was taken by Kyrsten, with me leaning backwards over a small child to try and get into the shot!
We tried to get into some of the pavilions, but the average line-up was over an hour. No worries - we have two weeks, and we'll try again on a week day rather than on the first Saturday of the Games! And it was great just being downtown. Many of the streets have been turned into pedestrian boulevards, there were street food stalls and buskers everywhere, public art, music... and did I mention tens of thousands of happy people wearing their team colours and having a great time?!
Just a really fun, positive atmosphere.
We retired to a pub to watch the qualifying rounds of the women's moguls, and to watch the Canadian women's hockey team destroy Slovakia in a decisive and frankly rather embarrassing manner. The people at the next table were all wearing Team USA jackets, but cheering for one specific Canadian player. Turns out their daughter is on the US team, and plays on the same club team as the Canadian! They said they were having a great time, loving Vancouver, and loving the Olympics.
In another pub later on, we saw Jen Heil win Canada's first medal, a very creditable silver. We're still waiting for our first gold on home turf (or snow), having failed in Calgary and Montreal... but there's still lots of time, and we will be glued to our screens for the women's 3,000 metre speed skating at 1pm. One of our medal hopes is a friend's cousin. GO CANADA GO!
I hope you're all enjoying the Games too!