Apologies in advance for the quality of this post, since I only got a total of 4 hours sleep last night. And even that was split up between 1:30-4:15am and 6:00am until my little nephews piled on. Good times all round, so here's a recap:
Friday: A sensational 12 hour drive with the best weather I have ever seen between the home of the Flames and 'nuckledom. Picked up a pig of Crannog Ale on the way through Salmon Arm, some of the best organic beer I've ever had. Try their Back Hand of God Stout if at all possible while you're in BC.
Saturday: Okay, this was a full one. Established WI in her place off Commercial, and walked (a long ways) into GM Place (a.k.a. Canada Hockey House). There are people EVERYWHERE, and I've been in Van lots of times, but the weather has never been better. Beers (Shaftesbury Cream Ale) at the Media Club (a.k.a.Rock 101 House), picked up our hockey tix underneath Dunsmuir from the best guy ever, beers (Crannog) and lunch at the Alibi Room (great beer list), grabbed a pair of CBCs at the Fluevog store, and rolled on over to Hitz Boutique at Cambie and Cordova (huge props to Joel for storing my shoes while I went to watch hockey).
About 4'ish, WI and I stopped off at Steamworks Brewing Co. for another beer (Nut Brown Ale) while we waited for my brother (we must have been losing our buzz). Olympic tip #1: If everyone in the line in front of you is a pair, tell them you have a party of 3. My bro (adamH?) shows up, and immediately disappears to find his friend who came in to work German House. Olympic tip #2: Know someone on the inside. His friend scored us passes to the German House beer garden, where $9 buys you a glass of German sunshine (Warsteiner) and access to a tent full of dudes. Where are der frauleins you ask? Damned if I know, but maybe they come out after dark.
AdamH and I had tickets to the Germany vs. Belarus game, so while WI went off on her own adventure to the Black Frog, and we headed over to the actual German House to get organized for the game. These guys do it up, face paint, flags, sponsor swag, and the full colour scheme. Check out my bro and his new best buddy Arnst mugging on the red carpet, and adamH modelling some of my free team Germany swag (head sock and cowbell):
The game was hopping, with tons of German fans, a few very vocal Belarusian supporters, and many more Canadians just grabbing a piece of the Olympic hockey experience. Olympic tip #3: DO NOT offer pastry filled with shit to our international guests. One of those Canadians sitting in front of me came close to starting an international incident when she strung together the only two German words she knew, and asked her neighbours if they had tried the "sheisse strudel". On the upside, the zambonis at the hockey arena ARE working (smug?):
My seats were within spitting distance of the CTV desk, but even with Kypreos and Bob McKenzie (whatever happened to Doug?) that close, I managed to check my rage and not do anything that would get me Tazed by the Vancouver fuzz. The desk was pretty neat actually, everything rises out of the floor, and the stools all rise to the correct height for its respective talking (air)head. Here's the angle:
Anyway, the game was generally pretty close, but ended up in favour of Belarus 5-3. Needless to say, the Germans weren't that happy about coming out of their group 0-3, but they did play like garbage, Ehrhoff took a couple of dumb penalties, and generally Belarus looked to be the better team. Often it seemed a little like watching AHL action, but with less physical play. The sole Belarus NHLer, Sergei Kostitsyn played great, and number 71, Aleksei Kalyuzhny had an awesome game, with 2 goals, an assist, and a +3 on the night. If he wasn't 32 years old, I would say he deserves to be scouted. Somehow, even at 0-3, every team still has a (slim) chance at the podium, and even if that doesn't work out, at least everyone ended up friends:
Sunday: With no sleep and a hangover, I still managed to pack in a little Olympic experience with a trip to the lauded Olympic Cauldron/Fortress of Solitude/Prison Camp. Its a zoo down there, and personally I think the thing looks kind of cheap (sorry, TOO smug?). The chain link is kind of garish, but they've done some work down there, and if I hadn't forgot my camera, I'd have a photo for everyone. I only caught the first period of the Canada vs. USA hockey game with WI and some of her buds (family obligations), so I'm going to have to leave the final review on that to her. I must say though, its good to hear Peter Maher on the radio out here.
Two more hockey games and a medal ceremony left on the Olympic bill, so we'll keep you posted.