Saturday, February 13, 2010

Experiencing Olympics 2010

The reason I am writing this post is to make sure that after many years when my life is dull (though an unlikely possibility) and I am nostalgic I can look back at this time and smile, thinking I wrote this post precisely thinking about what I would be thinking about what I was thinking that what I would be thinking.........(end loop).

Anyways this year the winter Olympics took place in Vancouver Canada; obviously because I happened to be there (surely the world revolves around me, just like the universe revolves around us humans). Jokes apart, I must say the experience was awesome. There were those among my "acquaintances" who did not participate in the festivity because they were too busy studying or simply thought the weather was drab, which btw it was. I on the other hand brushed aside my studies and the drab weather. Well it wasn’t a difficult decision actually, I mean I am doing poorly here at UBC anyhow and so studying extra hours hardly matters and second it’s probably a once in a life time experience. As for the weather, I think in the end it was more of a boon than bane, making the experience more memorable.

On February 11th the Olympics torch came to UBC and so my friends and I went to the University Boulevard and waited for the torch to arrive. We were there from 5.30 pm onward and the torch arrived at around 6.15 pm. There were tons of people waiting for the torch to arrive but fortunately we were able stand in the front row. It was raining continuously although not like Kal Baishaki but people disregarded nature completely. People thronged to the boulevard and there was music, dancing, and even candles celebrating the event. There was a funny incident though, we saw a group of protestors with placard and chanting slogans “no Olympics” going by. Apparently these people think that the BC government is spending money in wrong stuffs. If there was anything called too much democracy, this would have been a fine example of that. The torch finally came at 6.15 pm, there was a motorcade in front of it and there were tons of police cars as well. The torch was made by Bombardier Company and apparently has a life of 15 years, kinda nifty.

Yesterday was the opening day of the Olympics but the spirit of the day was dampened by the premature death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed during a training accident. I recently saw a documentary hosted by Bill Maher and there he joked about the fact that we are shocked and show disbelief when a sports car driver dies during a sporting event. He was like when you are driving at 250 km/hr with 20 other guys what do you expect. In a way I tend to agree, I mean it is sad that he died but making a human body move at 140 km/hr and expect its’ going to be perfectly safe is kinda absurd. We human see these sports precisely because it’s dangerous.

There were three of us and we started off at 4.15 pm (Friday). The bus ride reminded me of Bangladesh, we were jammed packed, which is unusual for Canada, and the funny thing was just like Bangladesh everyone wanted to stand near the door and not in the back. We reached the BC stadium at around 5.20ish and it was raining as usual but who cares, there were still many people around that place. Police and security officials were everywhere. We took some pictures and then went to Yaletown, which was 5-6 blocks away. In Yaletown they had erected two huge screens so that you could see the ceremony live but the problem was there was almost a km long line. I had given up hope when one of my Canadian buddies came up with the idea of butting in to line. Initially I was against the idea but my morality surrendered within few minutes, the cost was simply too high. To be honest I think it was the fear of getting caught and public ridicule that gave rise to my moral stand in the first place but as soon as I saw that my buddy succeeded without drawing any obloquy my opposition evaporated. We had to go through a security check to enter the enclosed compound but I guess given the current state of affair it was logical.

The ceremony was jaw dropping awesome and the environment inside with people of different nationalities jumping with their flags and everything made it even more exciting. The rain kept on pouring and we kept on disregarding it, what an insult to Mother Nature. We had to stand all the way and that’s like 4 hrs, by the time the event was over it seemed to me that I needed a new pair of legs. Then three of us went to  a coffee store to rejuvenate ourselves before heading for the public square in another part of downtown where the Olympics flame was. We reached that place at around 10.15ish and there were so many people there and so much energy, you could feel it. En route to this place we went through the happening area of downtown center where the New Year was celebrated. There were concerts going on, people dancing on the street, taking pictures, for me it was a new experience something I will hopefully always remember.

When we went to see the flame there was one funny incident though, we saw two really beautiful girls and one of my friend had the courage of going up to them to strike up a conversation. Although he was successful in opening up a dialogue but because the girls made eye contact with him he lost all composure subsequently started stammering and finally took a “strategic retreat”, which consequently resulted in a feet of laughter on our part. After that we went to have sushi in our favourite place called samurai sushi, it was so delicious. I am at a loss as to how can some people not like sushi, I think it’s a psychological barrier more than anything. We ordered like 9 different types of rolls and the waiter asked us whether we could finish them all but as always they underestimated us. All in all loved the day, had tons of fun, was well worth everything, memorable, exciting, enjoyed every second of it including the not studying part and getting drench in rain : JOIE DE VIVRE.

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