Saturday, February 13, 2010

Feb 12th - Chinese Takeout post Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Nancy Green to Wayne Gretzky
D and I were lucky enough to go to the opening ceremonies. Our friend S is helping out with the Japanese press and they had tickets they didn't want. I'm guessing they were compt and he just made a cool bit of cash. Too bad I didn't know that before I bid :-P Still a great experience. I paid just the right amount where it was slightly painful but high enough where I wouldn't have had loser's remorse you know.

We had quite good seats. If we were any closer, we would not have been able to make out the effects on the ground. The director used alot of projection effects on the floor and on floor to ceiling props to simulate the ocean, fields of grain, forest of trees, totem poles, and storm clouds to name but a few. We were sat next to an adorable elderly Japanese couple who had no idea what was going on with the directions we were being given for the show. I had to help them along as well as assemble their flashlights and torches. They basically were following my lead.
It was pretty impressive. I won't compare to any of the summer olympics because it's just not fair really.

The summer olympic hosts are obliged to have a much larger stadium and of course they can then accomodate a much larger show. The number of people that the show that the communists coralled in Beijing wouldn't have even fit into BC Stadium including the seated folks. Then there is the idea that we simply can't command 10 thousand people to participate for pennies a day for years. What is amazing really are those summer host countries in democratic nations who have been able to pull of those spectacular shows. Yay Korea, Australia, USA, Spain to name just a few that stir vibrant memories. I mean, just consider the logistics alone of lining the atheletes, spectators and artists on arrival alone! That's what is truly amazing. Not the communist puppet show put on in China where we can never be sure what we saw actually happened. I think there's a term for that.... revisionist history. Of course you can make it look great when you disallow all cameras entry and you have to use the Chinese feed alone. We've all seen proof of that power. It's called Avatar.

I know people have protested here but everyone here has participated and volunteered of their own free will with allowances by their schools, families and workplace. We showed our hearts last night. I am a tax-payer here meaning, to be clear, I WORK HARD and support and am not a tax burden, and I support the investment. I will not necessarily say that it was managed well. I many ways it was not. The budget management was and village!! that said, it is my Olympics, it is our Olympics.

My favorite and most moving memory of last night was the introduction of all the first nations who danced into the gianormous drum at the centre of the arena. World's biggest Potlach. Amazing!

Getting inside beforehand was an ordeal though, really only mostly and not entirely offset by the show. It was a bit ridiculous. If you know Vancouver you'll just shake your head when I describe it. If you don't, map my description and then you will shake your head. We arrived at the foot of the Eastern footing of the Cambie bridge where often the lower gates are open for shows by Smithe and Expo Blvd but were told to keep walking. We followed the tent covered fences westward to Cambie and Expo to what is normally a large vacant lot. There was an opening with a Volunteer on a lifeguard chair with a bullhorn telling us.... to keep walking, that that entrance was for sponsor groups only!!! We were directed down under the bridge to the seawall along the water. We had to walk all the way the Plaza of Nations by the Casino. We were guided through the Chinese festival area that reminded me of the Richmond night market. I felt bad for all the vendors as they pleaded that we stop to buy some food but we were all panicked that we needed to be in our seats by 5pm for the rehearsal. (unnecessary). We circled inside the Plaza of Nations eastward toward the Telus World of Science... are you following on a map! Did I mention the entrance is usually Smithe and Expo or Beatty? We were then sent through the open lots that are currently housing some of the provincial pavillons toward the GM place. Inside those gated areas are the security clearance queues. There are 3 zones and we were kicked foward past two of the first ones because they were too FULL. So D and I had to go to the third and last gate across the road under the Viaduct and Abbott. The security was in the lot in front of GM place. Each security entrance had nearly 2 dozen airport level security checks. After emptying our pockets, searching our bags and being wanded, we walked back westward to the front of the Casino toward the footbridge between the Casino and the BC Stadium. From there we were herded to our entrance gates. From start of journey to end, it took us over half an hour. Until our bums were in our seats, probably close to 1 hr. Not bad except for the ridiculous walk we had to take with VERY LITTLE direction. We were basically blindly following the crowd.

After the show, all gates were opened and since were carry so much stuff we bee lined to the bridge home glad to be freed of the cattle herd. It was POURING POURING so we really didn't give much thought to sticking around downtown for the rest of the partying. We were there for over 5 hours!

On the way home, we stopped for milk at Apple Hill market on Moberly and 6th. I was pretty hungry despite the beer and snacks we had. I hadn't really eaten since 3pm when I snatched a slice of pizza from D's office. I decided I needed, of all things, greasy chinese food. That's exactly what I got. I got Sechuan Jumbo Prawn Noodles from Chop and Wok on 6th and Ash.

It is a quick chinese takeaway that reminds me of the old days of quick, greasy, unauthentic Chinese food of my youth. All the ingredients are pre chopped and ready for cooking. There is an extensive menu and with their system, you won't wait more than 10 minutes for an order if there is no queue.

I didn't really like the ramen type noodles that came with this dish but that was the dish I ordered I guess. There were lots of noodles and not too much bean sprout filler like some places. Not very much veg though. There were just a few bits of celery and bell pepper pieces. There were loads of shrimp but hardly what I would call Jumbo prawn. The sauce was okay, spicy but your typical oily, thickened cheap chinese. Overall good in a pinch for a belly full of food but not somewhere I will choose to goto. Next time, I'll cross the road to the Chilli's chinese.

Cost: $, for what it was
Ambience: High school cafeteria
Cleanliness: Not. There was a napkin decorating the top of a computer screen that was FILTHY
Staff: kind
Food: generous portion but not enough veg

Golden Chop and Wok
766 West 6th Ave
Vancouver BC

V5Z 1A5
(604) 639-2923

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