Olympics are over, the sales begin.

So you worked during the Olympics, made some money, went out and spent it all on Olympic stuff. Just as VANOC planned! Why buy stuff we don’t need, especially stuff that can be considered soured milk, since the Olympics have ended for almost a week? Some may say its good to be thrifty, others say theres still the Paralympics to cheer for, but most will agree I just can’t help it. I, for one, tried to avoid it. It started with a China hoodie priced at $70. It came with a free toque and a bag, and it didn’t make me feel guilty about dishing out the amount equivalent to a days worth of paychecks. It felt good, it looked good, and I could wear it casually. If it got cheaper I can “price adjust it.” Then after the Olympics I picked up a $100 jacket, not the best color, or the best size, but it was buy one get another lesser or equal price free, but why couldn’t I pass it up? First of all, the Olympic logos were pretty hidden, which means I could wear it for other sporting events or just casually and even without the Olympic eyecatch, they felt quite comfortable.

So I got a Green $100 jacket and hoodie to express my patriotism now and in the future, yay! I told myself I would stop there, but a friend recently found a outlet store selling Olympic merchandise that was passed its prime. Again I promised myself if I had to pick up something it would be as unOlympic as possible. After lining up for almost 2 hours, I went in, thought i didn’t see anything I liked, but quickly my eye spotted a fanny pack. It was only 10 bucks, and the quality wasn’t bad compared to another one i paid for years ago, which was the same price, but broke on me while I was in China. What surprised me was, while it took me about 10 minutes to decide if I actually wanted, I saw people grabbing loads and loads of useless bags, key chains, and other Olympic stuff that was pretty tacky and putting them into cardboard boxes and buying them enmasse.

What are these people going to do with all this outdated junk? Since everyone was Asian, I assumed that they were going to send it back to Asia as gifts, or just hide it in the closet, be proud and 10 years later throw it away. All the Olympic coverage must have driven into people’s minds that Olympic merchandise will never be here again, and that for some reason we had to grab some to prove that we were here. Everyone on tv with Olympic merchandise was happy, so we figure maybe thats whats missing from our lives! We buy it, feel satisfied, then move on to the next thing. Impulse shopping is for the weak minded, and sometimes I find myself getting caught up in it, however, the longer I spend in a mall, the less I actually want. I was about to leave with my friend when I spotted a computer bag that looked pretty professional. I picked it up, took it to the register and paid for it, because unlike other people there that day, I needed it.

Richmond O-zone

Richmond’s O-zone is nowhere as packed as Downtown Vancouver. As a matter of fact,  any random area in Downtown is probably more buzzing than all of the Richmond O-Zone.  Despite that, the O-zone has a lot to see and do.  The first thing you’re greeted with is the Volunteer guards and security, and then the Heineken Pavilion before you reach the big screens.  At the big screens are performers, some days its jazz and other days, other things.  The jazz show had a nice sound, the acoustics were clearly designed for a large area, but a smaller crowd.  Further inside one can find the Olympic Oval pavilion, the outdoor ice oval and VIP areas.  The big screens are without sound until you backtrack, leave the security area and head to city hall.  At city hall one can find a series of smaller pavilions, anywhere from wine tasting to Canada’s contribution to NASA.  The big screen also has sounds and so many more gathered here to watch Canada win GOLD in Ice dancing.  The events close at 9pm, which is a lot later than most events in Downtown.

ozonelayer

Olympic downtown maddness

Got to the zipline at 9am, but had to wait until 2pm before we were done!  After eating it was  to the cauldron by waterfront.  People were selling pins at roadside, the german fest house was at the opposite end of the flame past the media center.  The cauldron is under lock and key aka chain fence.  Back towards Robson and into the art Museum, however all pavilions were closing at 4pm and I didn’t get to go into any.  The art museum was nostalgic bringing back pictures of early 90’s Vancouver.   Afterwards on to the ice rink for some photos. Watched Canada win their first hockey game 8-0 on a TV inside pacific center! Then it was off to celebrate at night time Robson.  After dinner, there was fireworks, light show, and music.  Cheering continued as those wave the Soviet Flag for Russia, those who celebrated Canada’s victory as well as “BC BUD”. 13 Hours well spent in Downtown!

Olympics

Watched the torch relay run down 49th ave.  Lotsa people gathered then dispersed.  Now thats efficiency.  I am also 180.4 pounds now or 82 KG. 183.6 pounds with clothes on.

So I donated blood!

I donated blood yesterday, and got a Olympic Pin.  Its not so bad, I don’t know what made me feel more tired, swimming or the blood donating process.  Apparently by blood flow is slow, so I finished later than people who started after me.  They gave me something to squeeze on, then a glove with warm water to squeeze on, and then one lady tightened my blood pressure device, which kind of hurt.  Otherwise, its nothing special or different than a blood test.

Golden Ears Bridge/Portmann Predlude to more tolls?

A bridge for a “quick link from Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge to Langley, Surrey and beyond,” and an end to noise pollution for the neighbors around the construction site was what greeted many drivers and visitors to the Golden Ears bridge’s grand opening earlier last year.  However, as the 30 day free trial was over and regular traffic took over, some of the results were predicted and some were not.  The neighborhood never expected the new noise pollution from vehicles going over the bridge to make new noises while getting on and off the bridges.  Many drivers did however expected the tolls and they were here to stay for a little while.  It cost anywhere from $2.75-$6.65 (trucks pay about 33%+), depending on the vehicle and their insurance, which would be sent to your insurer.  So is this the beginning to permanent bridge tolls across B.C. or will it all be temporary as the government says?

The new Portmann Bridge, which is currently under construction will provide a newer, safer bridge for many of those who rely on it to get in and out of the tri-city areas and will also be tolled when it is completed in 2013.  It will feature 10 lanes as well as new public transportation systems and their appropriate lanes.  With such a grand project it is expected that 3.3 billion dollars on top of the Olympics will make it hard not just for Translink and the city to pay it off in the near future.  That and the fact that almost all of the bridges in and out of the Tri-cities are beginning to show their age, except for the Arthur Liang bridge, proves we will  have a big budget crisis.  However, people have been demanding new bridges and wider lanes for the past decade.  We get over ten thousand cars added into the tri-cities every year, and with more healthy minded individuals and the expanded ridership of public transportation and we have traffic hell.

Much like Beijing we have to cut the amount of vehicle on our roads before the Olympic hits or else congestion may render some events inoperable.  The difference is Vancouver has a much smaller population than Beijing, almost ten times smaller.  So against the wishes of environmentalist, expansion is inevitable unless Vancouver wishes to stay backwards compared to all other major cities.  However, to pay for all of this their has been considerations to toll not only for the sake of being able to afford current and future infrastructure projects needed to make us richer, but also to protect the environment to offset our problems.  People generally seemed to support the Golden Ears bridge and its toll, and with a positive response from drivers, this may just be the green light for the government to mobilize their perma-tolls.