where the writers are
Olympics Vancouver 2010 - your animal reporter on the scene takes you to the GAMES!
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

Hello-o-o from Vancouver and the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Last Sunday I flew in from Dallas on American Airlines with a plane full of dog tagged delegates and athletes dressed in National colors.  My kids were delighted and confused by the throngs of people arrupting into applause and jutting out hands with items to be autographed.  'Mommy, why are those people clapping and staring at us?'  We smiled and waved, flew through the airport like never before due t the magic of overstaffing and received applause, cheers and Canada pins.  The airport had a rock star atmosphere with huddles of people waiting and hoping to catch glimpses of their heroes.   

Olympic rings, statues, artwork and light displays are everywhere from those done officially to the many businessess and homes participating with homemade hoola hoop displays and red and white Christmas lights spelling out messages like 'Go Canada!'  Every Friday people wear their favorite nation's colors and that mans the elementary and high schools here a sea of red and white.   Are we ready?  You bet!  There is snow at every mountain venue offering the best ski conditions imaginable; all but one are courtesy of nature, and the one that was lacking is receiving truckloads of snow from a nearby provincial park - pristine fluffy white stuff brought in to order.  It'll be fast skiing with amazing mountain backdrops and seascape views.


But it is unseasonably warm here, and that means tourists staying in Vancouver will enjoy some great sites.  Bring a jacket with a hood, dress in layers and go for it.  Explore our parks like Stanley Park (right down town) by renting a mountain bike at one of the many shops on Denman st. or run or roller blade the 10 km sea wall track that surrounds it with panoramic views of Vancouver.  You may see seals, and sea birds of all types if you are quiet or go early or late near dusk and dawn.  If you prefer to use your own legs get a map and hike into the lake inside the park for a relaxing picnic.  Or try Pacific spirit national park over near UBC for an interlocking set of well mapped out trails that will take you from river beach to  georgia straight and back to the vancouver harbour all by trekking through quiet dark, cool woods, with trees so tall they make you dream.


If hiking boots are not your thing, check out Granville Island which you can get to easily by taxi, walking or even commuter sea bus, which is super cute and visits tourist spots strategically for bus fare.  At Granville |Island you can see craftspeople and artists blowing glass and making their works or enjoy fresh food and market stalls while you are entertained by jugglers, comedians and musicians who compete for the right to headline at Granville Island outside. 


Want to see where that torch went boucing along the supension bridge?  try Lynn Valley for the simple route or Caplilano suspension bridge for more information, historical plaques, displays and you may even get to see native artisans working on masks or dugout canoes.  The same is true for the museum of Anthropology back over at UBC on te city's west side, located right near the nude beach which is well worth seeing for its sunsets over the pacific and its naked tribe of people and the society they make each summer.


You might be wondering what i've got to say about the nature here...coming right up.  Check out the  Fraser River sturgeon fishing trips out of Mission for an experience that is prehistoric - the biggest fish in the world and you'll be helping with a tag and release program as you get your 'big fish' photo.  ON your way back to vancouver drive along lougheed highway and just before Stave lake after you leave the town of mission and before you enter the town of Maple Ridge, head north up Hayward St. Park the alongside the road or park it in the provincial park and enjoy the view of eagles.  Yes eagles.  I've seen as many as 18 in one tree.  Did you know the young ones are speckled and spotted with black adn white spots?  Look into the ice cold water and you'll see hundreds of salmon skeletons and you'll know why the eagles congregate in such numbers.  Make eye contact and you'll definitely feel like the eagle is looking back! 

 Check our my progressive radio network show,  THE ANIMAL MAGNET - PET RADIO,  Feb. 9, posted here on redroom to hear more about the animals and the Olympics.  More blogging to come as I share the animal facts about this region, and attend music, culture, art, sports (women's hockey), and take you on a trip to the OLYMPIC GAMES 2010!