Naturally, I went online to see what was going on in the world. If it weren't for facebook, I wouldn't have realized that my fortuitous wakeup-time allowed me to watch this as it was happening back home. Upon seeing this, what did I do? Like any good Canadian living on Belgian time & soil, I went to the fridge, cracked open a beer, and sat down to take it in. :)
I'll say before going further that I, and many other Canadians have issues with these Olympics in Vancouver. I'm glad these issues are getting press at home too, and even a bit of international media attention. Did you know that the city has suffered severely due to the financial crisis dropping funding out from the games? The people in Vancouver should be warmly thought of even if they aren't smiling right now because they've paid hundreds of millions more than they were told they'd have to, and this has resulted in cuts in educational funding, healthcare jobs, other aspects of city infrastructure thanks to that. You won't mind if they find it a little harder to welcome the world than they originally thought they would when they voted to make a bid for the olympics.
Thoughts on the ceremony:
-I would like a pair of Azerbaijan pants for my winter-sport doings. Sadly I cannot find a picture. If I can I'll post it. ***EDIT: A-hah!
-Stephen Harper (The current Prime Minister of Canada) caught on camera struggling to unbutton his suit jacket while waving to the Canadian team as they entered the Stadium. Who did you think was coming, smart guy? The host-country team always enters last. Not prepared to greet your own country in the style you'd prefer? *sigh* Oh Stephen, you are SUCH a dissapointment. And yes, either way (jacket open or closed,) we will see your belly bulging over your belt.
-Countries: Ghana? Ethiopia? Mexico? Really? You have winter olympians? How awesome is that? Clearly this trend got started when the Jamaican bobsled team took a shot at things in Calgary. Or I'd like to think so.
-Very happy to see the opening ceremony involved all first nations clans, incorporated the traditional native welcome right from the get-go, and did not try (at all) to continue pushing the idea that the inukshuk (an inuit symbol being used in the logo for these games) is actually a good representation of Vancouver or the native peoples of the area. This is a start at better recognition of our native peoples. Now if only we could do a little more about the fact that we stole their land, abused their children in the residential school system, and continue to do not a hell of a lot to help improve the horrible socio-economic mess that colonialism in Canada has placed them in.
-The Canadian beat-poet Shane Koyczan 'defining Canada' with a slightly pared down version of his poem "We are more". Beautiful.
-Really? We had singers like Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams lip-synching? How lame. Bryan seemed particularly bad at it since he normally performs live. Nelly seems very good at it. Quelle surprise.
We will not speak of the technical glitch in lighting the olympic flame. How very embarrassed Wayne Gretsky looked. I knew something was up, but really... it is the OLYMPIC FLAME. That hydraulic system should have been tested a zillion times. That's all I'm saying. That, and atheletes need to learn how to keep better poker-faces. Erm, I mean, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."