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Olympic Outsiders

If you can't be inside the Olympic Games, then follow Seattle Times producers, reporters, videographers and Olympic fans as we take you to the streets of Vancouver, B.C., to show you what's happening on the ground and give you a taste of the scene swirling around the 2010 winter games.

February 15, 2010 at 11:26 PM

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Learning to navigate downtown Vancouver

Posted by Seattle Times staff

Submitted by Ian Farrell

Today we traveled to downtown Vancouver. We wanted to learn how to use the public transportation and needed to pick up our tickets at will-call.

Except for parking, everything went well. We're using the King George Station of the SkyTrain light rail system. It was very difficult to find parking; it took longer to find parking than it did to ride the train in to the city.

The trains were very convenient and frequent. We never waited more than 3 minutes for a train to arrive.

The will-call office was near the Yaletown LiveCity entertainment venue. There were vendor booths and the whole neighborhood had a street fair vibe to it. After we picked up the tickets, we got back on the Canada Line train and went to Olympic Village.

Olympic Village is, as we unfortunately discovered, closed to the public. We had it in our heads that it was the center of the "Olympic Experience." As it turns out, it was not worth traveling to. We crossed the Cambie Bridge and wandered to BC Place and the Plaza of Nations instead.

There, we again found any type of food we wanted (or didn't want) from squid balls to coffee and doughnuts. We had Ukranian pyrogees and a Greek gyro. There was also a stage with a new musical act each half hour.

We followed the river toward the large, mysterious, silver geodesic sphere. Along the way we stopped at Concorde Place which housed exhibits from several of the provinces. We never figured out what was inside, but the line to Saskatchewan House was by far the longest.

The silver geode turned out to be Sochi House, an exhibit about 2014's Olympic Winter Games in Russia. The lines were long, but we were approached by a nice, very Russian, gentleman who explained that we needn't wait in line with our toddler and that there was a special bypass line just for us. Finally, something made easier by having a child with us! Inside there were displays of the venue layout, pictures and tours, and a hockey museum. What we enjoyed the most was holding the Olympic torch and getting our picture taken. The torch is much lighter than we expected.

After the Sochi House we wandered back to LiveCity Yaletown, took in some music, bought some souvenirs, and headed home for the evening.

What stood out most was the willingness of anyone associated with the Games to lend a hand or helpful advice. From the security guard at the light rail helping us buy our tickets to volunteers letting us know where baby changing tables were we were never far from useful information and cheerful advice

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