February 24 2010 by Julie Drossos
I'm back! Into the final week of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and going strong.
Dutch Pride & Heineken House
Last week I mentioned that I'd be dropping by Heineken House this week and wow it was something else. A friend and I went after watching the women's 1000m speed skating finals. The crowd at the speed skating oval was a sea of red & white (for Canada of course)..and a whole lot of Orange! Those Dutch fans take pride to a whole new level. They were not too pleased when Canada's Christine Nesbitt kicked it into high gear in the last leg of her skate to claim Gold...
but the Dutch were still happy to walk away with both the Silver and Bronze medals. Anyhow, to get back to the point, with their great success and the massive crew of Dutch spectators, Holland Heineken House was a gong show. A see of revelers clad in orange shirts and cloaks with all sorts of kooky hats. Anything "orange" was in style at Heineken House. After a lengthy wait we were in - it was late afternoon but any normal person would have thought it was 10 at night the way the throngs of people were dancing and celebrating; loved the energy there.
As we head into the last week of the Olympics, locals and visitors alike are scrambling to find their favorite Olympic merchandise and paraphernalia to remember the games by. Amidst the Olympic collector pins, Plush Olympic mascots and Hockey Jerseys, there is one stand-out item at the 2010 games that is flying off the shelves....
Those Little Red Mitts
If you've watched any Olympic events, or been lucky to walk around the streets of Vancouver, it would be impossible to ignore the influx of red mittens on people's hands. The mittens - official Olympic merchandise - have been worn by Olympic athletes, celebrities, proud Canadians and tourists alike (last weekend a lovely German lady offered to buy mine from me right on the street!) Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US Vice President Joe Biden have also been spotted sporting their spiffy red mitts.
Originally the mittens were intended to be worn only by the Olympic Torchbearers, but after they were unveiled to the public the frenzy began. Emblazoned with a maple leaf (a very Canadian icon) on the inside of the mitt, Olympic celebrants love waving their hands in the air and showing their Canadian pride. The lineup to the official Olympic merchandise store in downtown Vancouver was two city blocks long when I strolled by the other day, and many of the folks were hoping to get their hands on those little red mitts! Interestingly enough, I've actually heard a rumor that if you only want mitts (and no other Olympic merchandise), you can actually find them on the fifth floor of the Hudson's Bay company rather than waiting for hours in the Bay's Olympic store line-up. Check out this cute YouTube video that illustrates "red mitten fever".
Ice, Ice, Baby
I took a jaunt with a friend over to False Creek (just over the water, south of downtown Vancouver) and visited the Ultimate Ice Lounge at Monk McQueen's restaurant. After enjoying a platter of Oysters in Monk's lounge, we were helped into huge parkas and wooly gloves and lead into the Ice Lounge outside. In this entire lounge made of ice - including the walls, the benches, the bar, the sculptures and even the glasses you drink out of - you can sit on a fur covered ice-bench with your mate and enjoy one of five delicious vodka cocktails. Sexy house music and clever lighting make for a trendy and cool effect. The Ice lounge is kept at a nippy -5 degrees Celsius to keep everything "solid". The parka helps but it's best to wear warmer clothes. Cost is $21 which includes your vodka drink and hanging out in the lounge (you won't want to stay longer than 15-20 minutes or so... you'll get too chilly!
I plan to soak up as much as I can in these last few days of Olympic celebration here in Vancouver. The past week has been a ride and from what I've heard from Olympic-goers of games past, this week will be even more energy-filled. Looking forward to enjoying these last few days before Vancouver bids adieu to the Olympic torch and passes it onto Russia to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games!