Almost exactly 12 years ago, I had an experience of a lifetime at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. For five days, in the cold of winter and with a terrible sore throat, I toured around Richmond and Vancouver, B.C. mostly by myself and it was both anxiety-provoking and exhilarating.
My husband Marcus had nabbed his dream job as Venue Photo Manager for Long-Track Speed Skating so I had a free place to stay (if you’ve ever tried to get a hotel room during the Olympics, you know this is a major feat), and every day, I wrote a long email to my friends and family about what I was seeing, eating, and experiencing.
So, in honor of the 2022 Winter Olympics happening right now in Beijing, and because it’s the Year of the Tiger once again, I’m tripping back in time to share these Olympics stories with you, uncensored and unedited. Here’s Day 1. Hope you enjoy it!
Day 1: Thursday, February 11, 2010
Hello Friends & Family,
This is Cubs Cheng here, reporting to you from Richmond and Vancouver, B.C.: home of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Highlight of yesterday was seeing the Dress Rehearsal for the Opening Ceremonies.
I was there with 50,000 people. It’s the biggest venue I’ve been to in my life.
But since they told us we CANNOT report about anything we saw at the event, I will have to save my commentary until Saturday. And I definitely have SOMETHING to say about what I saw.
So, let me tell you about what happened before and after.
I took two Sky Trains from Marcus’ condo in Richmond to BC Place where the ceremony was going to take place. As I was walking to the place, I was starving and realized I needed to buy a snack.
I had a Taxi Driver moment crossing the street when a guy tried to run me over. I stopped in front of his car and did my best Robert DeNiro imitation with the yelling, “I’m walking here!” and the hand gestures (not what you think) pointing repeatedly at the WALK sign. He just laughed at me. I guess I don’t look tough like Robert DeNiro.
Note: I can only do this in Canada where guns are illegal. Would I do this in the U.S.? Hell no. So, kids at home, do as I say, NOT as I do.
After that brief moment of international relations, I went into the T&T Supermarket which not only has an Asian hot food counter, but also dim sum to go, sushi to go, and many other tasty cooked Asian foods to go. What to choose? I settled on a “vegetarian sticky rice roll” and a plastic wrapped tray of potstickers (pork dumplings).
After gulping down the vegetarian sticky rice roll (which by the way, was filled with a bunch of tasty stuff that sure tasted like MEAT), I sped over to BC Place along with a huge crowd of people. I didn’t have time to eat my potstickers so I put the wrapped tray in my purse.
I had to go through security. They searched my purse. They took away my water. I said, “But I have a very sore throat.” Sorry, they dumped it.
They took away my food. I said, “No, not the potstickers!” The security guard said I could eat them NOW before I go in.
The sticky roll was sitting in my stomach like a big lump. I couldn’t put anything else down there. So, I took the tray of gyoza and waved them to the line of people behind me.
“Anyone want some potstickers? I’m full, can’t eat them and can’t bring ’em in!”
People laughed. The potstickers were passed back in the line until they reached an elderly man in his 60’s who promptly tore open the plastic and popped the potstickers in his mouth. He looked happy.
Ah, international relations back in order.
Then I went into BC Place. Marcus joined me when he got off work about an hour later.
It was quite a show.
On our way home, we were starving. We stopped at the HKYK restaurant for their late night happy hour. Almost all dim sum is $2.50 after 10:00pm. Yes, believe it. $2.50. We got a ton of dim sum, including my favorite pan-fried turnip cakes with bits of pork, excellent pork and chive dumplings, beef ribs in pepper sauce, and wontons in a spicy to-die-for peanut sauce.
I got my dumplings in the end. All is right in my corner of the world.
Until next time…this is Cubs Cheng, signing off.
ps. Many of you remember me during my vow of silence when I lost my voice on January 1 and it stayed gone for 10 days. Yes, 10 long days. Well, yesterday, I felt the same symptoms again. Whenever I swallowed, it felt like I was choking down a golf ball made of sandpaper. Please, God, don’t let me lose my voice during the Olympics. I want to be one of the few voices cheering for the USA athletes at the public screenings…and pissing off all the Canadians.
Have you ever been to the Olympics? If yes, where and when?
Peg Cheng is the author of Rebel Millionaire, a guide for how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income, and The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is also the proud owner of Plaid Frog Press with her husband Marcus Donner. Born in Southern California to Taiwanese parents, Peg currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Peg Cheng of Sharing Our Warmth with the World by Dixon Dragons, Vancouver 2010