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Friday, Feb. 19

In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, organizers in Whistler said it was going to be New Years Eve every night, while their Vancouver counterparts projected the experience to be like fireworks nights, Grey Cup and all other good things rolled into one – for 17 straight nights. What they didn’t mention was that every Dec. 31 Whistler requires an extra 40 RCMP brought in on overtime to help blow up balloons and spread good cheer. Vancouverites have trouble behaving for one night, let alone 17 in a row. No need for a show of hands from the police, firefighting and ambulance communities about their enthusiasm for 17 consecutive New Years’ Eves.

February 19, 2010
By Paul Dixon

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Coming up
to the end of the first week of the Olympic experience and it has been one big
happy party. Downtown
Vancouver is drawing crowds from sun up
until, well, almost sun up again. People are taking transit like never before,
with long queues the order of the day and no complaining. Many countries and
provinces have pavilions that offer national or regional food and drink, as
well as cultural attractions. Hour-long queues are the norm and people are
forking out serious coin to sample the food and drink. People are actually
lining up for four hours to take a 30-second zip-line ride at
Robson Square, home to the BC Pavilion.  Mind you, the ride is free, but four hours?

The
amazing thing is that everyone has been so well behaved. The much-anticipated
protests last Friday, followed by the brief anarchist’s gong show on Saturday,
resulted in a combined seven arrests. An esteemed British journalist commented
that there had been more people nicked at his last year’s family Christmas
dinner.

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The
professional pollsters have been beavering away phoning citizens during their
dinner hour to determine that we now love the Olympics, whereas only a week ago
we hated them.  If you have ever actually
participated in one of these séances, you will have special appreciation for
the depth of the questioning. A 79 per cent approval rating for the Games was
the result of this question – “are you now in favour of the Games or would you
rather have a punch in the nose?” There was no indication of how many undecideds
there were. 


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