Sunday, March 14, 2010
I just spent the weekend downtown and I witnessed a lot of the same Olympic spectacles set up for the Paralympics. I saw the Olympic flame, saw the logo lit up in Coal Harbour and walked along the streets with some of the spectators and teams. I thought the atmosphere, since it was such a smaller event, was very relaxed, and everyone was very polite. I got asked many times if I was from out of town or where I was from. I realized that all the politeness and inquiry was probably a result of people being on their absolute best behavior. Every store I entered and restaurant I ate at was super positive. Absolutely everyone was smiling all the time. While the atmosphere was very positive and cheerful, after a while it seemed a little bit contrived. I probably came to this conclusion because as someone who lives here, I got sick of people constantly asking me if I was from out of town. I feel like going downtown during the Paralympic Games is a great way to experience the Olympic atmosphere dialed down a few notches. I was also very impressed by the enthusiasm everyone had to be hosting the Paralympics. No one seemed to scale down their hospitality just because the Paralympics are a smaller event.