About Nicholas Kohn and Marissa Heiser
Thursday, Feb. 25
Today we made a trip to downtown Vancouver to do some sightseeing. We boarded the Greyhound bound for the big city early this morning. We immediately made our way to the Proctor & Gamble House (aka P&G House) which is a facility that P&G built to pay tribute to the moms and families of athletes to give them a home away from home.
It's a four-story building in the heart of Vancouver that was filled with wonderful amenities. The first floor had a giant viewing room with two live event screens, a giant pillowed sleeping and napping area, and the rest of the room looked very similar to the United Nations, which may have been unintentional but was very cool. The basement had a catered lunch and tables for all of the families, as well as a giant wall dedicated to all of the moms of the athletes, most of which had written messages on it thanking their mom for all of their support. We quickly ate a delicious lunch of sandwiches, salad and chili.
The second floor had a registration area where we checked in and received a swag bag full of Proctor & Gamble products: razors, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, laundry detergent, lotion and hand warmers. The third floor consisted of three rooms, one of which had a Pringle Room with 24 unlimited different varieties of Pringles and soda (which we FULLY took advantage of) and a Wii gaming system with the Rock Band game. We felt like someone gave us a child's dream come true. The next room had a Pampers daycare for babies and small toddlers. And a third room was sponsored by Colgate and had a photo booth complete with green screen and props for fun and crazy pictures. We had a lot of fun in that room!
The fourth floor had a spa for the families to come and get some massages, facials and hairstyling. We made appointments for various treatments, but eventually had to cancel because we remembered there was a USA-sponsored house a few blocks down the street that we wanted to hit. We headed down and also tried to look for the infamous red Canada gloves that have become the hot item for the 2010 Olympics, much like the Roots berets were in Salt Lake in 2002. No mittens anywhere. Sorry folks, we have been trying at every turn.
At the USA house, the first floor had a store full of Polo Ralph Lauren and Nike merchandise for sale. It is all pretty amazing stuff, albeit very expensive. We bought a few items and headed upstairs to the McCafe sponsored floor. Because of our return bus trip, we were going to miss dinner but there was a full bar and snacks available. And of course, more big screen TV's showing the Olympic events. We were approached at the front by a guy trying to sell some USA/Finland hockey tickets. I was tempted to stay and try and get home later but with Mike's races Friday, I didn't want to risk not being able to get back to Whistler.
Before we left we went by the cauldron that holds the Olympic flame. It's positioned by the water and was packed with people viewing it. It's as majestic in real life as it is on television. The backdrop of the cauldron was filled with boats and sea planes on the water. And the giant white Olympic rings floating on a barge in the middle of the bay.
We loved Vancouver and we could have spent much more time there than we had. One thing we noticed was how friendly British Columbia is in general -- eco-friendly, dog-friendly and culturally friendly. Both of us could see ourselves living here. And as cozy and serene as Whistler is, we felt a sense of New York familiarity getting into the city of Vancouver and making our way through the steel and green glass buildings that somewhat resemble the land of Oz at times.
We are preparing for Mike's first four-man races Friday. We have high hopes and are going to cheer as loud as we can. Mike seems very calm, cool and collected for his final runs. He took one practice run and feels extremely confident about himself and his team. We are definitely all feeling a sense of collective optimism. Mike is representing all of us Friday and we are so proud and humbled by his hard work and dedication. The races Friday are at 4 p.m. (EST) but we understand they won't be shown on NBC until 8 p.m. So if you don't want to know the results, don't look online before you watch the races.