Its inevitability has, for a decade now, been forced into my consciousness and my subconsciousness. It’s become a part of my Id, my Ego, and my Super-Ego. Its costs, benefits, politics and promise have permeated local news outlets since I first moved to Vancouver at the dawn of the 21st century. “It” is the XXI Olympic Winter Games and, in four days, “it” finally arrives in my downtown neighbourhood — on the very streets that I traverse each and every day.

There is a flurry of activity unlike anything I’ve seen before. Last minute construction projects seemingly exist on every corner and, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear that “construction worker chic” is this year’s haute couture — anyone not sporting a hardhat and tool belt is so “last year.”

Although the Olympic Games don’t open until this Friday, the tourism influx has begun en masse. Many streets are now closed to traffic — their sidewalks no longer able to contain the exuberant throngs of revellers.

Last year, in an article entitled ‘Tween the ‘Weens, I postulated that there was no greater day for a street photographer than Halloween. So sweet the ignorance of youth. For, in reality, Halloween is but a flickering candle compared to the magnificent luminosity of the Olympic torch. Look left, look right, look up or down — photo opportunities abound in every direction.

Perhaps, like the image above, a photo opportunity might appear within life’s simple moments — a glimpse of a gentleman struggling to contort himself into a snowboarding pose.

Or on a more global scale, as shown below, it might be Taiwanese First Lady, Chow Mei-ching and her entourage, touring the Lantern Forest and Sculpture Garden on Granville Street. Some of the sculptures are a bit avant-garde — a fact that, perhaps, should have been communicated in advance.

Maybe, as seen here, the photo opportunities will appear metaphorically. Fame, riches, and an early retirement await official Olympic mascots Quatchi, Miga, and Sumi. But for those mascots who, for one reason or another, failed to attract the attention of the International Olympic Committee, 2010 promises to be another tough year.

I’ve got my cameras. I’ve got my lenses. And I’ve got comfortable shoes. Let the games begin!

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©2010 grEGORy simpson

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