Sitting on a media bus every day going back and forth between the rink, you develop a certain connection with the people and places you pass along the way.
There's the old Asian man arranging the fruit on the stands outside the produce market. The sweaty people riding stationary bikes in the window of the fitness center one floor above a doughnut shop. The panhandler who patrols the same corner every day, rain or shine. They have all become a part of my Olympic experience.
“You can see a lot just by observing.”
It wouldn't be a bona fide sporting event if I didn't quote Yogi Berra at least once.
You can't swing a dead cat in Vancouver these days without hitting someone wearing a powder blue jacket. That's the official uniform for the 25,000 volunteers who seem to be everywhere in this city, performing a variety of tasks from the mundane to the critical.
The overwhelming majority are incredibly nice and completly competent. Then there are those who stood their posts at or around the BC Place, site of last night's Opening Ceremony.
I remember a scene from The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy stood at the precipice of the haunted woods reading a sign that read, "I'd turn back if I were you." Dorothy wasn't smart enough to heed the warning, and neither am I.
One of the most obvious differences between the Vancouver Games and the previous Olympics I've covered is just how painless it has been to pass through security at the various venues.
With so much time spent waiting around for media buses to arrive or depart, the smart journalists use the down time to transcribe notes, write stories, think up interview questions or catch up on sleep that is always in short supply.
Sometimes it's even good to strike up a conversation with someone from another country.
Yesterday, another scheduling snafu with the buses left me with an hour to wait outside the bus stop outside the UBC Thunderbird Arena, where the U.S. Women's Team had just finished practicing.
I've only been in Vancouver a few hours and already I feel like I know the city like the back of my hand. That's because our media bus driver cruised up and down most main streets in Vancouver, and a few side streets, more than a few times.
You can't imagine the feeling of helplessness when you cruise past your hotel for the second time. Trying to get my Olympics off to a good start I resisted the overwhelming urge to yell out, "Hey Nimrod, stop the bus!" So I drove around for an extra hour and was rewarded for my patience by being the last media type to be dropped off.
My Vancouver trip is off to a rousing start. After locking myself out of the house at 6:15 this morning, I arrived at the airport and found that my luggage was five pounds overweight. The good news is that now I'm the proud owner of a new carry-on bag. Sure beats paying $150 in extra charges.
The 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. are just around the corner and the best hockey players in the world are on their way to duke it out for the gold.
USA Hockey Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Harry Thompson is on his way as well to give you a look beyond the news articles and press releases you'll see everywhere else. Follow Harry on his daily blog as he reaches Vancouver, explores the city, chats with 2010 Olympians and much more.