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Tag: Olympics (page 1 of 3)

Biking is my drug. And spiritual fix.

Lots of articles have been written about the psychological and physiological benefits of cycling and I can attest to many of those claims. But I think what people speak of, with not just cycling, but with various sports or activities, is that there’s a spiritual element to it.

While different people have different ways to experience that, I’ve learned over the years that often how I “recharge my soul” is through participating in activities that have the sensation of “gliding”, such as swimming, cycling, sailing, skiing, etc.

Several friends have commended me on how I’m able to ride so much, but the to me cycling is like a drug. A narcotic. A Candy Crush on two wheels. Once I get off the saddle, I begin thinking of when I can get on again. It’s addictive, and annoying my wife, but I’m sure other fellow cyclists can understand. It’s easy to get on when you come back refreshed and recharged.

People do mention and talk about that experience on the bike and of riding, but the concept of spirituality in recreation has been muted in this era of Christianity. Here’s one book that I’ve heard of several years ago that attempts to share how skiing can be such a refresher:

But it sounds like some Catholics have it down.

This Franciscan friar living at Huntingdon Beach shares a lot of experiencing God at the beach in this article.

And glad that Pope Benedict is quoted as seeing the recreational experience as a natural part of experiencing God.
“Skiing is practiced in a mountain environment, an environment which in a special way makes us feel small, giving back to us the right dimension of our being creatures,” he said. “It makes us capable of asking ourselves about the meaning of creation, of looking above, of opening ourselves to the Creator.”

Man, it’d be rad to go on a ski trip with the Pope. And shoot the breeze. If I was hanging with Pope Francis, I’d be “Yo, Pope Fran, did you take your Harley up to this resort? What say we go chill at the hot tub now then go feed the poor afterwards? Wanna play Candy Crush?”

So what recreations help you refresh your soul? Feel free to jot below.

I’ll end this post with this recent video about former KART and F1 race car driver Alex Zanardi, and how he started cycling. His quote regarding his winning of the 2012 Para-Olympic gold medal: “I won because I wanted to ride my bicycle.” Amen.

Eating well at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games

Right,

So you’ve decided to come to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics to experience the best athletes in the world compete in the hallows of winter. You plan on taking in all the sights and sounds that this super, natural city has to offer. While the beauty of the mountains, or the sounds of the outdoors make wish you moved here 10 years earlier, don’t make the mistake of leaving out your poor taste buds from indulging alongside you. Yes, Vancouver is your destination for ensuring that your stomach chimes in to say, “I, too, want to heart Vancouver.”

Don’t bother with guide books to provide you the way to abdominal enlightenment. When it comes to consuming true local delights. The best thing to do is to find a Vancouverite who can lead you to the right direction. What? Me? Why… I thought you’d never ask. So let me help educate you in the details of experience some of the finer restaurants in Vancouver.

Canadian
What food do most people think of when they think of Canada? It’s either Maple syrup or Canadian ham, right? Um, yah, if you believe everything that’s on TV. To really indulge in the Vancouver experience, you definitely have to grab a burger and milkshake at White Spot. Established in Vancouver, this is truly comfort food to visitors with a West Coast splash to your tastebuds.
Tim Hortons is woven into the fabric of Canadian culture, interwined with hockey and communities above the 49th parallel. Donuts and coffee reign supreme here, but make sure you grab some TIMBITS before you head out to watch your next event (word is that foreign delegations have been served Timbits)

Chinese – Better Than the Real Thing
So, as most Washingtonians already know, Vancouver is the home of some of the world’s best Chinese food. “How’s that possible?” you may ask? Well you can thank to the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chinese who have immigrated to Vancouver over the last 30 years. Cooks from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China have made it easy to find good eats in basically all regions of the Lower Mainland. The general rule of thumb is that if it’s Chinese, it’s generally pretty decent (that’s because crappy places wouldn’t have survived in this competitive market), but I’ll point out a few worth treating yourself to.
Chinese Fine Dining: Kirin prepares some of the best seafood the Chinese have to offer. You’ll be spending a pretty penny, but you’ll get what you pay for.
Dim Sum: What eating extravaganza is complete without Chinese Dim Sum? Sun Sui Wah and Kirin (see above) serve up some of the tastiest. If you don’t know what dim sum is, take a look here and get ready to indulge!
24hr dining: So you’ve just finished your apres-party and your stomach is growling. Not to worry, No. 9 Restaurant in Richmond serves it up 24/7.
Bubble Tea: If you thought the cafe market was strong in your hometown, well, you’ll be right at home in Vancouver, with a twist. Bubble tea is the de facto drink in Vancouver. Brought over from the Taiwanese, and combined with the availability of fresh fruit here, you’ve got some of the best in the world. My favorite is Dragonball Tea House. Don’t let the small interior fool you. Drop by here at 10pm and you’ll see a lineup of people stopping by to take out after their evening activities. In Richmond, just drive down Alexandra Road, close your eyes, spin around and point. You should see a bubble tea store in front of you.

Japanese Food – The Chinese Way
Vancouver’s downtown is home to more Japanese sushi bars and ramen noodle houses than Starbucks. Go figure. Sitting in the Georgia Strait seafood can’t get any fresher. And who else to capitalize on this? Yes, the Chinese (and honorable mention to the Koreans) have done it again! There aren’t many other places in the world where you’ll find so many sushi buffets at where you can eat to your heart’s content. You’ll also find sushi in downtown on almost every other corner. While the majority are pretty tasty (how can pieces of raw, succulent fish not be??), finding ones run by the Japanese would be a plus. I’ll comment on one in my next section later.
Fusion: Japadog, you’ll find this located downtown, and you’ll finally get to experience what all the publicity has been about their special hotdogs…

Steveston
Located in the southwest corner of Richmond was once a fishing village and cannery and has now become one of the best places to get good eats while enjoying the ocean view.

For years this place has been famous for its fish & chips. Pajo’s serves its fish and fries the way it was meant to: wrapped in newspaper. Many of the other restaurants nearby also serve similar offerings (with indoor seating and better ambience). And if you have a hankering, walk less than 3 minutes to get to Timothy’s frozen yogurt which has been a cornerstone in Steveston for years.

Steveston was also home to one of the earlier Japanese settlements, so, guess what? There are some pretty authentic japanese restaurants such as Ichiro that are worth enjoying after an afternoon stroll.

Other Specialities
La Casa Gelato – if you had to go to one place for ice cream, this is it. Not a franchise by design, with over 508 flavors in stock and 218 available at any one time, this is as close as you get to dairy heaven. And yes, they also have a fine selection on non-dairy ice cream as well. Oh, and by the way, did I mention free tasting before you buy???

Of course, Vancouver isn’t without other fine dining. Cioppino’s serves wonderful Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Vij’s serves modern Indian food takes no reservations, so get there early to get a seat.
Chop is also a favorite for fine steaks. Ambience inside is amazing, and the sirloin and prime ribs will make you wish you could have both in one sitting. Or I could be wrong, and you can…

Further Reference:
Well, I hope that gives you a good overview of how to blow a gastric gasket during the Olympics. For more dining ideas, please check out dinehere.ca for more restaurant reviews and descriptions. Or leave a note on what you think is worth going to! Bon appetit!

Farewell Beijing..

If you didn’t get a chance to catch the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it’s too bad. Personally, I usually don’t care too much about closing ceremonies, and I figure most people won’t be watching either. However, I must say the artistry of it all was hard to forget. I loved the guys with the climbing harnesses, dressed in half silver half red, climbing up this steel beam tower, looked like ants. At one point they were able to position themselves to represent roses blooming, which was amazing. At the end, it got cheesy with all the singers and dancers coming out, proving the fact that Hong Kong/Taiwan has produced most of the famous singers with the likes of Jackie Chan (well, part-time singer), Andy Lau, Kelly Chen, and Leehom.

But if you were to go back to re-visit some of the can’t miss events of the Olympics, here is my top 5 list:

  1. Opening Ceremonies – someone mentioned to me that it would be hard to think of another live performance in history that would be able to top this…
  2. 4×100 free relay final – 46.06 by Jason Lezak on the last leg for the Americans. That is by far the most insane swim time a most heated race, helping Phelps get a gold, and setting a WR in the process. Instant classic.
  3. Men’s 100m dash – I don’t think we can fully appreciate how fast someone who is 6-5, and runs like a madman, but Usain Bolt did it. The 200m also ranks up there as well, with him taking down Michael Johnson’s long-standing record.

Had to add this. Insanely stupid move in the Olympics:
Loser of Taekwondo match goes and kicks referee. Kids, please do not do this at home, or anywhere else.

And other sports/non-sports highlights from ESPN here and CBC here and here.

Overall, it was a great Games, lots of fun, can’t wait for Vancouver 2010.

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