The Torch, The Traveling Penguin and The Olympic Superstore

Our first item of business on Friday was seeing the longest torch relay in Olympic history. The torch spent 106 days on the road with 12,000 torchbearers who covered 45,000 kilometres of the sprawling Canadian landscape and visited 1,036 communities 300 metres that may be done on foot, in wheelchairs, canoes and dog sleds in rural and urban settings, in snow, sleet and extreme Arctic cold.

Not bad for a 3.5-pound torch.

The previous evening, I was introduced to my official entourage (Anthony (Microsoft Office’s PR Manager a.k.a. “The Godfather”), Robin (He Who Has Every Important Person On Speed-Dial)and his videography crew Rich and Brandon (The Stalkers).

The latter three men have been assigned the dubious task of filming Microsoft Office ’10′s technology in action. That’s not the dubious part.

The dubious part is that I’m the one putting it to action and my every move is being recorded.

Let’s get something straight: I’m not shy. But I’ve also never been the star of my own reality series and the constant attention has made me cognizant of just how ineloquent I can be.

Though I like their description better: “You have a lot of energy.”

We joined the jubilant crowds to cheer the torch bearer while basking in the revelries of the maple-leaf-adorned spectators.

Olympic parade followed by the torch bearers

The Olympic Torch Bearer looks like I was going to swipe his torch. Maybe I was.

From there, we hit the streets, wandering around downtown Vancouver.

We checked out the countdown to The Games clock in the B.C. Pavilion where Rich instructed me to walk by the fountain and ruefully look at the water. OK, so maybe he never actually said “ruefully.”

But if he had, you’d better believe I’d have known how to deliver after all the acting practice I’ve been getting.

We visited Robson Square where we chatted with a young hockey team who had been torch bearers. As we were leaving, a plastic penguin-toting couple stopped me in my tracks. Turns out, The Traveling Penguin has accompanied them to 26 countries thus far.

I tried to console myself that a flightless bird has somehow flown the coup more than me.

The true highlight of the morning was visiting the 21,000-square-foot Olympic Superstore located in the Hudson’s Bay Company. The line to get in stretched down the block and upon being granted entry, we bee-lined it for the hot-ticket item at the Olympics: The Hallowed Maple Leaf Mitten. These warm little numbers are priced at just $10 a pop and the demand is great. So great that as of Friday (before the Olympics had even began), they had sold 2.6 million.

Buying out the Olympic mittens

Rich, Anthony and Robin contributed to at least half of total sales.

Olympic Superstore

In my next update: My golden ticket to the Opening Ceremony.

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