By the second weekend of the 2010 Winter Olympics, we were hesitant to venture out into the chaos of the downtown core of Vancouver, BC. Last weekend had been fraught with long lineups, crankiness, and sore feet, though we had enjoyed the camaraderie with strangers.
We maintained good cheer as we entered the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Burrard Street. Who should we see first, but Wayne Gretzky in person. Being good Canadians, we only glanced at him, before leaving him to his own devices.
We headed up to the second floor where the Korean Pavilion was located. We arrived, with nary a lineup in sight. One of the hostesses welcomed us and said the Pavilion opened in half an hour. We meandered around the hotel for a bit, but were worried that a lineup would grow, and neither of us were willing to wait for any great length of time.
We headed back to the Pavilion, with a small lineup ahead of us. The Pavilion was open, and we were one of the first couples to enter!
At the entrance we were greeted by the Korean delegate. I was handed a beautiful hand made paper calendar. I graciously thanked the hostess, and picked up a brochure announcing PyeongChang’s bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Inside was a huge video screen, covering the entire length of the ballroom, displaying beautiful images of Korea, and their Olympic athletes. The floor was carpeted in the softest plush. My feet felt wonderful. Perhaps this would have been the definitive retreat at the end of a long day. We were handed “Visit Korea Year’ round button pins.
I traded one of my Vanoc skier pins for a lovely Korean Delegation pin, with both Korean and Canadian flags on it.
We saw two awesome computer table screens where you could play with the photos, by rotating, moving, and resizing them. A great toy to have at home at the supper table, though parents might get frustrated if the kids didn’t stop playing long enough to eat.
I spotted a hostess pouring drinks, so I strolled over and picked up a couple cups of lemonade. We sipped them at a small round table set with bar stool chairs. What a lovely idea to be able to sip a refreshing drink, while resting for a bit.
The Pavilion was not crowded at all, it was serene and relaxing, a change from the chaos of the streets.
When we finished our refreshments, we headed over to an acupressure station. Here we learned about the different pressure points of the hands and which related to specific parts of the body. Massaging certain points on your right hand can help you manage your health issues. We used hand sanitizer, and took a place in front of a relaxing hand massage machine.
I placed my hands inside, until my palms rested on a round ball. The hostess pressed the on button, and I receiving a relaxing hand massage. When I removed my hands, my headache had virtually gone! I felt great! When we questioned the demonstrators, we were told that when the machines are available in Canada, they will retail for $800 to $1,000. I’m sure we were all sold by that point!
The second station was a demonstration of print making. Participants were assisted in making their own paper print, which they were allowed to take home with them, as a souvenir of their experience.
Twice a day the Pavilion had a live show. At 2 p.m. the show started. Amidst the varied images on the multi-media screen, lights, and music, the Korean dance troupe entertained us. They displayed flexibility, acrobats, and humour. They were a hit, staying around at the end of their performance, so we could take photos.
The Korean Pavilion was such a relaxing experience, that if we head to downtown Vancouver again, we will be sure to have another Korean mini vacation.
With the graciousness of the Korean hostesses, and the talent of their Olympic team, amidst the beautiful setting of Korea, I heartily hope that they win the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.