Vancouver Winter Olympics torch relay—an area woman’s opinion
Day 1 (Feb 12)
Overnight, Louise Papais went from a virulent anti-Olympics stance to totally pro.
I talked to Ms. Papais, a life-long East Van resident, about her (failed) attempt to see the Olympic torch. She was calling after having just seen a herd of protesters on Commercial Drive.
SC: Are the protesters still –
LP: No that’s only Commercial. They got rid of those clowns, they couldn’t get far on foot. These guys are on foot too… you know what I’m thinking, there was never any way they were ever going to go to Commercial. They knew they were going to have trouble on Commercial.
I mean they had trouble already in Gastown, where that Victory Square is. The protesters were there but those were professional protesters. I know this because I’m reading people’s comments below my screen and people are saying those are the usual 200 professional protesters that go out to everything. Our protesters here were like scrubbos, like kids. Not kids, but they weren’t like PETA people. Or what is that law firm for people who are beaten up by police…
LP: Yes. PIVOT or Greenpeace or something. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah. I’m thinking if they already diverted to Clark, I’m betting they just did that to throw the protesters off their track for awhile. They knew they were going to be on Commercial. Of course they did. I’m just guessing. And that’s where the police were on all those streets blocking them, the protesters had to run down an alley but it was too late for them. Good luck. It was all over for me. My mom and [sister] Lilian saw it though. [bitter]
LP: Who left the house at 9 a.m. Yep. I said “Mom, it’s not even in Strathcona, you guys may as well stay home, there’s no point in going to First Avenue.” Then every time I phoned her when I was on Commercial saying it’s not coming she was like “Oh no, we gotta go, it’s coming now.” “No it’s not.” But it did. They saw it. They got it on First Avenue.
SC: They saw it and you didn’t.
LP: Why didn’t I just watch it on webcam the whole time! [Gasps] I could’ve watched it on – oh yeah – I could’ve seen it in my neighbourhood not go to my neighbourhood! What a dumbass! That’s so stu – even Katherine [her friend] who’s anti-Olympics saw it!
SC: You could’ve what?
LP: I could’ve watched it on my webcam and seen it go by Commercial and not go up Commercial and seen it go down First where I live! But no, I had to walk around in my clogs. And get dirty. I’m so irate. It’s awful, it’s awful out there. I was anti-Olympics ’til yesterday.
Now Katherine’s mad at me because she thinks you can’t just jump the fence. I go why not? I go yes I can. She goes, you can’t do that. [Scoffs] What do you mean I can’t do that, I just did it! I am over the fence! I said I’m getting those hats, I guess you don’t want one. She said “You’re just trying to bug me.” Actually I’m not, but okay.
I want to get opening ceremony tickets but they’re a thousand and they’re not selling them anymore. I’m really gung ho on the Olympics now. Well what’s the point of worrying about it now? I mean, they’re already taking 10 million out of the people who have no money’s program. Katherine was saying, “you know how many cutbacks they’re having?” I said “Katherine, they cutback anyway, it doesn’t matter, they’re always going to cutback.” She goes, “Yeah but they’re cutting programs for the mentally ill.” I go, “Katherine, they cut those programs 10 years ago, they closed all those hospitals a long time ago. They don’t have any programs for the mentally ill anymore.” Honestly. Come on. Anyway. Do you know how much a torch costs?
I could do an Olympics column for two weeks!
SC: I’m recording this, so it is going to be a column.
LP: Each torch is $400. Do you know how many people had a torch? 13,000! ‘kay. That’s a lot of torches. I’ve got inside information now. I’ve also got inside information on what’s going to happen in the Opening Ceremonies. ‘Cos I know all the people on the in.
SC: Do you want to be the Olympics correspondent?
LP: Just wait. Where am I going to go to get the information? Just the way I get it now?
LP: Yeah, all right. We’ll see how long it lasts. Probably only two times.
SC: I’m going to want another report later.
LP: I know, I know I know how long they carry it. All these questions I wondered about I got answered by people in the know.
SC: Who are the people in the know?
LP: I’m not going to tell. I won’t get everyone in trouble. Well one of them is ___. She’s got the inside information about tonight’s ceremony but I have to ask her about that first. I’ll call you back on that one, ‘cos that’s happening tonight.