Today was a day to travel around Vancouver and see some of the entertainment around town during the Winter Olympics. Vancouver has been bustling with excitement for locals, tourists and even a lot of attractions for kids. Today I started off with a visit to my favorite mall in North Vancouver where a stage was set up outdoors with a giant TV screen showing a few different Olympic events: skiing and curling.
The stage was set for a relaxing morning with a cappuccino and a Cohiba Lanceros. I stopped into a local coffee haven for folks from North Van and picked up a double espresso and chose a chair well away from mothers, children and the “pain in the butt” non-smokers. When I went to my humidor this morning I found a Lanceros with a silky claro wrapper and knew that the choice would be perfect for what I had in store… But….. I had no idea that events would unfold that would almost cause me to forget that I was smoking one of the most popular Cuban cigars ever rolled.
The first sign of trouble was a sign reading “Free Pizza” that hung proudly in the middle of this closed off open air area in front of a few shops. Usually anything free will attract more than your usual passers by but the crowd that started lining up for the breakfast treat was anything but polite and patient and the sizable german shepherd tied to a bicycle a few feet from the lineup was about to lead the charge in the rude department. A few pre light draws revealed easy air movement , which gave me a bit of relief since these cigars can have the odd construction issue due to their thinner format. I haven’t run into big problems as a rule but now and then slight issues appear. Everything was going well when I clipped the cap off my cigar and applied my torch to the foot, the first few puffs told me that I should take my time because this is the time that cigars are a tad harsh. We all know that they need a moment or two to get into their stride. The pizza line was moving smoothly as well but the trouble started when someone dropped their free slice. The German Shepherd made a dash for HIS free snack, dragging the bike, which caused quite a lovely metallic scraping sound on the pavement. Someone thought it would be a good idea to pull the dog away from the lineup by the bike which caused a yelp to erupt from the canine and the dog and bike’s owner appeared.
The cigar was revealing a strong Cohiba grassy taste combined with a subtle bean flavor that, I knew, would strengthen as well into the first third. The dog and bike’s owner decided to push the man who had the bike’s rear wheel in his hand and the poor guy fell back into a large family of children. Now we have crying children, two angry men ( one father and one dog owner) and one very angry guy who was hell bent for revenge. Next thing that happened was that the pizza company ran out of fresh slices and announced that a few minutes of patience would be required while they went into their restaurant for more.
Alcohol must have been playing a part in this drama because some very strong language was thrown about which seemed to irritate a few mothers holding their children. So now we have a barking dog, angry mothers, an angry dog and bike owner and hungry people starting a chant of ” hurry up hurry up” towards the restaurant. The coffee I was drinking went well with the Lanceros and I was feeling that this may have been one of my more entertaining mornings in an otherwise sleepy neighborhood. The cops showed up!
Things mellowed out in the line-up when more pizza appeared but this was a growing crowd that obviously showed up with a big appetite. They ran out of pizza again and I started to hear sirens and more cops showed up, this time with a paddy wagon. There was a police dog (another German Shepherd) that started barking at the already agitated dog which made the dog owner throw a few obscenities towards the law enforcement officials. The cigar was really starting to taste great when a mother pushing a stroller over in my direction decided that shrieking at me about the foul smell in the air, ruining the whole Olympic spirit. I told her that this was a job for the cops!!
Things got out of hand when a kid wearing a white chef’s hat( who obviously worked for the pizza joint) took down the free pizza sign. The crowd didn’t like that at all … More yelling, more barking, more shrieking about my cigar and I felt that I had died and gone to Heaven. This was an incredible Cohiba and I wasn’t about to put it out… Do you think I’m crazy?? I knew that the cops had their hands full with an unruly mob and so I let the irate mother and now crying kid in the stroller get all of this angst off her chest as I leisurely sipped my coffee and noticed the cigar moving nicely into the second third. Now the “dog and bike” owner was face down on the ground as the cuffs were being applied to his wrists when a folding chair was tossed into the window of the pizza joint. Strong glass and no damage…. But….. More cuffs came out and the inside of paddy wagon was starting to see a few more new faces. The rain started coming down and I decided that it was time to make my way over to the car for the quick drive home.
I love the fact that our city has this much world attention and I’m happy about our athlete’s medals so far. I’m also happy that there are a record number of law enforcement officials from all over Canada in our city, taking care of business whenever the free food runs out!