Olympic Ghost Town

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Just days away from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and no one is in town. In this bad economy, people either can't afford or are not interested in attending the event. You can even get tickets to some events from scalpers, priced at below the origial selling price, which is unheard of. This is just more evidence that the recession is getting worse, and not better as some might report.

One company that planned to use a Norwegian cruise ship as a floating hotel during the Vancouver Winter Olympics is scuttling the plan, stating slow sales and higher than anticipated expenses. Recently a UBC economist pointed out that there was no evidence of any good economic impact from the Olympics so far. "The construction jobs did create income prior to the games, however that was on the back of the taxpayers, and has yet to yield any return."

Vancouver has blocked off most of the downtown area, under the guise of security, but the real reason is to steer visitors through the Hudson's Bay store, where they can buy discounted Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games merchandise. Unfortunately, the only visitors at this time are the homeless from the Vancouver East side, followed by activists who are chasing the homeless in the hopes they will use some red tents as some kind of protest.

"Downtown is so quiet right now. You would have thought there would be more people around, since this is supposed to be a big international event," said one retailer who was upset about the lack of business.

In order to drum up support and to make use of the Olympics only lanes, a fleet of painted cars have been driving around as a sort of mobile billboard to promote Vancouver 2010. For the most part, the locals have not bought into the reason why these vehicles have been cruising around. "If they keep driving past our local school one more time, I'm calling the cops - their behavior just screams pedophiles or some crooks casing the joint," said one bystander.

On the Sea to Sky Highway, a checkpoint with machine gun towers is set up north of Squamish to discourage locals from going to their homes during the event. The premise is that if you can't afford to buy a ticket to see the games, you should not get to go home and see your kids or to feed the cat. Further evidence that the economy is wildly out of control.

Flight training schools in Vancouver are suffering due to being grounded due to a no-fly zone for the next two months. Many students, most of them coming all the way from places like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, were looking to learn how to fly large commercial aircraft at high speed and low altitudes, are going to be disappointed. "We will have to refund tuition deposits and send them home, once they are free from being detained," said one instructor.

Meanwhile, the costs are soaring way over budget, over $6 billion so far. Vancouver residents voted for the games, thinking "Yes, we'd rather spend $6 billion on the Olympics than on homelessness or literacy or a million other worthy projects." Strangely, only a handful of the tickets were purchased by locals. In fact, some residents wear T-shirts indicating their lack of interest.

Various ways of raising money to pay off the huge deficit that is caused by the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, such as selling off red mittens, and even selling off the podiums used for the games on eBay. I hope they get to use them first before they sell them.