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Friday, February 24, 2006 

Torino: El Final

So it is time to say goodbye to Torino and my vacation. I'm ready to come home. The 5 day vacation was awesome. It was more than what I expected. If you were to ask me on February 1 where I would be on February 24, I would say San Jose, CA. Just being able to make it out here and check this city out was more than enough - all the events and activities that I did after I arrived were just bonus. Here's a recap of what I did:

Tuesday, 2/21
Arrived in Turino after barely making it to the Paris airport in time. I found my way into the city and I couldn't find out the apartment that I was to stay at for the rest of the week. I tried calling the apartment owner, but since it was early, nobody picked up. Luckily, I had the address and I found it - it was nowhere close to the designated spot the owner told me to meet him.
After settingling in, I roamed around the city. Like I mentioned before, the city is more disorganized than what I would expect an Olympic host city would be. I checked out the Olympic shops, the main streets and plazas, the vendors and anything else that looked interesting.
I decided to go to the speed skating arena to see if I could get in. Remember, I came here with no event tickets. I got off the bus and I was offerred a seat near face value. Since I thought the ticket value would go down I let it go. The ticket value didn't go down, but it was significiantly higher - first to $120 then to $150 then to $200 all from $100. Sad to say, I didn't get to go. It was sad because I missed a close event where 2 Americans medaled. I then made it over to the hockey arena with a new strategy. I gave it a valiant effort to get tickets at a fair price, but I eventually submitted to the scalpers for $80 which is 2x's face. It was sad to pay that price, but the event was good and the seat was fairly decent. I later went back to the apartment where I met the rest of my flat mates. I earlier met Mohammed, Pike and Lisa, but I later met Rita.

Wednesday, 2/22
I pretty much hung out all day with Rita. We went to the market, took a train to the mountains to watch a little bit of the snowboard event, went back to town and found 2 great sponsor's seats to the Short Track Speedskating at face value. We saw a few crashes, Apollo Anton Ohno's victory and a disputed bronze medal by the Italians. We topped it off with a nice Italian dinner.

Thursday, 2/22
Not knowing exactly what I was going to do, I started to focus in on the figure skating event. I wasn't sure how to go about it, but I knew I really wanted to go. I ended up going to an online ticket site and bought an inflated ticket, but it was worth it going to the premier Winter Olympic's event. We ended the night by partying with the whole apartment gang (Alessandro, Giacamo, Pike, Lisa, Rita, Julio & Mohammed) in the apartment until 5am with a couple bottles of with. Rita & Lisa were taking off early on Friday to make their flights.

Friday, 2/23
It's pretty sad that everybody is getting ready to leave. The last few days were so much fun. If I had the choice, I would leave today just keep the level of excitement at it's peak - always wanting more. So today I will check out the steeple, the vendor's tables, the Today show and maybe the hockey match and medal's cremony.

Although the vacation is not at an absolute end (I still have Chicago this weekend), I'm content with everything. I spent a lot of money that wasn't budgeted in, but it was definitely worth it. I'll have to make a few sacrifices in the coming months to recover from this, but that's not a problem. I always thought life was about accumulation of money or items - being rich or the most powerful person, but its days like this week that define what life is all about. I probably will not run into these guys again together - maybe one or two here and there, but it was fate that brought everybody here this week to enjoy these few days. I still can't believe everything. It's so unreal. It was so much fun.