Flaming down Broadway
I’ll expand this entry more later on tonight with pictures and such, but last night the Olympic Torch relay came through Seattle. I’d already checked the route maps provided by the Seattle Times and King 5 and seen that the route was scheduled to go within a block of my apartment at about 5:45pm! Since the walk home from work only takes about 20 minutes, I knew I’d be home in time to wander down and watch the relay come by.
Just before 5:45 I left the Shoebox and wandered down the hill to Pike Street. There were already a few other people standing on the corner of Pike and Boylston waiting for the relay to come by, and we chatted off and on for the next few mintues as we waited. Round about 6-ish or so some trucks came by handing out noisemakers for us to play with as the runner came by, so we each grabbed a few and kept waiting. And waiting. Apparently the procession wasn’t exactly keeping to schedule.
By 6:15 or so we were getting a bit chilly — though the temperature last night was in the mid-30′s, which isn’t too bad, there was a fairly constant wind that made things a bit colder — when a couple ladies came by selling t-shirts. We asked them if they knew how far along the runner was, and they said that he was still working his way through downtown Seattle! At that point, we all decided that a stop by the Rosebud to warm up sounded like a good idea, and off we went. I grabbed a table right by the street so I could keep an eye on the crowds still gathering along Pike Street to get a feel for when things were coming our way, and nursed a very nice Malibu Rum and Coke.
It was probably around 6:30 or so when we noticed that the news helicopters were now hovering almost directly overhead (side note: even when you know they’re news choppers, it’s a wee bit disconcerting to be able to look in the sky and see three hovering helicopters with spotlights trained in your general direction), and a few minutes after that people on the street started pointing down the hill. Everyone waiting in the Rosebud took that as our clue, and headed out to the street.
I hadn’t known this before, never having seen the Torch relay before, but it’s not done with one runner from start to finish through each town. Rather, they have multiple runners, each one carrying a torch for a short distance, at the end of which the flame is passed on to the next runner with their own torch for the next leg. As it turns out, they were switching runners just a block before the Pike/Broadway intersection, so I was able to get a couple shots of the new runner getting ready to go, the passing of the flame, and then the previous runner getting his congratulations. It was a pretty cool thing to be able to see — I’ll try to get my pictures up this evening.