Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ollllllllympics!!! The Opening Ceremony :D

I love the Olympics. So many amazing people trying so hard, making their countries proud, flags and anthems and surprise victors coming from behind. And this time around I'm right in the middle of it all!

We had a table booked at a bar near London Bridge with a huge projection screen to watch the opening ceremony, so I turned up there at 6pm to find that one of our party had managed to scrounge a ticket to the actual ceremony. So we all complained about that for a while but decided that we'd probably get a better view, what with the cameras showing it all in close detail. I found a drink on the menu called a Pan-galactic Gargle-blaster, which was chocolate rather than lemon-flavoured and tasted like someone had shaved dark chocolate into it, though it looked like white wine. The bar also had a really good vegetarian platter with mozzarella and olives and sundried tomatoes and risotto balls which were absolutely delicious.

The place began to pack out and we fiercely defended the space in front of our chairs when people tried to block our view. At last the countdown started.... Fifty, forty-nine, forty-eight... We were very impressed by the visuals for each of the numbers, and the air was tingling as everyone shouted the countdown along with the screen. There were at least two hundred people inside, and more outside. You could hardly hear the commentators for the noise.

And then it was happening! I loved the dance moves from the men in top hats, and the huge chimneys rising out of the idyllic farms, and all the cameos from famous Britons. When Daniel Craig arrived at Buckingham Palace everyone was muttering 'please let it be the actual queen, please let it be the actual queen' and a huge cheer went up when it was. We sang along to the songs, clapped when Mary Poppins vanquished Voldemort and oohed at the fireworks.

And then came the teams!

There are an awful lot of teams. I love the opening ceremony procession, because everyone looks so proud to be representing their country, so happy to be actually at the Olympics after working so hard for so long, and so hopeful - everything is still to come, and anything could happen. I decided quite quickly that New Zealand should legally change its name to Aotearoa (see? Then we'd be almost first) but finally there was Nick Willis with the flag, and everyone behind him marching into the stadium to the roar of the crowd. Then we still had to wait for the other half of the world until Great Britain's entrance, which was pretty deafening in the middle of a crowd of English people.

It was awesome. I quite liked the fact that they said everything in French first, because I could understand most of it and I knew what was happening before everyone else did (heehee). I also liked the oaths from the representatives, some of whom looked extremely nervous as they did it and so relieved and proud afterwards. The lighting of the cauldron was beautiful. Hey Jude was the perfect song for the end, because everyone can sing along even if they've never heard it before and don't know the language (though I did think there were about four too many hey Judes...).

The whole thing finished at about one o'clock, which is usually too late to catch the tube home (stupid tubes finish at 12.45) but THEY ARE EXTENDING THE TUBE HOURS FOR THE OLYMPICS. This is amazing. They should do it every weekend. I'm also enjoying being able to grocery shop on Sunday evenings, which is usually impossible because everywhere shuts at 4 - but not during the Olympics!

It's the small things.

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