Since my last post, the Olympics have officially arrived! I was back in the States hosting my cousin’s bridal shower this past weekend so I apologize for the delay in posting this, but there has been a lot of news from over here that I am eager to share, as usual.
Tuesday, July 24th’s paper: The German liner MS Deutschland moored in West India Dock arrived last Tuesday as the home of many German and other tourists during the Games. It is based on the American show The Love Boat, which can cost up to £3,400 for three nights. Also docked in Canary Wharf are Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse as I mentioned before, Bill Gates’ Gogypus, and privately owned cruise ship Calendonia Sky which will host private parties until August 13. As you can see, it barely fits and is almost comical in how giant it is.
Fifty “VVIPs” (very, very important people) had the best seats at the opening ceremony on Friday. These included IOC chief Jacques Rogge (obviously), the Queen (obviously), the Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson, and the Olympics high command, which all had the inner sanctum of the grandstand at the stadium. The stadium was also packed with other less VVIPs but still VIPs, including Michelle Obama, Brazil’s first woman prime minister Dilma Rousseff, the Azerbaijani president, Bahrain’s Prince, and the Rwandan president. Michele Obama is staying at the US Ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park during her time over here.
The Brits only had nice things to say about the US outfits designed by Ralph Lauren, mentioning that the athlete’s resting attire features retro motifs from the 1948 Games in London along with USA emblems, which got “full marks for patriotism.” 🙂
Monday, July 30th’s paper: Not sure if you’ve noticed on TV or not, but there are a whole bunch of empty seats at a whole bunch of events. Which makes me a little mad since we were told that tickets had been sold seven times over in the initial offering and I was totally convinced I would never get equestrian tickets. I have since checked the official ticketing website http://www.tickets.london2012.com and every few hours they put a new batch on sale. For instance right now as I’m writing this, there are tickets to TOMORROW’S equestrian jumping event! Super annoying. Anyway…
Apparently VIPs think they are too VI to show up to some of the best events, including gymnastics. The London 2012 chiefs have apparently reduced dignitaries and press seats to equestrian, swimming, beach volleyball, and handball and have given then to the public. Hooray for that.
This is a photo of a district line train on the way to the Olympic Park. As you can see, it is not full. If you remember, I said that there were tons of ads and coverage about staying out of the Tube system during the Olympics because the crowds would be horrible. I guess not.
If you saw the opening ceremony as I did (I actually watched it “live” on four hour tape delay in the States, and also recorded back here in the UK), you will probably find this interesting. I love that the big names did it just to be a part of it and show the world how cool their home is. Oh and by the way, the BBC coverage was 100 times better than the NBC coverage. Seriously Meredith Viera, did you need to announce like it was a parade? The BBC presenters said very little and let the ceremony speak for itself.
Again, more naughty VIPs. Love the mentioned Twitter feed though, http://twitter.com/OlympicSeat. “I feel so empty.” Haha.
A walkabout it basically walking around, for those that haven’t hung around any Australians lately. William and Kate and Harry attended the cross country phase of the Eventing at Greenwich Park and just sat in the stands to avoid people mobbing them. If you’ve never been to see a cross country phase, you can walk around the whole course pretty much, out in the grass next to the jumps and stuff. It is so much better than sitting in the stadium watching it on the screen and just seeing the two jumps that they had in the ring. But sadly for them, they had to watch Zara Phillips compete from their little secure special stand area because people get crazy. I know if I had seen them out walking around the course and sitting in the grass like the rest of us, I would have admired from afar and not interrupted. Why do people get so weird about celebrities, seriously? I like them just as much as the next person but they are still people.
I absolutely loved the James Bond/Queen Elizabeth video spot during the opening ceremony. It was hysterical and I was shocked that the Queen agreed to be a part of it and let a video crew and Daniel Craig into Buckingham Palace to shoot. So, so cool. According to this article, it took a BBC film crew of 130 people to get the five minute sequence. The filming in the principle study in the Palace was squeezed into three house on Sunday, March 27. The film was directed by the same person who put together the whole ceremony, Danny Boyle, and I thought it showcased the best of Britain excellently. It made me smile 🙂
Team GB won silver in the equestrian Eventing! I was glued to the TV and thought they did an excellent job and Zara Phillips became the first royal to win an Olympic medal. Too bad the US didn’t do nearly as well.
There has been lots of complaining from shop owners that their profits have been hit hard because there is no one in central London, thanks to all the warnings for locals to stay away. There has now been announcement on the Tube that states that there is lots of nightlife and restaurants and sights to see in London and to take advantage of them, which has replaced the announcement from Mayor Boris saying not to get caught out and not to use the Tube and not to drive around. Uh oh. Hotel rates have also been slashed, with one from £400 a night if booked during the hype months ago, now down to £150 because many rooms have not been filled thanks to warnings that it would be very busy. Guess I’m just gonna have to get out on the town this weekend to see what it’s really like.
NBC Fail has made its way across the pond. The Evander Holyfield blunder was highlighted, with a reporter interviewing him and not recognizing him, and it also mentions the other criticisms NBC has come under, including the many hour tape delay for the opening ceremony and for showing athletes winning medals before they were even broadcast. I’d just like to say that being over here and watching it live as it happens makes all the difference in the world NBC…
Thursday, August 2nd’s paper: A patisserie in Soho that is the oldest in London is saying that business has been extremely quiet since the start of the Games. They’ve asked for the Mayor to come to their shop to draw in business instead. More evidence that all the locals got the heck out of town thanks to all the warnings, which I agree were very strong and made it sound like half of the world’s population would be in the same Tube carriage with you.
BBC is getting good marks from viewers, and I have to agree like I said before. The lady on the right, Clare Balding, has a 15 hour day from 5:00 am to 9:30 pm and has managed to do a pretty great job. She isn’t my favorite presenter and I really hate her haircut, but she does have good chemistry with the other presenters that she sits with and she also plays around with the stuffed lion mascot on the ledge behind her 🙂
I guess a nickname for the BBC is Auntie for some reason. Anyway, it mirrors what I said before but what I found most interesting was the very last paragraph, where it states that the BBC are still waiting for a big gaffe like has happened to NBC, when Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira had problems recognizing the internet’s creater Sir Tim Berners-Lee in the opening ceremony and told people to “Google him”. Yes, I was watching that when it aired back in the States and it was so painful. Way to dumb it down.