Sunday, August 5, 2012

London 2012 With Beantown Prep

Remember that miserable post I wrote the other week about how the Olympics were a nightmare for London and Londoners?  Well, I really did mean it when I published it.  But then Romney went over and questioned the readiness of the city and the enthusiasm of the people and I got mad.  I got territorial.  You can't say those things about my home, you [expletive] [expletive]! So then I pulled up my socks and got proud - proud of London and proud of Londoners.  And you know what?  London has been phenomenal.

Since I'm not actually there - though, hand on heart, I will eat my words and say that I wish I were there - I asked Melissa to tell you what it's like to be in the middle of the 2012 Olympics.  Read on for her response!

From the Metro, to the Guardian and the Telegraph... All that us Londoners, and those of us within the commuter belt, have heard for months on end from literally every news outlet is that London during the Olympics was certain to be, for a lack of a better phrase, an absolute shit show.

So last Friday when the Opening Ceremony day had arrived, I steeled myself for the mayhem that would be commuting to my office on Fleet Street. See, I had the good fortune of going into London for the big Flotilla during the Queen's Jubilee. The train we took in was so packed that I almost had a claustrophobic meltdown. PB and I were absolutely pressed up against each other with a thousand of our closest friends in a train car, the tempature of which must have been approximately 102 degrees farenheit. I thought if that was any indication of the coming Olympic-mania, as I have dubbed it, I was in for a LONG two weeks. So back to last Friday...

I caught an earlier train just to try out walking to my office (I used to take a bus) and was shocked to board a 95% empty train. When I disembarked at Waterloo I was even more shocked to find a quiet station. I realized that it WAS only 7AM and it was ONLY the day of the opening ceremony... but I was still suprised.

So one week in, and what are my thoughts? My thought daily is... What on EARTH was the hoopla about?! The trains have been less packed than usual (save for the first Monday train where I had to stand) and all of the tourists and Olympic ticketholders have injected a bit of fun into my standard commute with their enthusiasm!

I'm impressed how clear the signs are in Waterloo directing people to the various venues. There is also a plethora of bright pink clad Olympic stewards all over the place armed with maps and smiles to assist people.The general vibe in London is that of excitement... excitement over the so called "Home Advantage", excitement over Team GB's stars (Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins, we're looking at you!), and general enthusiam for such a rare, special moment in this country's history.

I love all of the fun lights that have appeared along the South Bank and LOVE the Olympic Rings that are scattered all over the city. I also am loving seeing all of the patriotic garb that the Olympic-goers are rocking. This whole thing has gotten me positively peppy! I've been glued to my television every night watching and rooting for Team USA... but Team GB's excitement has me screaming for them too! It's an electric feeling in London right now and I'll be loathe to see it go. It's an amazing time to be an ex-pat and I wouldn't be anywhere else in the world right now! (Except maybe a land where shorts + tights do not exist.)

If you find yourself coming into London during the rest of the Olympics, or for the Paralympics, do me two things: 1) Slow down and take all of this Olympic-mania all in (don't rush to and fro!) and 2) Get above-ground and walk! The tube will be packed, hot, and will seriously hamper your London experience. You need to SEE it all right now! (Including the nightly light shows on the London eye, which are absolutely amazing.)

 Oh, and if you are thinking of wearing tights under your shorts? Please don't. It is actually tacky... not trendy... And it screams tourist. (You're welcome.)

Thanks, Melissa!  I'm so glad you're having an amazing time.  Looks like Wills and Kate, are, too!  Even Jon, who's usually cynical about these things, told me last night that he's never been prouder to be British.  And especially with Great Britain's blockbuster performances yesterday, I think we can expect the 2012 Olympics to be remembered as a smash hit for the country.


  1. You have no idea how much I want to go to England and this post just made that feeling even stronger. I don't think I can express to you how badly I want to go! I've been glued to my tv as well, and I'm cheering on Andy Murray right now!

  2. Love this post! I found myself getting quite territorial about the whole thing, too, the other day when I heard some of my American friends saying not-so-nice things about it! It's an absolutely wonderful time to be a Brit and it's been so fun seeing everyone in the UK get so excited {about something finally!!!}!

  3. This was awesome! I've only heard complaining on my FB and twitter from Londoners so this was really refreshing to read :)


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