Traffic jams, crowds, buntings, face lifts, music, big screens, Torch relay, dress rehearsals……the Olympics have finally arrived!
Yes, and I’m excited! Which is strange considering that for the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to endure horrible traffic at every turn as I live and work in the Olympic Borough, I’ve had to suffer long walks to and from work as Chairman can’t drop me off/pick me up from our usual spot anymore because of the Olympics lanes, there’s been a slight upheaval with my timesheets at work as we’re trying to accomodate the disruptions that’s going to be caused by the games and the list is just endless. But I am still excited.
Can’t say the same for most Londoners though as all I hear is moaning from everyone about this or that, even Chairman is one of the nay sayers and I just wonder if everyone wouldn’t be more excited if it was held elsewhere. I know people who travelled to Beijing four years ago to see the Olympics and a couple of friends also went to South Africa for the world cup, they were super excited then, wonder whats changed?
I am a firm believer in making the most of everything. Considering my humble background in Nigeria, to being able to witness the Olympics in my backyard literarilly, I’d say I am pretty darn fortunate! I know my country will probably never be able to host the Olympics, atleast not for eons of years and I’m definitely sure I wont be travelling anywhere just to go and watch the Olympics (I’m not that bothered) so this is a once in a life time opportunity for me really.
If you had to go to Stratford everyday, you would be excited about it too by now, there’s always something different to see every single day. the Tube station’s gotten a massive face lift that Im sure it would never have had were it not for the games, the Bridge linking the bus and train station to westfield is just divine and it truly is pleasure to walk on it everyday, although Coca Cola seems to have ruined the picturesque view of the street below now with their wall paper stuck on the whole glass:(.
Lately, I’ve started to see the guys working in the Olympic park in their purple and beige get up (Everything is purple around here now…The Olympic colour I guess?). Its not the most flattering of combinations, but then, when have uniforms ever been flattering? I met one of them the other day and she told me she worked at the aquatics centre, you can guess the next question I asked….”have you met any of the team yet“…i only had one team member on my mind and I gasped when she told me she’d already met and chatted to Tom Daley twice already! I’ld love their job for a bit just to be able to meet some of the athletes. I love talking to inspiring people and I think people in Sports are so hardworking and focused.
What I woudn’t give to be able to work on the tracks and get to meet Usain Bolt, or the whole of the Jamaican team for that matter! Awww……
Anyways, I’ve never seen so many tourists in my life. I’m used to being the tourist when I’m on Holiday but this is on another level. There’s people everywhere speaking all kinds of languages and there’s tour guides, people peering seriously into their maps (I know that feeling), the press, people in their jerseys and tracksuits with their countries at the back etc….I even got to meet the coach of the Belgian field hockey team (yay….my claim to fame!) passing by….i’ts just a great atmosphere generally.
East Londoners aren’t used to having tourists around because we’re a bit off the map from all the usual tourist hot spots like the West end and the City etc etc so its nice to see people up in our backyards not looking like we’re about to eat them alive ..lets face it, we’re not exactly known for our charming ways in the East end and I never thought I’d ever say this but I’m proud to live in East London…at least until the Olympics is over.
I am a bit dissapointed though that I didnt manage to get tickets to see any of the games…by the time I was ready, the only ones still up for grabs were women’s football…..I struggle to stay awake during the Mens matches let alone the womens…so no, I didnt bother.
Instead, I will, like most people here be watching the games on my sofa in my living room or if the weather permits, I shall be joining the hundreds watching it on big screens in Stratford Park or East ham, there’ll also be food, drinks and entertainment for the family I’m told (happy Days:D) so whats not to like?
I’ve also heard that my beloved country Nigeria have hired the Theatre Royal in Stratford during the Olympics and this worries and excites me at the same time. I have gone to have a look, its prime location so I’m sure it’s cost them a fortune to do this and even countries who have a shot at winning medals at the games haven’t done anything quite as ostentatious as this…but thats just typically Nigerian isnt it? We have to be noticed. They’ve got a big scgreen and props at the front where I guess they’ll be screening the opening ceremony and other shows from.
On the positive side though, They have got quite a good line up of shows going on during games that are meant to showcase the Nigerian culture. There’s top Artists from Nigeria performing from Naeto C, M.I, Seun Kuti to King Sunny Ade.
I will be seeing Wole Soyinka‘s Play “The King must dance Naked” and “The Lion and the Jewel“. I am really excited about this as I studied both books during english in Secondary school and the cast are some of Nollywood’s (yes, we have a Nollywood) finest. Olu Jacobs, Joke jacobs, Segun Arinze, Bimbo Akintola…