London Olympics Running Commentary
Madhu Trehan gets you the Olympics as it happens
July 26, Thursday:
- Country folk singer Frank Taylor with real sheep in meadow scene. Horse ploughing. Farmers, Farmers & families.
- Warm up begun with Chris Walker. The countdown has begun.
- 8:08 am London Time: In Olympic stadium. Half the size of CWG Delhi. Design disappointing. Totally eclipsed by China’s Beijing Stadium Nest
- Surprised to see en route just off highway- Small group of protestors with big signs- STOP GENOCIDE OF TAMILS IN SRI LANKA
- In bus going to Olympics Arena. Leaving a quiet London. Flags on Regent Street. ‘Apna Tiranga pherara hai’.
- British really good at following rules and feeling good about it. Tremendous patriotic feeling amongst volunteers- “We have to put our best foot forward. Pip pip!”
- London cabbies protest in London against traffic rules for Olympics and high penalties.
- Third time London hosted Olympics-1908 & 1948 & now.
- Final trip on boat Gloriana arrived 15 minutes early at Tower Bridge to cacophony of bells.
- Secret who will finally light the opening of the games torch.
- 40.3 million people quarter of the population of UK watched. Now torch hidden in London Tower till opening.
- Olympic torch travelled 8000 miles carried by 8000 people including Lakshmi Mittal and Amitabh Bacchan.
- City- Very very q-u-i-e-t!! Culture shock in place.
- Hotel: Olympics gear handed to us with millions of instructions. Lots of eager student volunteers helping helping helping.
- 9:00 pm meet friends at exclusive club 5 Hertford Street. Maitre d throws a fit at husband’s bandhgala jacket. Won’t let us in. Husband throws another fit that this is his National Dress etc. Policy seems to be: The stuffier you are, the more you are worth!
- Find hotel room soooo small have to squeeze past bed with back to wall to get to the teeny weeny bathroom. Suitcases piled at edge of bed so can’t unpack.
- Drive to hotel- Ghost town! Sci-Fi End of the World feeling! No people! Where are the people? Where’s the raunaq? Everyone told to stay home and they are literally staying home! Counted ONE woman on skateboard in park after 30 minutes on the road. NO traffic at all!
- Arrival at Heathrow Airport. Deserted. No lines. Skimmed through immigration. Screw up on pick up car. Was waiting at wrong terminal at wrong time. Am I in UK?
- Real Desi hospitality on Jet Airways. New plane. Quite impressive! Air Steward trained well obviously by a great mom. Played mummy throughout.