RHYS BOWEN: I was going to post something witty and intellectual today until it was suggested to me that people at home in the States would really like a first hand account of the Olympics.
In spite of huge crowds the entry to the Olympic park was painless and smooth. We were in a seemingly neverending line but it kept moving and we zipped through security with no problem. There was a scare ahead of the games that the firm contracted to handle games security hadn't managed to find enough people, so the army and police were called in. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief that security was being staffed by people who knew what they were doing. And they've made it so pleasant by being friendly and agreeable (TSA could learn a lesson here).
The Olympic park is HUGE. It's literally a half hour walk from one side to the other with the venues--stadium, aquatics center, velodrome etc dotted around. There are central food courts, lovely gardens, a river walk and the buildings themselves are spectacular. One could actually spend a whole day here, eating a picnic while watching the giant screen or listening to concerts at the river bank stage. The whole thing is spectacular lit up at night, including the weird sculpture tower, called the Orbit, I believe, that towers over the park.
That's another negative--the weather has been bloody awful. Overcast, cold with a little shower every now and then. I brought nearly all summer clothes and have lived in two long sleeved shirts and two pairs of kahki pants. \Our other events were women's water polo (US won and we found ourselves sitting in the middle of the US supporters, all chanting USA USA. So that was exciting) and last night women's soccer semi-final. Rather lack luster at Wembley Stadium and it took us hours to get home in the rain.
I was a little concerned before the games about the possibility of terrorism, but the atmosphere has felt safe, relaxed and congenial throughout. Everyone chats on trains and while waiting in line. This really is the global village we hope to see in the world one day. What a pity it's only for two weeks.