We arrived at Heathrow last Wednesday July 25. Like the calm before the storm, the airport was empty. No lines at passport control. No lines leaving customs. No lines for cabs.
A friendly Olympic greeter wearing a bright pink Olympic shirt was the first to welcome us to London and walk us out of customs. Next, we were greeted by the Olympic mascots, one-eyed space like creatures named Wenlock and Mandeville.
On our way to the hotel, our cab driver told us he believed no one would be going to the Olympics because getting a ticket to an event was harder than winning the London Lottery.
We left the empty airport surrounded by green fields and blue skies and drove to the City brimming with people sporting Union Jacks. Shops were filled with flags in the display windows. Like a flower ready to bloom, London and Olympic Park was filled with colors. From the flowers in the Olympic park to the recycled rubber walkways filled with orange, pink, green, yellow, red and purple.
The opening ceremony was nothing short of phenomenal. It was like riding a roller coaster on an emotional gamut from peaceful, to funny, to sick, to, sad to hopeful. It was a virtual smorgasbord highlighting everything English.
On the way in, we passed many people in the hallways with drums dressed like Burt from Mary Poppins waiting outside the entrance. I also saw some cows and sheep and wondered what in the world? When we sat down and looked out over the arena, it felt like we were in a time glass looking at England’s past with gorgeous green pastures, trees, and children playing. It was magical watching the fields of green transform by the muscle of women and men to a gritty grey industrial village. The musical montage with James Bond and the Queen parachuting into the ceremony and comedian Bean playing Chariots of Fire theme filled the arena with cheer and laughs.
The 300 or so hospital beds highlighted Britain’s National Health Care program (They will be donated to hospitals in Tunisia) and made me think about our own Obama Care program in the US.
During the ceremony, I didn’t understand the significance of the faces of people who were shown on the big display, but I later learned that part of the ceremony was meant to honor those who were killed by terrorist bombs the day after the Olympic bid was awarded.
In short, London, like a strawberry that has grown ripe, is ready to feed the entire world with sweetness. – - – Strawberry Fields Forever!