Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bells and Booms and Vapor Trails

Did any of you watch the Olympics opening ceremonies?

We did. Dave's parents didn't make it all the way through, because the show started so late and they have a train to catch this morning. But Dave and I stayed up until 12:30 a.m. and watched every moment.

I enjoyed the show. I haven't read any reviews yet, so I'm not sure what the pundits who are paid for their opinions have to say, but I thought it was very entertaining and quite a spectacle. I loved the depiction of England's evolution from rural society to industrial power.

My only complaint is that it was heavy on British social and pop cultural references. Would people in Tanzania or Myanmar really pick up on a reference to "Trainspotting," or the Sex Pistols? I think even Dave's parents were bewildered at times. (And once his dad learned the ceremonies were directed by Danny Boyle, who also directed "Slumdog Millionaire," he packed it in -- he frequently calls "Slumdog" the worst movie ever made. I disagree, for the record.)

Anyway, just to give you an idea of the national scope of the buildup to these games, here are some shots of the Olympic rings that have been erected in cities across Britain. Top, of course, is London, seen from a river ferry on the Thames. (If we're Facebook friends you'll recognize that as my current cover photo.)

Above are the rings in Edinburgh, with the castle in the background.

And here are the rings suspended from one of Newcastle's many bridges, snapped from our speeding train.

We had an Olympics-themed dinner last night, deploying a tea towel from Dave's parents as a tablecloth. Not a particularly sophisticated table design, particularly with those silly napkins, but it was fun. Dave made a pork roast.

As we ate, we watched the buildup to the opening ceremonies. When a group of RAF jets (I think) flew over the stadium on TV, I thought I'd look outside, just in case we could catch a glimpse.

Well, the planes flew practically overhead, still in formation and close enough that I could see each one clearly. "Camera!" I yelled to Dave and his parents. "Camera! On the table!" They searched frantically and said they couldn't find it, and I realized it was in my pocket. By that time, the planes were gone, and I was left with only vapor trails.

I ran to the other side of the flat and got this shot of them flying away to the north.

Later, we heard the booming of the stadium fireworks as the Queen, looking a little grumpy and bored, officially opened the games.

And early yesterday morning, at 8:12 a.m., we heard the chiming of church bells in our neighborhood, part of a coordinated event meant to signal enthusiasm for opening day. (We had to look online to find out what was going on.)

All in all, an exciting opening to the games. I still don't think I'll watch much of the competition, but we'll see.


Lynne said...

Nice images! Why is it that cameras go missing when you most need or want one? I'm always putting mine down somewhere and then I don't remember where.

Hah, in your pocket! ;)

Love the vapor trails in red, white & blue!

Dave said...


Lorianne said...

J and I watched bits and pieces of the opening ceremony. We didn't see much of the big dance and musical numbers, but we saw the celebrated bit with James Bond and the Queen (loved the corgis), the parade of nations, and Sir Paul at the end.

I don't have much patience for the epic, nationalistic bits: I changed the channel during the bit celebrating children's literature and the national health system, for instance. But I'm a sucker for the parade of nations: it's just so much fun to see the different outfits, the number of athletes from each nation, and the obvious joy on the athletes' faces.

I guess, in other words, I prefer the party to the pageantry.

Linda Sue said...

Loved every moment of the opening extravaganza , except that old guy at the end singing the most tedious song ever.

Lynne said...

Just wanted to add that the Olympics are kind of like American holidays when you are an American living in a different country.

Suddenly you notice that the TV coverage is not featuring the American athletes! How dare they feature the athletes from their own country! ;)

Elizabeth said...

Great images! I watched a bit of the ceremonies and enjoyed them, but agree with what you said.

The Bug said...

I'm getting caught up after the weekend (why does it always take until Tuesday?). We didn't watch the ceremony, but I wish we had - I feel left out!

I LOVE your square plates!