Sunday, July 29, 2012

May the Games begin!

Last few days have been quite busy with Olympic related activities ! The athletes have all received their  outfits before the opening ceremony and I can only say mission accomplished for the outfits !!! The city has really became an ''Olympic'' one, where ever you go, you clearly see that everything is now about the Games. Might it be with athletes walking around the city, Olympic volunteers and employee's and well tourists supporting their nations. Numerous activities in pub's, park's and so on. 

A few days ago I followed the Olympic Torch relay near Wimbledon tennis courts, it was a beautiful day (bright sun and very warm) and I got to see Venus Williams. I must also say that it is very impressive to see the ''team'' and process that takes care of the entire relay. Not only major sponsor's like Coca-Cola, Samsung but also all the security forces involved.

As for the Opening ceremony, I think that it was simple but great! The spectacle must of been amazing from the inside of the stadium. My favorite part was definitely Mr. Bean's performance, I mean come on its Mr Bean !!!!

Now that this is over, the Games have (finally) begun ! Yesterday, I was lucky to get a ticket for some tennis action. On Center Court, I got to see Wozniacki defeat Great Britain's Anne Keothavong in 3 sets. This match was great because all the brits were supporting their athlete and the atmosphere was obviously more than pleasant ! It was my first time at the site of Wimbledon and I must say that not only was I very happy but everything was finally becoming reality. I often watch the Championships on TV, but being there, in person is just like an other dream becoming true, I didnt want to leave :(

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Expect the unexpected

This day, has been, by far the most AMAZING day. I was going to create a post this morning about how I visited Camden town yesterday and bla bla bla BUT today I meant Sam Stosur and that ladies and gentlemen's, changes everything. For the ones who do not know who she is, she is an Australian tennis player (who won the US Open last year) and I have a great admiration for her.

You see, I wasn't expecting this. I was meeting a friend (that I met true a Sam Stosur related forum), we were going for coffee in Putney (area in South west London) and then go for a stroll in the Richmond Park (the biggest park in London) as for once it was sunny in London. Once we got out of the coffee shop, we got on a bus and then BAM my friend saw Simmone Morrow walking on the streets and said ''It's Sim, we have to go talk to her''. Sim is a professional softball player from Australia (she won 3 medals in the Olympics) but she is also Sam Stosur's physical coach. I wasn't really gonna run after Sim, but my friend kinda, really, dragged me along. Once we got to her, we had an extremely nice and long conversation about Sam, tennis, softball, the Olympics, and so on. We got to know that Sam was practising at Wimbledon and Roehampton and that she was going to live in the Olympic village within the next few days, we wished them the best of luck for the Games and that was that. 

As planned, we went for our beautiful walk in Richmond Park, where we saw the Queen's deers and I even got to take a picture with them. It's sad to know that every fall, these deers are hunted and the meat is given to the Queen.. but that's life. Anyway, Richmond Park is amazingly big, in a state of pure nature and I would recommend anyone to go and have a picnic there.

On our way back to Putney, we decided to stop at the Roehampton tennis Club, just to see if there was a possibility to see the tennis players practice. Obviously, we were told that, well, no it was a private club. As soon as we got our answer we turned around and then, there she was Sam Stosur arrived in a car. Her coach was, im assuming going to reserv a court for the next day, as she was staying in the car. We asked if a picture could be take and half a second later we were having a chat with her and getting pictures. Im sorry if all of this sounds ''stalkerish'' but you need to understand that there are only a few athletes that I respect so much. Not only is she, to my eyes, a great tennis women, but I also admire her for who she is as person, laid back, normal (unlike other tennis players who think they are the ''shit''). I must also admit that there is was something special about this day, luck, karma, I dont know what it is but how is it possible to meet both these great athletes, so randomly in one day. None of this was planned and yet again everything was perfectly timed. Anyway, im going to stop rambling about this but its crazy and I think I should go buy a lottery ticket.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Busy Bee

The last few days have been extremely BUSY ! I started working with the Canadian Olympic Committee from Wednesday to Saturday with  8-10 hour shifts everyday. A lot of things needed to be done on the first few days; unpack millions of boxes which contained multiple clothing items to then pack about 600 bags for the athletes and members of the mission team. Now we have set up the dressing room and we are waiting for the athletes to come in next week for their outfitting sessions. The people I work with are pretty cool, they come from around Canada ( few from Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal).

As for the beautiful city of London, the more I walk around, the more I love this city. Its just so AWESOME. London has multiple neighbourhoods and all are so different. Today, I decided to wake up early (to avoid crowds) and go to Notting Hill to see the Portobello Market. Notting Hill first made me think of some rich place (lots of nice cars parked in the streets), yet again, as soon as I started walking deeper in the neighbourhood it made me think of a city like San Francisco, relaxed. So, besides the movie with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, Notting Hill is popular for the market, but also for its nice little terraces, trendy clothing stores and a few ($$) victorian houses.

Next time, I will visit Camden town which is a district known for its alternative culture, numerous music venues and more markets.

Yesterday I went to visit the London Tower Bridge (built in 1886) that is located on the River Thames. Not only has it become an iconic symbol over the years but it is also a very important bridge because it still has its initial functions (combined bascule and suspension bridge). I got lucky, as I walked onto the bridge a boat had to pass under and the bridge had to be opened. Besides the fact that when you walk onto the bridge, you have the impression that you are going to Disney land (because of the colors on the sides), you also feel like your in some movie because its simply so beautiful. I must say I love the Olympic rings in the middle. 

That's pretty much all for today. To finish, here is one of the many adds we see everywhere in the Tube. It shows that thehe city has really been preparing its citizens the the fact that, well, life will not be the same during the Games. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Welcome to London

London, here I am !

I arrived Monday afternoon and had a day to walk around the city as I only start working tomorrow. So far, this city is simply amazing. The people are so kind, polite and good looking (the British accent does also add a little special touch) and this gives you the impression that your not in one of the worlds largest city but in some small random town. I also must say that I enjoy the cosmopolitan side of London, it just makes you feel like everyone is equal and this obviously adds to the peacefulness of the place. For a tourist, London is like winning the jackpot. To start off, not only does the city have over 240 museums but there are also numerous royal and historical attractions like the Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the London Eye,... What ever direction you decided to take, you always end up finding something interesting. Yesterday night I went to visit the Buckingham Palace (you know where the Queen lives). She unfortunately did not invite me for a cup of tea, I think she was already sleeping, but that's ok as I do understand that she runs on a tight schedule. 

This morning I attempted to watch the ''Changing of the Guard'' but it was literally packed with thousands of people so I only watched the first part, which is when the Queen's Life Guard come out of the Horse Guards in Whitehall.

After that, I went looking for water, more specifically the Thames which is a river that flows through the city. There are a few attractions near the Thames but today I only saw two of them like the London Eye (the giant Ferris wheel, the tallest one in Europe) and the Houses of Parliament also named Palace of Westminster with the Big Ben clock Tower (only Brits with authorization can visit it and this by writing to their MP).

Finally, I must admit that the paintings on the ground ''Look right'' or ''Look left'' are pretty damn useful. At first, I thought it was a bit....silly, im sure they save hundreds of lives everyday (trust me). So that was pretty much my tourist life of today. Tomorrow the actual Olympic journey S-T-A-R-T-S and I cant wait to meet my ''team'', hopefully we all get along well and make this moment amazing.