Category Archives: Londonist

London 2012 Olympics: My Top 3

The excitement of Rio 2016 Olympics brought us so many lovely memories of the London Olympics. Watching the games until wee hours of the morning due to the time difference was not easy but still brought us to the edge of our seats. It was impossible not to notice the almost empty arenas though. During the London 2012 Olympics, tickets were selling like pancakes. There was far higher demand than supply, making it extremely difficult to take hold of tickets. Fortunately, we were able to secure tickets for various venues in five different Olympic events and for two Paralympic events. We were also able to watch the opening ceremony of the Paralympics.

beach volleyball

Experiencing the London 2012 games was truly a once-in-a-lifetime for us. I can write heaps and heaps of stories and anecdotes about it. For the purpose of this post, I challenged myself to choose my top three memories of it.

 

  • Mission: keep calm and carry on

On the 6th of July 2005, it was announced that London was to host the Olympics 2012. The jubilation was crushed by the London bombings the following day. Despite this, the run up to the games was noticeable for everyday Londoners like us. Changes happened bit by bit, memorable Olympic structures started to rise from seemingly deprived areas. Year 2012 was welcomed with the London NYE annual fireworks celebration in style – we were there, too!

Weeks just before the opening, I noticed more people standing on the left hand side of the Underground escalators – a sign that the world had indeed arrived in London! London’s Thames river, which was about a couple of minutes’ walk from our home, was where the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean was stationed. With this there was a feeling of security; bring on the games!

marines

  • Mission: impossible (‘hiding’ the hubby’s ticket)

Two weeks before the games, A joined his brother on a two-week European cruise holiday that unfortunately, due to work commitments, I could not tag along to. The first tickets we had secured were for the beach volleyball (set at the grand Horseguards Parade), but these did not get delivered until a few days before the event. My hubby arrived on the same day as the event, and his flight was an hour later than the scheduled time. Not wishing to miss the event, our friend Rev and I entered the arena ahead of A’s arrival. I left and hid A’s ticket inside a selected ‘instant photo’ booth at London Victoria station. Pretending that I was having my photo taken, I discreetly taped the ticket wrapped in black plastic on the ceiling. (This was on the thinking that when one normally would have his or her photo taken, one just looks straight ahead at the camera – and not on the ceiling of the booth.) When A arrived, as planned, he found his ticket and managed to join us for the second game. It took me a couple of visits to the station to concoct this plan; and I was very relieved that the ‘risky plan’ paid off with no hitches!

 

  • Mission: accomplished

inside stadium

Our final set of tickets was for the Paralympic events. This was the second time we got into the Olympic Stadium. After the events, together with two of our friends, we enjoyed the activities and buzz within the Olympic Park, the whole afternoon, even during sunset until the late evening. Perhaps we were one of the last ones to leave. Needless to say, it was so fun – especially since I had both the Philippine and British flags being waved around the park.

Really memorable particularly since this was on my birthday!flying the flag

The Giant Slides of Tate

Last Friday, A and I together with a church friend met at Southbank. Southbank is one of our favourite London walks. It is full of dynamism and vibrance but relaxing at the same time. We usually walk here from London Bridge to Waterloo station. We walk along the river Thames and enjoy sights such as the Southwark Cathedral, the Golden Hinde, remnants of Winchester Palace, the Clink, Vinopolis, loads of pubs and restaurants, Tate Modern, Millenium Bridge, the Watercolour Society, The Coin Street (including Oxo Tower), Gabriel’s Wharf, The National Film Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Jubillee Bridge… If I missed anything else, I will be utmostly gutted. We have walked along this side of the River for probably hundreds of times!

The current exhibit in the Turbine Hall of the in Tate Modern is called the Test Series by Carsten Höller. It was described by the French writer Roger Caillois as a ‘voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind’. Visitors are allowed to try on the slide. Höller aims to answer the question, “How might a daily dose of sliding affect the way we perceive the world? Can slides become part of our experiential and architectural life?”.

As for me, I still don’t know the feeling. A and I are going back today and will have a slide or two.

But for now, I will say that no matter what others say that it isn’t an art, for me I saw a double-helix — the strand of the human life: a DNA! I can’t help but show fascination. To enjoy a giant helical slide that looks like a DNA is such a surprise for a science-lover like me.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Today, I Saw a Prince

His mom, the late Diana Princess of Wales, was a great supporter of the cancer hospital where I am currently working. Today, Prince William was there to show his support to the hospital charity and continue his late mother’s passion for good cause.

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The Would-be King
(photo borrowed from the Prince of Wales website)

What did he do in the hospital? He was shown the different projects aimed at providing excellent cancer care. He went round the different wards to visit the staff and patients. He had lunch at the hospital restaurant (I heard that he had jacket potatoes).

How did I found out that he was around? I was on study day. At lunchtime, I went to our office with a colleague of mine. We were surprised to see some really beautiful bunch of exotic flowers from the reception and along the main hospital corridor. Huge birds-of-paradise were hanging from every vase. We asked one of our porter friends, “What’s going on?” He replied, “Have you seen him?” We asked, “Who?” We never thought that it was “PRINCE WILLIAM”. I cannot remember how I replied but in my mind were rolling a big “Oh my Gosh!”, a hopeful “Do I look fine to meet the prince?” and a very excited “Where is he?”.

Nobody knew where he was, how can I find the prince? Time is out. I had to head back to the classroom. Okay, dream was over. I won’t be able to see him. I thought I missed him! Well, almost! The cordless phone rang. It was reception, “Prince William was looking for me!” Just kidding, a patient left some Christmas presents for us and we need to collect it. So at coffeebreak, we went to the hospital reception. After five minutes, there he was, everyone’s prince charming!

What was he wearing? When I first saw him, it was during the Queen’s Golden Jubillee Celebration in 2002. My husband and I were in the Buckingham Palace Gates when the entire royal family was at the palace balcony waving their hands to well-wishers. Today is very exciting because I was literally three feet away from him!

Okay, I have to be accurate now. He’s got a green jumper on with a white shirt inside. He was wearing a yellow-brown pair of trousers and I cannot believe this, I cannot remember what colour of shoes he was wearing! Anyway, I don’t think it’s black. He is far more handsome in person than on television. He is terribly good-looking, like Diana, perhaps.

Did he look at me? (I apologise for my shallowness!) About a second, we were eye to eye. I almost collapsed! My colleague who was standing next to me was also head over heels! (He was very polite and nice to give everyone a piece of his lovely eyes).

What is so special about seeing Prince William? It is probably every girl’s dream to see a real prince. For me, that box is finally ticked. Never did I dream that it would be that close! (The fact that he is such a beautiful creature is a real bonus!)

So after all the excitement… I heard that Prince Charles and his Camilla are also coming. But since it’s already past five, it’s time to go home. Being in the same place with and just a few feet away from the royals is a very rare opportunity. However, I have to go home and have dinner with my real life prince!

(And they lived happily ever after. Charles and Camilla?)

Cucciolo

During one of our art gallery visits, a painting of a little dog caught our attention. My husband and I were drawn to the painting because he seems very cute and was painted in a vibrant red background.
A young chap suddenly approached us. He is Francesco Lietti, the artist himself. The painting is titled “My Dog”. The inspiration of it came from his 15-year old fox terrier. The artist is a cheerful and friendly Italian who hails from Lecco.
Being a dog-lover myself, I fell in love with the painting. To have a dog in England entails quite a responsibility. Probably, this painting is the answer to my desire of having a pet dog (only that it doesn’t bark or wag its tail!). This may not be a Picasso but it is very special to me – my husband gave this to me as a gift. I named him Cucciolo (Italian for puppy).