Of Public Transit and Olympics Feels

So, today. What can I say about today?

Well, I got to sleep for slightly longer than I had the night before, which was cool. But now I knew how early people start arriving at these road events, so I decided to make into central by 9 to stake out my territory for the women's marathon that started at 11. The course started at the Mall and wove through the city, and I got a suh-WEET spot on a barrier in Trafalgar Square, right across the street from Nelson's Column. It was seriously the coolest setting for a race ever. I wish I could've been at all the other landmarks simultaneously!

The crowd was really sparse when I got there which meant that I could sit down during the first hour or so of the wait. There were about seven people in a row that decided to follow my lead and sit down too, which kind of kept other people from lining up behind us for a while. But then a lady decided to encroach on my territory, so I stood up to stake out my space and she tried to elbow her way in between me. Just as I was grumbling to myself about her, it started drizzling and she went away. Woo! The rain, however, did not go away. With about half an hour before start time, it started pouring and it was on and off from there. It ended up being fine, though. I hate rain SO much, but I had my umbrella and the people around me were all talking and laughing and made it very bearable. And then the sun came out! And went away again. But then it came back! Sort of.

Then the race started, and... that was it for a while. The runners did four (I think?) loops of the course, so they came back, it just took a bit. There was a LOT of waiting around, but again, the crowd was really great and even the cycle of less than stellar people shoving in next to me didn't dampen things because they each left after a lap. Psh, amateurs.

I'd told myself that I'd only stay for the beginning and maybe a lap or two, but who was I kidding? Once I get on a barrier I do not let go, come hell or high water. So I hung around until the runners made their last pass by us, and then I walked to Leicester Square and had a late lunch in Chinatown, basically because I wanted bubble tea. My next stop from there was the CoSport will call office to see if I could pick up the tickets that had been bought on Chandini's credit card. It's up at Edgware Road, which is a complete hike and close to nothing significant. But I've been using public transit SO much and I didn't want to spend the money on a tube fare, so I decided to walk it. I went from Leicester to Piccadilly to Oxford, walked Oxford Street all the way down to Marble Arch, and then north to Edgware Road. It was kind of a lot, but I wanted to see all the flags on Regent Street anyway!

When I got there, I told the man at the door what my problem was, and he said I could pick up the tickets with 1) a letter from Chandini requesting I pick up the tickets for her, 2) a copy of her passport, and 3) the order number. I, of course, had none of those, so I decided to head to Victoria Park's London Live screen and use the wi-fi at Mile End station to let her know what I needed. At that point, I still wasn't sure if I'd be visiting Dagenham or not, so I figured I'd get everything from Chandini at some point tonight and go pick up the tickets in the morning. However, I checked my email and found out that a) I AM going to visit Dagenham tomorrow, and that b) it's an all-day thing. So I won't even get to go to the event the tickets are for, but hell if I was gonna give up getting my hands on them now that I knew I could! In the fastest get-something-important-done-via-Facebook conversation ever, I got a hold of Chandini while crouched against a wall in Mile End, got the necessary documents, and immediately swiped back into the tube to literally retrace my steps. They were really, really long steps, too.

The office closes at 7 and I started my return journey at 5:45. By the time I got there it was nearing 6:30, and I had to restrain myself from running flat out to the office. But I made it there in plenty of time, and voila! The tickets are now in my possession! My hands were literally shaking when the girl handed them to me. Maybe it was the excitement, or the relief from the intense anxiety of the previous hour, or the fact that I was getting really hungry. Maybe it was all three. But I was legitimately flipping out! I can't even go, but the fact that I have tickets to an Olympic event is beyond words. And now, of course, there's the possibility of getting into Olympic Park. I've been told to arrive at Dagenham at 9:30 am, and the rehearsal itself doesn't even start until 4 pm. Depending what time I get out of there I MIGHT try and go at night, but I'm not holding my breath. My plan right now is to try and sneak into the park with my ticket on Tuesday afternoon; if someone stops me, I'll flash my ceremonies volunteer badge and tell him/her that I missed the event because of a dress rehearsal (which isn't even a lie! YAY!) and just want to walk around the park and spend money. Hopefully this doesn't have to happen, but if it does, let's hope they take pity on me. Because legitimately all I want to do is see things, buy some international food, and watch live coverage on the screens. And probably cry a lot.

After becoming the proud owner of two tickets to synchronized swimming at London 2012, I decided I really did need food, so I came back to the flat to eat dinner. This was when I found out that the men's 100m final would be taking place tonight and I decided that I wanted to watch it at Victoria Park's London Live. Because dammit, I was determined to get there eventually! I ate super fast and ran out again because by now it was 8 pm and my travel time to Mile End is kind of ridiculous. Victoria Park is also not really close to the station, and they stuck the screens back in the middle of freaking nowhere, so after all was said and done I was there for about 20 minutes, tops. I got there just as the runners were warming up on the track, and then saw the race, the thousands of replays in varying speeds, and the medal ceremony for the women's 400m. And then I turned around and did the whole long commute over again. Sigh. Probably not the most worthwhile thing I've ever done, but watching this race with a crowd was really memorable and definitely a cool experience. There were also no wood chips at this location, so that was a plus. But I think I spent more time traveling today than I did actually doing anything; I'm pretty sure my entire trip out to Victoria Park (the second one) was free because I'd hit the daily fare limit. OH, and we get travel cards with our event tickets that are good for the entire day of the event, so tomorrow I travel for free! God, my bank account is so happy.

Hah, I won't even get to say anything about what I do tomorrow. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy my last week or so of keeping ceremony secrets! :)


  1. You are doing things that most of us only dream of doing! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Thank you for sharing your adventure of a lifetime (or, most likely, the first of many Olympic adventures!)

  2. I admire your perseverance. Good luck tomorrow.