Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympics, pt. 1

Before I get to the Olympics pictures...

We went out to dinner with our friends Rachel, Jim, and Hunter last Friday in Dulwich Village. It's an uncharacteristically nice part of southeast London. 

There were flowers along the street, rather than the usual graffiti

Jim and Hunter enjoying dinner

Hunter kept watch, making sure all the restaurant patrons were up to snuff.

Kenz and Rachel enjoying a post-dinner stroll

"Even if I lived in those times, I wouldn't wear those trousers." - Jim

Sculptures outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery
We had an Olympic viewing party on Saturday night. Owen and Jason came over (locals). TROB and his girlfriend, Kristy, came in town for the Games. They had arrived Saturday morning, but came over for dinner despite their jet lag. 

TROB brought the tickets I ordered through his American ticket account (couldn't get any UK tickets)

I got commissioned to write an article about the Olympics for Huckberry, but they haven't published it yet. I thought they would by today. In fact, I had planned on just linking to that article for today's post. But, it's Friday and I owe you a post - so here I am. 

I'm including most of the same pictures in this blog post that will be used for the Huckberry piece. I'll link that article next week, but the main difference will be what I wrote for that piece - not the pictures. That being said, I'll allow the article to do most of the talking; today's post will mainly be pictures and captions. 

Tower Bridge
One of the absurd mascots

Statues of the mascots are all over the city - the same way the eggs were at Easter.

Beach volleyball was the first event we went to. One ticket got us into a 4 hour session - 2 men's and 2 women's games. Sunday morning was sunny and warm. Non-Olympic travel time to Horse Guards Parade from our house is 25 minutes. However, I'd been getting all sorts of emails and news alerts saying commutes would take longer than usual because of the Games. I insisted that we left an hour before the session started. We got there in 25 minutes. 8:30 on a Sunday morning is still, apparently, too early for most people.

Ready for some volleyball!

Kenz and I both enjoy watching volleyball. I'm sure everyone already knows this, but when we were in high school, I became the volleyball 'manager'. Kenz was on the team, and I thought it would secure me a date with her. It didn't, but I learned to appreciate the sport in the meantime. The coach hated me.

Oysters and champagne at a sports venue. Why not?

Kerri Walsh has her own "Beach Volleyball Heroes" statue outside the venue as she competes inside the venue

Does anyone like this mascot?

I think this Brazil team is going to win gold. They're beasts.

There's a lot of hugging in this sport

Told you

The Horse Guards Parade Dance Team "entertained" the crowd during timeouts and game breaks. 

The weather eventually showed up. We left cold and wet. 

Some of you may be disappointed with NBC's coverage of the Olympics. The BBC has provided UK residents with 24 online channels, streaming every single event live all day, every day. They also have every event available on demand for 'catch up' if you missed them. The only thing I've watched (and will watch) on television is the Olympics - for the next 14 days. It's amazing. 

The most surprisingly enjoyable event? Weightlifting. It's like watching people imitate ants. And I regularly find myself actually cheering at the television, trying to will the athletes to lift those weights. 

Our basketball tickets got us into the Olympic Park out in east London. I had no idea what to expect. We showed up three hours before the event, thinking that would give us enough time to do everything in the park. We could've spent 8 hours there. 

Olympic Village

The Orbit

The Beat Box
Roaming beer men populated every corner

The Copper Box, where handball is played

Root suits are like kiddie pajamas

Everyone wears their flag as a cape.

The Water Polo and Aquatic center
The basketball games were great fun. TROB and his girlfriend met us at the game. 

France vs. Argentina

Exchanging gifts

USA vs. Tunisia

Exchanging gifts
Kobe and Chandler

And, yes, in case you missed it, Dikembe Mutombo was sitting with his family - three rows behind us. 

I know the flag is backwards. It was late, we were tired, and it was a rushed picture. 

Miscellanious other pictures from the past week:

The happiest man on Earth

Lastly, Kenz and I pulled an amateur stunt Wednesday night. 

When a decision starts with, "this is probably a stupid move...but we're not above stupid, are we," you know you're about to make a mistake. 

The third installment of the Cristopher Nolan-directed Batman trilogy came out two weeks ago. The IMAX theatre here in London was selling tickets to a "double bill" of the first two, followed by the third - the new one - immediately after. The only problem was that the first movie started at 12:40am. The third movie started at 6:15am. On a Wednesday night. 

Kenz got hyped up on a bunch of caffeine from the Vietnamese coffee we had at the best Vietnamese restaurant we've found. We're looking forward to taking people there when they visit. 

We played some arcade games while we waited for the doors to open

We started in great spirits

We finished the first movie surprised that we weren't drowsy at all

I was struggling to keep my eyes open for the last 30 minutes of the second movie...Kenz was fine

We both enjoyed the third, and walked the 2 miles home in the newly risen sun
We're going to try and get some more tickets in the meantime, but odds are dim. There's a big controversy about empty seats. Essentially, there was a lottery for tickets in the UK. If you won the lottery, you were allowed to buy tickets to the event you had signed up for. Well, not everyone who won the opportunity actually followed through with buying their tickets. We're trolling the ticket website to see which ones pop up for repurchase. We might get some if we're lucky and fast enough. Olympic fever has taken ahold of us.

I will get to go to two wrestling events with Owen next week, though. Kenz had no desire to go to wrestling. Greco-Roman on Monday and Freestyle the following Saturday. I'm super pumped.

As usual, congratulations to those of you who have made it to the end of the post! Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend! Go team USA!