Friday, October 14th
London is preparing for the 2012 Olympics next summer. I didn’t really give that much thought when I booked part of my vacation in the city. I am so glad I have been here before because if I hadn’t and I had expected to see certain monuments and landmarks, I could have been disappointed.
Why, because London is under wraps. Literally. Every street. Every major site. There is scaffolding, tarps and torn up streets. You can’t even get in to Leicester Square. It’s completely cut off behind walls of wood with cranes and construction crews all over the place. I’ve wondered from time to time if people ever trip on the uneven sidewalks in London. They are not made of solid pavement but 16 x24” paving stones. They have cracked and heaved over the years. Two years ago I fell in to a hole on one of the sidewalks and broke my foot. So I wondered what they would do to keep the thousands, maybe millions, of Olympic hopefuls and spectators safe. Simple, tear up the walks and replace them all.
Go to Buckingham Palace and the huge monument of Queen Victoria that sits in front is draped in netting. She’s getting a facelift.
The Fortnum and Mason clock is being repaired so it too is covered.
The Olympics always cost the host country a lot of money, but this seems more than necessary. I feel like London is trying to present itself as something it is not. It’s a wonderful place but it does have grittiness to it. I feel like it is being washed away, new makeup put on and being presented at the grand ball. I hope it all comes off without a hitch.
Good luck London, see you in 2013 because I’m not setting foot here next summer.