Archive for the ‘Egyptian Holiday’ Category

Getting to the Olympic 2010 Opening Ceremonies

I always loved watching the OLYMPIC Opening  Ceremonies of the various hosting countries.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to attend one.  This year I got my chance.  I entered the lottery contest and qualified to purchase 4 of the best seats.  Expensive!  I invited my good friend, who is Egyptian.  When I met her I told her that since I was a little girl I had always wanted to visit Egypt.  In 2007, she put together a tour of friends and guided us on a fabulous trip through Egypt.   Taking her to the Opening ceremonies was a way I could express my gratitude.

I intended to sell two of the tickets to cover the cost, or at least reduce the cost but, other than put the word out, I never did anything serious to sell the tickets, such put them for sale on the Internet. In the end, I invited my two sons to attend with me.  I wanted to share the experience with them. The night before I gave a ticket to each of my sons as they would be making their own way from work to the stadium.

My friend invited me to a pre-game linner [lunch + dinner].  She managed to get an excellent restaurant, very near the stadium, to open early for the occasion.  We took a taxi to the restaurant.  Excitement was in the air.   We got out near the restaurant because the traffic was moving too slowly.  The roads were busy and there were many street closures.  At one point as we walked along, I lost my friend and turned back to find her.  She was buying some Canadian flags.  As I approached her I suddenly looked up, right beside her there was a camera filming an on-the-spot interview with a person-in-the-street.  Oooops!   I didn’t plan to be a part of that.  She got her flags and we took off for the restaurant.

After a delicious linner in a calm atmosphere, we headed out into crowds. Getting through security in a timely manner was not going to be easy.  I’d heard that it might take 2-3 hours to get through.  Instructions were for everyone to be seated an hour before the ceremony began because we had things to do and activities to practice.  There were lots of police and volunteers directing us to the security entrances.  It took 40-45 minutes to get through security. Once in, we were able to get to our seats quickly – only 15 minutes late.  I was so intent on finding our specific seats that I wasn’t looking at the people. For a few seconds, I thought there was a guy in one of our seats when I suddenly realized it was my youngest son.  I had not expected either of my sons to get there before we did. My eldest son arrived half an hour later and we quickly filled him in on what to do.

On each seat there was a cardboard box, designed and decorated like a drum, with goodies in it.  We needed to put batteries in two flashlights, one a regular one and the other a ‘candle’ with a yellow glow.  There was a drum stick with a round ball at the end, a Canadian flag and a white Styrofoam poncho. Each section had a leader who guided us through the what, how and when to use all the things in the ‘drum’.

We practiced the countdown with the lights on.  In each section some of the drums were blue on the back and some were white. Mine was white and we were in section 1.  Someone counted down from 10.  As each number was called we stood up and held up our drums.  The white drums displayed the number and the blue ones made up the background.  With the lights on, what we saw was all the people standing up as their section number was called.  With the lights out, you couldn’t see the people – only the giant numbers.  They really stood out.  Across the stadium we could see the numbers as they appeared in the crowd – 10…9…8 etc.

The practicing was lots of fun.  The whole place was buzzing with energy.

Next Post: the highs and lows of the ceremonies.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea