LONDON -- Here are the top five things I have noticed so far at the Olympics (Part I):
1. Medal for moaning?
Almost every Olympic article I read prior to my arrival was about how annoyed Londoners were with the disruptions brought on by the Olympic Games. And when I arrived one week ago, my cabbie from the airport to my hotel told me (without prompting): "If there was a Medal for Moaning in the Olympics, we'd bloody win a gold medal." (It's so much better with his adorable accent.)
He continued: "We complain when rainy, we complain when sunny. We just complain. We can't help ourselves."
Well, I am happy to report my London experience has been moanless. In fact, I have only found subliminally giddy Britons who are more than happy to assist you with directions, your bag, hailing a cab, finding a Tube station, giving you the history of the Tower of London and often ask if you are having a "lovely holiday (translation: vacation)."
Londoners have been so nice, I am almost freaked out by it. Almost.
This fine country (well, actually, four countries make up the United Kingdom) should now be forever known and referred to as the United Kingdom of Boyle, as in Danny Boyle. The Academy Award-winning director basically owns it after the opening ceremony he orchestrated. To steal a line from the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record: "Danny Boyle set out to put the Great back into Britain." The Britons are convinced he pulled it off; I'm convinced my knowledge of British bands is terribly insufficient.
In this Land of Pubs, I have been doing some research for a story. If you ask a Brit what makes the perfect pub, eight times out of 10 they will say, "Whichever is closest." Next popular answer: "Whichever is open." Brilliant.
Favorite line from a London cabbie this week
When I say to him, "Have a great day, sir." He responds, "Already a great day. I have two arms and two legs."
Favorite Olympian so far
One day in, and my favorite Olympian so far is American swimmer Missy Franklin. Yes, she has the potential to be the breakout superstar at all of 17 years old. Yes, her seven events are more than any other American female swimmer in a single Olympics. Just those two factors alone are incredibly impressive, BUT I am most impressed with her airplane aisle dance moves in this entertaining U.S. swim team remake of "Call Me Maybe." (Go to 1:04 of this clip.)
There you have it. More to come ... if I can get out of the Perfect Pub.