Around London in 80 days
In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.
And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.
Day 49: Olympics
I’m visiting London for a weekend, sometime in 2012. The Olympics are in full swing, the town’s centre is constantly overcrowded. I have never seen so many people, all the time, everywhere, in every little street, on every little square. I’m making my way through the human density when —believe it or not— someone recognises me.
I turn around: facing me is a man I met last summer, at a week-long melodeon in the south of France. A pale Englishman whom I mostly remember for wearing socks and sandals and singing Russian ballads at dinner. A strange but sweet man who doesn’t even live in London, I recall. But here he is, for the Games. Somehow our paths crossed at random in this particularly busy London month.
The event is so unlikely that we’re both compelled to stop for a chat. He’s on his way to Horse Guards Parade to watch the Race walking. He invites me to come along. It sounds random and fun, so I go and before I know it, I’m standing in a crowd, craning my neck to try and see anything from the road ahead.
They’ll be there any minute now. The tension is palpable in the crowd. Suddenly, people jump and scream enthusiastically. I catch a glimpse of extremely quick feet. That was it. They have gone already. Still I feel that I’ve had my share of the Olympics party.