Ok, so my attempts to write everyday have been sorely thwarted but no fear, I still have plenty to share 🙂
This morning, as I look out the window of the hotel breakfast room, I see a very different picture to what was there every day before hand. 70 thousand volunteers who I would think the Games could not have done without, considering the sea of humanity that swelled over Stratford for the past 2 weeks, have gone, and the wash of pink and blue uniforms that dominated the Olympic park has subsided.
I use the analogy of the sea in this instance because something that was quite obvious was how en mass, human movement looks like a wave. Quit extraordinary really, that as individuals we don’t create much of a ripple (in this instance) but when you are attempting to navigate a force of 12+ people moving in one line, line after line, after line and all you want to do is get to the other side of that mass, it really feels like you are trying to cross the Red Sea!!!
Something else that I find interesting is how despite the surge of numbers here in Stratford and the greater London area, I still have no real concept of what it would be like to live here. Busy is one word that comes to mind, but even then, gauging that business is almost impossible when what I have seen and been a part of, is really a product of human intervention on an Olympic scale 🙂 Sorry, had to use that phrase at least once 😀
My main point of interest now, is to see how this great city recovers from the onslaught of people, the huge peaks in sales figures and the sheer volume of noise created by hundreds of thousands of people. What will it be like here in Stratford, now that the Olympics are over? The Westfield Mall, that has itself welcomed thousands and thousands of people through its doors every day, will quite possibly feel like a ghost town in comparison over the next few weeks, as people return to their jobs, athletes and their crews return to their countries and record spending is replaced by everyday living expenses and normal pay cheque to pay cheque life is resumed.
My concerns go to the high financial expectations created by such an event like this. I’m not overly concerned about the likes of Marks & Spencer, Top Shop or Selfidges: their capacity to swallow the highs and lows are much bigger due to the sheer size of these companies. It’s the little guys: the little stores, the old school bakeries, boutiques and coffee shops. Swells such as these certainly may have already had an impact on these kinds of businesses, with the majority of the temporary population being heavily directed into the monolith of a mall.
Really my thoughts are more of a commentary today than anything really concrete. I suppose it’s really just a wait and see situation. My prayer is that London will not only feel the boost in their economy but that this boost will have a positive flow on effect for years to come. Only time will tell 🙂
In the meantime, there will at least be a gradual drop off as those who are still working in the Olympic Village go about their business. As for me, I am glad that tomorrow evening Andrew and I will fly home to Sydney and again enjoy the company of our family and return to the somewhat ‘normal’ life that we lead. It has been more than a joy to be here, especially since I really didn’t expect to be able to come and every day has been full to the brim of treasured moments, new experiences and many more memories to add to my already full and fabulous life.