Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cheerio from London

It’s always great to visit a host city just after an Olympics, and that’s one of the reasons I stopped in London on my way home.  Just two months after the 2012 Summer Games, there are no visits allowed to Olympic Park.  They’re already working on ‘repurposing’ the facilities.  I did get a good view of the stadium, the signature ‘Orbit’ tower and other venues from a new adjacent shopping mall and the top floor of a Holiday Inn. Westfield Stratford City, part of the East End redevelopment, is said to be the largest shopping center in Europe.  And there are other things all over London that are fresh and new, including shiny, faster underground cars that bear the colors of the Union Jack.  Even taxis look refreshed and updated; they’re not just black anymore!  But payphone booths are still red.  I’ve traveled less than half of the journey back, and I’ll fly the rest of the way tomorrow.  But things are already feeling more like home.  All of the light complexions here are a bit jarring, and I hear very few words that aren’t spoken in English.  Yes, I’m out of the dust, and I can drink the water.  But I miss the animals, and the people, too.  And I miss the morning sounds, and the stars at night.  There isn’t a lot that’s fresh and new in Africa.  But that’s one of the reasons it’s such a special place.  There’s nowhere else in the world that’s more amazing, and alive, and beautiful and wondrous.  How fortunate I am to have spent a whole month there!

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