Olympics opening ceremony: The view from London

Punters sing "God Save the Queen" in Shephard's Tavern.

There was electricity in the air above London in the hours before the night’s highly-anticipated Olympic opening ceremony.

Over 80,000 lucky people watched Danny Boyle’s spectacular show from inside Olympic Stadium – transformed  into a magical picture of rural Britain.

The $42 million ceremony lived up to the hype, with every element of British culture — from an appearance by the Queen to laughs with British comedy icon Mr. Bean — covered.

Millions of travelers from nearly every country in the world bartered for space in crowded pubs or flooded the streets, taking in the atmosphere.  Those who ventured to Hyde Park to watch a public screening were disappointed to learn that tickets to enter the fenced-off area cost of 66 pounds. Still, the excitement could not be quelled  as thousands of people who were turned away, like Londoner Gary Kemp, took to the lawn instead, meeting fans from other countries and making new friends.
 
“It’s been building and building and building, and now it’s here,” Kemp told Metro. “Just seeing all the people from other countries, we’ve been walking around, meeting people. It’s really exciting.”

International fans wave their flags in Hyde Park. (Cassandra Garrison/Metro)

When Metro caught up with Gabriela Penda, of Puebla, Mexico, she was singing and dancing with a group of Brazilian friends she had just met.

“I love that people from all the countries from the entire world are in London right now,” Penda said.  “Everyone is so friendly.”

The ceremony prompted cheers and moments of silence from the bar crowd, who often raised their glasses in appreciation.

“It was well thought out, well executed, and appeared to be the result of a lot of effort,” said Will Thompson, who gathered with friends to watch the ceremony in Shephard’s Tavern in Shepherd’s Market. “I’m a history freak, so the industrial revolution side was impressive.”

The ceremony concluded with the march of more 10,000 athletes from more than 200 nations. The flag for Team USA was carried by fencer Mariel Zaganus.

Thai fans in costume. (CG/Metro)


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