Getting Lost in London

One thing the LOCOG assured visitors of during the Games was that they would not get lost. The inevitability of this happening is based on entrance to a foreign country and the confusing differences between the UK and the US (where are the street signs? why aren’t the crosswalks at the ends of the roads? why is everyone going the wrong way?).

It’s actually pretty easy to find lost people.

See?

But basic construction of the city has made it friendlier, because you don’t have to ask for directions. Except for maybe these call centers in the Tube.

You press a button and a British voice comes out!

By putting up signs, directions, and posts that say “you are here,” being lost is not seen as a cause for alarm and embarrassment.

Signs like this were all over central London

Close-up at Baker Street

Since I took the Tube, I noticed the use of the LOCOG’s particular shade of pink to point out Olympic stadium locations.

Can you see the pink?

It was at a point that no one could get to Olympic Park without being blind.

Pink sign!

People in the UK don’t get off the train, they ALIGHT.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with asking for directions, and actually, the people I asked for directions were very nice, especially the volunteers. Though I can understand why people were apprehensive to ask Londoners, considering how much traffic the Olympics was supposed to bring in.

Signs like this weren’t as helpful.

However, the volunteers were also great help too. Especially after they did this to the signs.

Sign Castle!

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Are You A Fan of the Olympics?

Chris Savage's Alternative Logo

via BBC’s alternative logo contest in 2007

Why?

Oh, sure, the sports. Surely that’s not it. You can go to local game. Or join a team and play yourself — or if you used to play, I bet you have some old tapes of you doing so. Maybe you can switch to digital and get nostalgic for an afternoon.

But no, it’s important to you to watch the OLYMPICS. IN LONDON. IN 2012 (only half a year left till the end of the world, everyone!).

Well, of course! It’s the most prominent, public international event ever — and definitely the most fun. In this case, a fan can be anyone who watches the Olympics for the sports, the athletes, or perhaps something else: the idea that playing games together brings the international community together. It’s an amazing display of diplomacy as associated with one of the top five things that makes us happy: sports.

Well, that’s supposed to be the point, but then McDonald’s is the official Olympic restaurant (?), NBC is going crazy over it being Michael Phelps’s last Olympics (!), and Saudi Arabia apparently has No Female Athletes — wait no now they do — wait, nevermind (?!). And then the LOCOG is telling fans they can’t make free commemorative pillows for the athletes, while Ryan Lochte is going to dazzle us all with his…swimming. Then there’s the IOC, who are like the Dumbledore of the Olympics (but only if you read the last book).

But what are the “medal-heads” in it for? Why are you a fan of the Olympics?