Stories from Oz – The Olympic Stadium I

 

“Next Stop: Homebush!”

 

The train is so crowded we can barely breathe.  My boyfriend at the time is short – all I can see is the tip of his baseball cap through the sea of people.  It is hot and doesn’t smell great, but the ride is pretty short from Circular Quay down to the stadium at Homebush.  We are on our way to our first Olympic event.

 

So, it’s not actually an event.  It’s a heat, the runup to the real thing.  Since my significant other did not feel he needed to work, and frequently stole the rent money I had earned to buy beer, we didn’t have a lot of extra money to buy tickets with.  Instead of kicking his lazy butt to the curb and buying myself some real tickets (as I wish wish wish now I had done), I settled for tickets to the heats for rowing and for some track and field events.  These were good enough for me, and we got to spend a lovely afternoon in a relatively empty stadium, with great seats and a great view.

 

At the time we were living in a house with a bunch of New Zealanders – Kiwis they’re called.  I had gone into Sydney the weekend before the heats and sought out flags for each of us – mini palm-sized flags for the Kiwis, a torso-sized British flag for my English boyfriend, and an absolutely humongous, bigger-than-a-beach-towel-sized American flag for me.  Some may say this is typical over-the-top patriotic American behavior – I say they only had my flag in that large size, and I’m sticking to my story.  Anyway, the Kiwis had tucked their flags in their hippy hemp purses, Ben had tied his flag like a doo rag around his head, and I wore mine like a cape.  We were frickin idiots, but we were pretty tame compared to some: we hadn’t gone for the full body paints, shaved tattooed heads, or complete hand-sewn matching outfits in our countries’ colors.

 

We were herded off the train at Homebush station and trooped down a sort of midway between shops and grassy squares.  The beauty of having the Olympics in Australia is that the country is about 99% empty space, so they had this lovely area just outside the major city of Sydney that they could engineer and build up specifically for the Olympics.  The whole thing was geared towards getting a large group of foreign people to flow naturally through as many beer gardens as possible.  I have to say the entire period before, after, and during the Olympics really showcased Sydney at its best.  Transportation was plentiful and the routes were easy to follow, the city was clean and safe, and the native Australians were open and welcoming hosts to the scores of foreign people bugging them for directions.
 
Homebush was the site of the major stadium, and this was where we were headed down the thruway.  Hurdles, discus, dashes, and Gail Devers awaited . . .
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One Response to Stories from Oz – The Olympic Stadium I

  1. Nice Girl says:

    I am so jealous!  I\’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics, be in an Olympic city, be an Olympian!  :)  
     
    That pic from Erin\’s wedding is hysterical.  It makes my desire to chop off my hair even stronger.  Your hair is so cute in the pictures with Jenji! 
     
    Hope you had a great weekend!  Erin left me a funny voice mail last night that you now know more about my life than she does because you read my blog!  That made me laugh out loud!
     
    Amanda  :)  

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