I took a late nap yesterday, and woke at precisely 8:08 pm. I rushed to my television set and turned it on... the last thing I would want to have happen is be living in Beijing during this incredible time and not have watched the Opening Ceremony live!
I shook my head constantly throughout the three-hour broadcast... as in, I cannot believe that I just saw that... no, that's not possible... the synergy of technology, machinery, and pure manpower was just overwhelming. It was a event that will stand the test of time when compared to other great events... and not just the opening ceremonies of other Olympic Games.
I also had the pleasure of watching the fireworks out my livingroom window. Not quite the same as actually being there (as were a couple of friends), but gratifying nonetheless.
The parade of athletes were in stark contrast to the precision of the rest of the event. These kids (at the age of 43 I guess I can now use this term in describing them) displayed the unbridled joy of having made it to this sporting event. They took pictures with cameras, described the surroundings to friends and family on cellphones, and generally rejoiced.
Some observations... the Bermudan team wore Bermuda shorts. The flag bearer for Denmark must've been a weightlifter or something like that... he straight-armed the damn thing, grinning, through the entire walk. Great Dane, indeed. The Aussies seemed to be having the most fun. Some of the outfits worn by the teams would've had Joan Rivers screaming. One team looked like they were dressed in a red cowskin pattern... don't know how else to describe it.
It was so, so nice to see our friends Rudd, Karzai and Sarkozy in the stands to wave at the athletes... not sure where Musharraf was, however.
btw, I think I might better understand why some folks at the BBC have been so critical of China as of late... I would hate to have to follow such an occurrence, as London will have to do in 2012. It'd be like a trio of accordion players taking the stage after, well, The Rolling Stones.