I spotted something on travelmole.com today that made me think, and that's not always easy, folks.
The story said that a study found nearly four million adults in the UK plan to flee Britain during the Summer 2012 Olympics, which start July 27 next year. Another four million, to be fair, will stay in the UK specifically because of the Games.
And that's damned smart, if you ask me. Anyone who's been lucky enough to go to the Olympics, and I've covered the last six for the Star, will tell you it's sheer magic. People congregate all over town and sit together and cheer for athletes they've never heard of. They meet folks wearing funny costumes (see accompanying photo, courtesy of Macleans) and drink a little too much and generally have a wonderful time.
And the host city is almost always easier to get around in than during non-Olympic periods. When the Games were in L.A. in 1984, they said you could drive across town in half an hour - even less if you were being chased by a white Bronco.
The atmosphere in Vancouver after the Winter Games ended last year was absolutely marvellous; one of the highlights of my life.
The survey also found that only 37% of UK residents felt positively about the Olympics, although the number in London was 46%. However, only 48% of Londoners believe the event will have a positive impact on the economy, compared with 54% in the rest of the UK.
I've always believed it's silly to invest too much in the Olympics as a future economic boost. The truth is, they're all about having a big party and investing in things you normally wouldn't get around to and speeding up infrastructure that usually would take decades. (More like centuries in Toronto. It's a little known fact that John Graves Simcoe, when he was Lt. Governor back in the 1790s, proposed a light rail transit line from downtown to Pearson).
Barcelona is on everyone's list of cities to go to in Europe not because they held the Olympics per se but because they went WILD for infrastructure and created beautiful parks and funky sculptures (see photo) and built beautiful bridges and SPENT MONEY to fix up the place. (Which brings up my personal memo #17 to Rob Ford - you have to SPEND MONEY and INVEST IN YOUR CITY if you want things to improve. Nobody goes to Barcelona because they cut taxes and have a balanced budget).
So, my advice, for what it's worth, is for Brits to stay home and enjoy the party in 2012. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to let loose and party like it's 1999.
LEMON CAKE? SIGN ME UP!!!!
Also spotted on the travel wires this morning was an item at businesstraveller.com that said BMi airlines was doing something extremely radical and ADDING SERVICE to their flights. What a concept!
Apparently, folks on select flights will get Victoria sponge cakes, carrot cake (hopefully without nuts) or, even better, lemon drizzle cakes. I've never tried a Victoria sponge cake, but anything with lemon has to be pretty good. And it's cake, folks. Cake!
I have a nephew who doesn't like cake. Personally, I don't think he'd recognize Margaret Atwood on the street, either. And I think he's crazy.
I adore a good piece of cake. Coffee cake with cinnamon and crunchy crumble stuff is absolutely divine, and you simply can't beat a good chocolate cake, especially if you follow your father's lead and ask your server (my Mom did this for my Dad and deserves sainthood for it, I think) to put the part with the icing on top facing outward to your left, so that when you eat the cake right to left your last bite has icing on two sides, if you get my drift.
The Business Traveller story had comments from readers. One funny guy, danwolf, wrote the following:
"I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought of Mary Antoinette when I saw that flexi economy passengers will be allowed to eat cake...I'm sure it will only be offered once the plastic vacuumed bread rolls have run out."
Another chap wondered about the cake and wrote, "Is it off with their heads for overweight baggage?"
Of those surveyed, only 4% of the UK successfully purchased tickets, with only one in 10 Londoners managing to get their hands on the biggest ticketed event the country has seen in many years.