I could well be feeling a bit bitter (to say the least) about my impending 30th birthday next year, but I’m just not feeling this whole London 2012 Olympic malarkey. You know what I think of when I think of the Olympics? Of what a dump of an area the main centre is based in and what a nightmare it’s going to be getting into work.
Maybe if my boyfriend had managed to get through the joke that was ticket allocation and secured us some tickets to see just even one of the events, then I might be more excitable.
I’m not really a particularly sporty person so I guess that doesn’t help. Getting on the DLR from Stratford to get to my last job in Canary Wharf and now getting a mainline through from Liverpool Street from my current job, I’ve seen the site develop and come together. Do I feel any excitement when I see the swimming area or main stadium? Nope.
Of course it’s argued this will bring the country together, revamp the area of Stratford, create huge employment opportunities, get West Ham a new ground, bring in lots of money from tourism and more. To me it equals travel chaos and messing up my birthday plans. Selfish? Me? Never!
When I was looking for work I even put myself forward to some Olympic-related employment, didn’t hear anything. Charming!
However there is a beacon of light, I’ve seen my friend has been nominated to be a torch bearer which is pretty cool I’ll admit. The best thing I’ve discovered though? Westfield Shopping Centre.
I’ve not been there yet – it’s been open less than week I know – but when I go past Stratford now on the train I stare out at that huge shopping mecca and get butterflies. Ooh all those shops, and restaurants… Apparently there are around 300 shops, the UK’s biggest window and approximately 70 restaurants. Wow.
I heard when it opened they were giving out goodie bags to the first lot of people in the door (well obviously only a set number), that it has a cinema, hotels and a bowling alley. You know what else? I’m prepared to go to Stratford and grin and bear it to experience that shopping area too. Well it does look like there is a huge walkway from the station to the shopping area anyway so perhaps I won’t even need to set foot in Stratford?
You all go and enjoy the Olympics next year now though won’t you. I’ll be the drunken, sobbing woman sat in an empty bar surrounded by endless shopping bags in complete denial of my age and moaning about our capital’s crap transport system, while you all get patriotic, witness some star athletes and are too busy to ‘celebrate’ my birthday with me.
Okay, so I originally wrote this post last night but couldn’t get online to upload it. Today by pure coincidence I actually did go to Westfield Stratford. To go one from one extreme to the other, on maid of honour duty myself and the bride-to-be ended up on a journey which switched from Camden to said shopping centre.
We were shopping for shoes – anyone who knows me and indeed the bride-to-be will know shoe shopping is not often a fun experience for me anyway – I have big feet for a girl and I am super tall so I can either not get shoes that fit or heels that are a good match for me.
Thankfully the focus was not on my footwear today, but alas we were still unsuccessful in our ventures. Anyway, back to Westfield. Hm, well okay perhaps it was slightly misguided to go to visit this mammoth mall on the first weekend of opening, but it was madness. The amount of people that had been allowed to enter that place was ridiculous – it was so busy. I hate to say it but as I mentioned above, the area Westfield is based isn’t the nicest of places and I haven’t always had the best of experiences sharing a train platform with its inhabitants. Unfortunately the shopping centre was pretty similar. Obviously I don’t know who for a fact who there was local and who wasn’t but a lot of people that were there were so rude!
Maybe it’s me and we were a bit tired by the point we reached there anyway but it almost seemed too big there. There is a lovely little market area downstairs where you can enjoy a variety of authentic cuisines – Italian café, Japanese sushi, traditional Lebanese, coffee shop, French macaroons, Indian delicacies and lots more. Lovely. Yes it is, apart from the fact these places have like two tables at them for people to sit at and not a lot more, so if you want to rest your weary feet in an authentic environment good luck.
There were lots of areas in the middle of the floors too but due to the crowds of people you couldn’t really see what they were/enjoy what I assume are opening events/displays because there were just too many people around. Myself and others I know have already concluded weekend visits are a no go – for the timebeing at least – and as for Christmas, I don’t think I’ll be braving the queues, crowds and barging shoppers.
That said don’t get me wrong it looks good and there is a nice selection of shops there and I’m sure it’ll be very popular. Next time I walk Westfields fancy floors it will definitely be a weekday and when the initial excitement has calmed somewhat. The cappuccino and Italian biscuits were pretty scrummy though!