The scene at Federation Square
Last night was the opening ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games here in Melbourne. I heard that they are getting a whole lot of coverage at home, but this is a HUGE deal for the city of Melbourne. I didn't have plans last night but then it struck me that I really had to do something since it is happening down the street. Shortly after 8pm I took a tram into the middle of the (free) action. Tickets for the event in the stadium started at like 400$ so that wasn't really an option.
The ceremonies were actually pretty impressive, maybe moreso for me since I knew it was all going down on the other side of the river. Her Majesty the Queen was in attendance to decalre the games open. I don't know exactly what bits of news get to you, but there was a big controversy about not singing God Save the Queen this time around. The compromise was to sing like a half a verse. Some kid went up and mentioned that since the Queens 80th birthday was coming up, they would sing for her. Then some kids choir and a lady sang happy birthday and threw in the half a verse of God Save the Queen after that. Very well done. But man, they kept showing her on TV and that Prince Philip beside her never seemed too happy. He seems old and bitter, probably because noone knows him and his spotlight has been stolen by the Queen for the past 54 years of her reign.
The Queens Baton was also kind of neat. It travelled to everyone of the 71 Commonwealth countries, over 186 000km, with a message from the Queen in it, which she read to open the games. There was green on it to represent the Garden State that is Victoria. and gold on it to represent the goldfields of Victoria, as well as 71 flashing lights on it representing all the countries.
I have to say though, the most impressive part of the night was the fireworks. We were fortunate enough to have the big screen showing the fireworks in front of us, and then the actualy fireworks happening right behind us. There was actually 3 venues of fireworks, we were looking at the ones on the skyscrapers and could see some on the river and then there were more above the stadium. Check out this link to a video I took, it should give a good idea of the atmosphere.
The last picture is Flinders Street Station. It is pretty much an icon of Melbourne and a pretty impressive building as well being the gold colour that it is. There was masses of people piling out of everywhere after the ceremonies. The tram home was completely packed and just when you thought noone else would fit, some foreigners would squeeze their way in and make it tighter. Unreal how many people were everywhere last night, a real party atmosphere. Hopefully I will make out to some events next week, should be interesting.
That's all for now. I have to say, I have a busy and interesting month ahead with several trips planned.