Paul Radley | July 26, 2012
If any of the UAE’s Olympians suffer from homesickness, they should not have too many concerns about their trip to Stratford for London 2012.
The organisers of the Games could not have done any more to accommodate their Emirati guests.
First they turned up the weather from the damp and chilly squalls which had dominated the first half of the British summer. For the past three days there has not been a cloud in the skies above the English capital, and temperatures have reached a summery (or wintry, depending on where you come from) 29 degrees.
The UAE residents on tour have had other needs catered for, too. Between the Athlete’s Village and the Olympic Stadium is a massive (by London standards, anyway – Dubai Mall it certainly is not) shopping mall.
Westfield Stratford Park, as it is called, is certain to do a roaring trade over the course of the next two weeks, even if the Emirati contingent in East London will be relatively small.
All public transport travellers to this part of town are basically kettled through the shopping mall to get to the Olympic Park. The UK economy has apparently been shrinking for months. If Westfield does not turn a profit over the next two weeks, the end really is nigh.