A show jumper with Canary Wharf in the distance. Fencers in front of Warwick Castle. Hockey in front of some other ancient pile. A weighlifter eyeing up the top-stones at Stonehenge. Beach volleyball in Horseguards Parade. Discus throwing from the Giants Causeway. An athlete hurdling antique chairs in a stately home. Wheelchair basketballers on the Royal Mile at Windsor. Kayaking down the water course at Chatsworth House. A single scull in front of the 02.
Of the many things we might have expected to see in Santo Domingo, an outdoor exhibition of posters promoting the imminent Olympic Games was not one of them.The exhibition lined the fence surrounding the Parque Independencia, one of the most important and most visited historical sites in Santo Domingo. We were in town to celebrate Zach’s birthday (see Cumpleaños de Zach for more on this trip), and this exhibition was a fabulous surprise that we came upon quite unexpectedly as we walked from the coach station to the Zona Colonial.
The exhibition had been organised by the British Embassy. It consisted of maybe 100 large posters (maybe 3 feet by 5 feet), each with a fabulous photo showing some scene promoting the Olympics, or some aspect of British life – plus an informative commentary.
It took us a good 20 minutes to walk the full length of the exhibition, with many a “we’ve been there” and a “do you remember when….” along the way. For example, four years ago, Matt & Ben stood almost on the very spot where the kayaker is about to launch down the water course. They were three years old, page boys in full morning suits at Auntie Sarah and Uncle Mark’s wedding. Our voices caught at the memory of it. The Great Mile toward Windsor Castle we know well from many a walk while we lived in Maidenhead. The hurdler made us laugh out loud – how very British, jumping over make-shift hurdles in a stately dining room.
We have no idea if this is part of a worldwide campaign. We don’t care. We were captivated (and a little bit homesick). My photos don’t do the exhibition justice. Well done the British Embassy. Well done indeed. We hope the Olympics for real is as good as it looks in the publicity shots.