The Maccabiah 2013 Opening was one huge event,
with 9000 athletes from over 70 countries participating.
30,000 people came to watch the opening ceremony at Teddy Stadium.
Anyone who says Israelis are not patient and do not stay in line
would have been shocked by this queue for shuttle buses from the parking area to Teddy.
No way I was going to wait there, so I went around the corner to get a public bus.
Oops, not off to a good start, as it seems that these folks were waiting in the wrong place
and I found a seat on an empty bus.
Buses, buses and more buses arrived,
too bad there were none when I left and I had to walk home.
Only in Israel:
this boy was selling cut-up watermelon for 15 shekels,
and of course, there were bags of sunflower seeds for sale too.
Everyone found a light stick under their seat.
a rehearsal showed everyone how to use them during the performance.
There was certainly no shortage of Israeli flags.
The parade of nations followed the order of the Hebrew alphabet,
so the two athletes from Uzbekistan were the first to enter.
Many people were cheering both for their country of birth and for Israel.
One fan had his dual loyalty clearly painted on his face.
Australia was the second country to enter the hall, with 442 participants.
When we lived in Australia, we had many friends who were active in Maccabiah,
I tried hard to find someone I recognized in the enthusiastic group.
Here are 20 more photos if you want to look for an Aussie friend.
Azerbaijan had 12 athletes,
and Virgin Islands, just one, who got special attention,
Albania also had one.
Aruba, Armenia, followed by the USA.
1197 athletes came from the US, and this girl had good view for a great photo.
I was starting to get really tired at this point, but Brazil had plenty of color and energy.
Germany with 202 participants, stopped right in front, performed and posed.
Mongolia, Macedonia, Mexico,
Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain,
who knew there were so many countries?
58 athletes from Turkey,
and one from Scotland wearing a kilt.
111 athletes from Cuba came dressed in red, white and blue.
214 Mexican hats were ready to dance.
11 from Kazakhstan: what do you think of their hats?
By the time the 667 Canadians entered,
the aisle was filled with people trying to get a closer look,
I was sitting down and almost missed Amar’e Stoudemire.
Israel entered last with 3000 athletes; they kept coming and coming,
so it was time to switch to video.
The large Israeli flag was carried in and raised.
Finally the show began,
and we got to use the light sticks.
The massive stage has been taken down,
I can’t wait to see how they can top this for the closing ceremony.