LONDON For the sum of 10 British pounds, roughly $15.69, you can get a ticket this weekend to see the world.Thats what it costs to enter the Olympic Park in Stratford.You dont need a separate ticket to the big stadium, where tonight Usain Bolt will continue his quest for legend status. You dont need an event ticket at all. Instead, one grounds-only admission buys all the walking and people-watching you can stand.The Olympic Park spans 500 acres of formerly undistinguished, blue-collar neighborhood in the suburban town of Stratford. Not to be confused with Shakespeares leafy birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stratford is about six asphalt miles north and east of Central London.No major monuments. No West End theatres. No neon.Until the Olympics came to town.This, therefore, will be a prime piece of these Games legacy. When the Olympics leaves, the security fences will come down and the Stratford and neighboring Hackney Wick kids will have a grand, new swimming pool to play in.There is already a bright, new train station, called Stratford International, and there will be 3,600 new high-rise apartments, now the Olympic Village.For a few more days, though, its a last chance to soak up the magic.In Olympic Park, you walk. And walk.The better to gawk at and talk to other people with.On the winding creek, the River Lea, that runs through the park, someone had the genius to install giant, high-def TV screens that the Brits say are as large as three double-decker buses. Sponsored by British Airways, the Park Live site and the banks of the River Lea have been filled all weekend with spectators watching the Olympics, even when some of the events are just a few hundred feet away.They bring blankets and picnic lunches. They paint their faces and wave flags. They covered the grassy slopes of Park Live from the waters edge to the top of the hill.There are 22 live public viewing sites around the UK. Besides the one in the Olympic Park, BT London Live has been hosting a site in Hyde Park that also features concerts and British medal winners.Its been a party.Paris, oui ou non?Their shirts read, France, and so I decided it was time to ask a most uncomfortable question.Excusez-moi, I began, scraping the considerable rust off my seldom-practiced French.How, I asked, is the media in France describing the Olympics that Paris wanted so dearly seven years ago? The lady looked at her friend and they both winced. Im not sure if it was from my pronunciations or the fact that I was from the USA.They are saying that London is doing a very good job, although the food is terrible, the friend said, laughing as if shed told an old French joke.And what do you two think, I asked? We would say the same thing, the other said, presumably acknowledging the folly of British potatoes.Seven years ago, Paris was roundly considered to be the favorite to win the IOCs vote to host these 2012 Olympic Games. Instead, Lord Sebastian Coe and his London group outworked French president Jacques Chirac and the cocky Paris bid team.Chirac infamously said something like, Yes, but who wants to eat English food for three weeks?I know what he was talking about.A Paris Olympics would have been formidable, without question. But its hard to imagine that the French could have replicated the warmth and enthusiasm that the British hosts have shown.Could Paris have staged a better Olympics, I asked?How can we say? one of the women answered. Paris did not get the Games. London did.The friend added a snarky footnote.You know, of course, that we elected a new president, yes?Yes. And its been written that Chirac never recovered from Paris not getting these 2012 Olympics.New friends, dodgy warnings My favorite restaurant between my dorm at East London and the Olympic Park has become a burger joint on the third level of the Westfield shopping mall.Dont roll your eyes. Every kind of cuisine can be found in the food areas at Westfield Italian, Moroccan, Lebanese, etc., etc.But the Ultimate Grill features an American-sized burger with American mayonnaise, served with American fries and American ketchup that you can wash down with an American bottle of Coca-Cola.All while sitting at a table next to seven young Muslim-born women, one of them in hijab, from East London.It was Friday night and they all were dressed wonderfully. They came all the way from the suburb of Ilford, more or less just to get a hamburger.I had forgotten to bring my passport to freedom, my Oyster card, which allows me to navigate the London train system without feeding the machines five pounds of coins every trip.Can you sneak through the turnstiles without paying, I innocently asked?Yes, and theyve all done it, they revealed. Just dont get caught, or its a hefty fine.We started talking about the uber-busy, modern Westfield mall, and I wondered what its going to be like when the Olympics goes home.Its going to be different, one of the women answered in perfect Queens speech, because this has never been the best of areas.Local organizers even closed the Hackney Wick train stop the one actually closest to the Main Press Center for fear of some foreign journalist being unseamed from his nave to his chops.Hackney Wick, hmm, one of the women mused aloud. Id be careful. Its rather dodgy.We talked for about 20 minutes, the subjects ranging from the Beatles (If Paul McCartney is that tired, he should just stop singing, one said) to the U.S. basketball team (Who is that one, the young lady in the hijab asked, who is on the TV with the Kardashians?)They gave me a short list of things to do while Im still in London.And a list of other dodgy areas to stay away from.I didnt ask what Muslim nation their parents came from. It didnt matter.They were Londoners, speaking in a London accent.And on this Olympic weekend, we were all there for a hamburger.