I really wanted to do it. Listen to Obama speak, not on TV, but in real! So I signed up for a political event organised by ‘Hillary for America’ where he was going to speak. It was close by, at the University of North Florida. He was to speak at 1.45 pm and we were told that the gates would open by 12pm.
An email cofirmation also informed us that:
Please be aware that your RSVP is sufficient enter the event, but neither your RSVP nor a physical ticket will guarantee admission. The event will fill up on a first come first serve basis, so please plan to arrive early.
So we figured we should be there by 11 am. But alas, we were so wrong. By the time we reached the campus, we saw a long, long queue and later realized it was not just one but three long, serpentine queues of people waiting to get it in. The capacity of the arena was about 8000 people so we did not give up and decided to walk a mile to reach the end of the general queue.
Before we did that, we were cluelessly standing in a VIP queue only to later realize after overhearing someone’s conversation that we did not have the blue or red VIP passes, and therefore had to be part of the general queue. How I wish that that had been made clear by the organisers.
After three hours of finally waiting in the general queue, we were informed that the arena was packed to full capacity. So we departed. Disappointed. But luckily, we got to see the President’s all black motorcade.
Here’s a photo essay from our visit. (which I dedicatedly live-tweeted from the scene)
I just found this video on YouTube that clearly shows how early I should have been camping at the UNF to see Obama – 7.30am!