Whatis it they say about best laid plans?
With an expectant crowd gathered in Chinatown, the champagne already popped and the countdown to Beijing 2008 complete, the big screen promptly refused to work. It was left to Beibei the fish, Jingjing the Panda and Huanhuan the Olympic Flame - the Games' mascots - to placate the crowd with some improvised bobbing around while engineers frantically worked on the satellite.
But the glitch could not ruin China's big day for long and the screen soon flickered into life, broadcasting the remarkable opening ceremony from the Bird's Nest stadium to an awe-struck Gerrard Street crowd.
As the nations trouped around the track, knots of Chinese origin locals, young and old, craned for a view in what was evidently a proud day for the local community.
"This is about bringing everyone together for a great, truly global event," said Leslie Ng, vice-chair of the London Chinatown Chinese Association.
"Many of the Chinatown community will be supporting both Chinese and English athletes throughout the Games and there'll be a lot of interest in the handover of the torch at the end to London."
While the world marvelled at events in Beijing, closer to home spectators mused over the meaning of the Games to London's discreet Chinese diaspora.
"It's going to be really interesting time for the Chinese community," said Covent Garden resident Lee O'Neill, 28.
"It's a chance for Londoners to get to know Chinatown properly, and vice versa. Most people come just to spend money at the restaurants, they don't really engage with Chinese people at all. It'll be great if people started warming up to each other a bit more through the Olympics."
There is a fair way to go if the polite and shy, refusals for interviews by the Chinese locals are anything to go by.
A stone's throw away in Trafalgar Square a big crowd gathered in front of the giant screen installed to relay all the action from Beijing.
Tourists from each nation cheered when their flag appeared in the stadium. A ripple of applause greeted the
French and Russian contingents. One man shouted "go on my son" at the sight of
Olympic veteran Mark Foster flying Team GB's flag, and a chorus of boos rang out as the camera panned to a beaming George Bush. But as the towering figure of basketball player, Yao Ming, led the Chinese athletes into the arena cheers exploded across the square.
Dozens of people in 'Go China' T-shirts or draped in the national flag clapped their approval. Two Australians in Chinese skull caps - complete with fake pony tail - cheered. It felt like a rare sighting of China's national colours in the heart of the capital and could be a sign of a more visible, self-confident and extrovert Chinese diaspora appearing in London. But, as ever with China, there were pockets of dissent.
Tucked away at the front of the National Portrait Gallery, a sandwich board-wearing protester was determined not to let the glory of the Games mask China's poor human rights record. "I've had a few dirty looks and comments from people wearing 'I love China' shirts, but it's unbelievable that the world let them have the Games without challenging China to be less repressive," said Anne Gehring.
A Burmese man walked over to applaud her stand, but the majority were indifferent, absorbed by the history unfolding on the screen.