Wonderful words to hear at the hotel
Pip, pip, and all that stuff.
(I’ll get used to the vernacular as we go along, promise)
I know I’m in London ‘cause I’m writing this in the lower back seat of a double-decker bus headed out to the main press centre.
We’ll be a little shorter than usual today; got about 90 minutes sleep in two 45-minute stretches so pardon the lack of wit and, I’m sure, more than a couple of typos.
So, for the first time of the seven of these I’ve done, we’re housed in a hotel rather than a media “village” and get this!!!!
The lobby bar is “OPEN ALL THE HOURS!”
Now, that’s living.
It’s looks like a lovely hotel, the Grange Holborn in the West End and in the 15 minutes I was in there before heading out to the main press centre, the air conditioning worked like a charm and the shower had solid water pressure. Can’t ask for more than that.
What we’ll miss, of course, is the communal feeling you get in those media villages, where thousands of like-minded souls from around the world would be housed in what are de facto high rise condos.
They always had an outdoor bar, a shopping area, a convenience store, a common breakfast room and you’d always run into someone you knew.
Might be a group of Canadians, could be a handful of Yanks, some Europeans. Every night you’d come back and you’d know who’d had a long, tough day by the number of people at the tables swapping stories.
You’d get to know new people, too. You’d see a group of, say, singing Germans one night and then the next night you’d see them again and by the third night you were nodding acquaintances.
By the end of the Games, you might be offered citizenship.
But that was then, this is now and there’ll be all kinds of interesting twists, I think. The hotel, unlike the media village, doesn’t require a credential to get in so who knows what kind of riff-raff we’ll be dealing with.
Not a bad way to welcome weary travellers at Heathrow.
Salvation Army Band just before passport control
Hope you folks who were whining about the grass needing some water back home were happy with that thunderstorm that hit about 8 o’clock last night.
I can tell you the 250 or so people who were trapped in the plane at the gate with me at Pearson for the better part of an hour weren’t all that pleased.
Yeah, we got a “red alert” warning about electricity in the air, and not the good kind, either, just after we boarded.
Sat there and sat there and sat there some more until we were finally able to push back and get on our way.
No whining, though, comfortable aisle seat near the front, a mini-TV screen that worked and maybe 90 minutes of shuteye.
So, what happens here between now and Friday when they kick things off?
Well, some competition – I believe Not Grace Kelly is off to Coventry tomorrow for the women’s football, the lucky soul – while the rest of us get acclimated to the bus system, the main press centre and the amenities.
There’ll be the odd news conference here and there for athletes competing early in the Game so there’ll be some real life stuff to report on a little bit.
But, truly, it’s mostly about figuring out how things work so we can really hit the ground running come Friday morning.
I’m taking the 10-minute walk from the hotel to the media bus depot and two minutes in I run across a Subway and 90 seconds later I pass a Pizza Hut and you have my solemn oath never to step in either for the 21 more days I’m here.
The Starbucks that’s between them? Well, that’s an entirely different story.
Know all those stories about nightmare lines at Heathrow and how horrible getting here is?
Not my experience.
Might have been the smoothest one yet, landed, two volunteers met us at the top of the ramp, walked us – I had Stumpy and Sy from the Sun on my flight – through passport control, they validated our credentials in about 90 seconds and by the time we got through there the bags were on the carousel.
Train ride to Paddington, complimentary ride to the hotel and it wasn’t two hours from wheels down to hotel room opened.
(Yes, I realize the jinx in there, don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind.
Oh, Raptors news?
I hear the schedule might be out this week or next so you can plan your summers.
All right, off to explore a bit and get my feet under me.
More, better stuff tomorrow, I hope.