June 16, 2014
DON'T BLAME IT ON RIO, DAYS 4,5
No, blame it on the bus driver in Natal
NATAL, Brazil -- For the first time since I arrived here Thursday, I did accomplished a first -- I got some sleep. Actually eight hours of it. I went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and woke up at 6:30 a.m., although it took a while for me to wake up.
It's a good thing that I got my rest because it will be a long day.
In fact, we already have endured one time-wasting event. The bus trip from the hotel to Arena das Dunas took 55 minutes, compared to 15 minutes on Sunday.
We got lost.
We had an official FIFA parking pass and drove right next to an entrance point. The bus driver went past it and we wound up taking a pre-game victory lap around the ground. At one point we were going toward the hotel again.
The police did not even allow us to get close to the stadium at one point and we had an official pass.
But I am happy to say that we got to the stadium in plenty of time to watch the second half of Germany's 4-0 demolition of Portugal.
Also for the first time I actually got to exercise, pumping away on a recumbent bicycle. Unfortunately, there were no towels to wipe my brow or the bike when I was finished.
The official FIFA media hotel we stayed at -- the Holiday Inn Express -- was not necessarily up to standard.
The breakfast lacked a lot of whole wheat grain bread, Cheerios (although it did have Coca Puffs).
The internet was dodgy at best as we all fell off it several times. That's not particularly encouraging when you are on deadline or a Sportsvue internet editor such as Charlie Cuttone or Frank Bertucci are waiting for a story.
While writing in the room on Saturday night, the power in the room suddenly went out -- lights and TV. It seems that if there is no motion in an area for a certain amount of time, the power shuts down for conservation purposes. It certainly makes sense. Oh yes, the power came on again and we made sure there was plenty of motion in the room.
Oh and one last thing, I have been getting a lot of abuse from my roommate, Filip Bondy, in his daily diary of the World Cup for the New York Daily News. It's the price one pays of being around Filip at these events. Just wanted to let you know some of what he writes in those diaries is, ahem, more than a bit exaggerated.
In Monday's diary, Mr. Bondy wrote that I get up at 5:30 a.m. and starts typing. I am actually still dead to the world at that hour.
I have heard from a very good source that is close to Mr. Bondy that he could be writing about me accusing him of stealing my World Soccer magazine in his Tuesday piece. In reality, I had asked Mr. Bondy that he might have taken my WS by mistake or that I might have left my magazine in Sao Paulo.
Hopefully, something earth-shattering will occur that will knock it out of the column.
Just remember: anything Mr. Bondy writes is based on actual events, not necessarily the actual events themselves.