corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Monday, February 08, 2010


Message to ESPN: Playing computer games in not sport.
En route to Vancouver I had to stop off in Chicago for a couple of hours. I dreaded it, as I thought I wouldn't have enough time to get my bags, clear immigration, recheck my bags, take a train across the airport, check in again and get to the gate. As it turns out, it was an incredibly efficient process that I breezed through in a matter of minutes.
That left me more than an hour to kill, so I did what most Americans appeared to be doing with their spare time _ I watched sport on TV and drank weak beer.
I was flattered to be asked for ID to prove I was over 21. I didn't realize that was even necessary for a glass of Bud Light, which I think has roughly the same alcohol content as a Coke Lite.
I then sat at the bar with a bunch of other blokes, feeling a little embarrased I'd left my baseball cap at home, watching America's premium sporting channel - ESPN.
As I ordered my beer there was a college basketball match on the box, but as soon as I sat down they switched to cover 10-pin bowling. I didn't really pay much attention after the first minute, as it just looked like a parade of strikes and _ much as I love sport on TV _ this got to be a bit like watching paint drying, grass growing etc.
So I was pleased when the next show came on and appeared to be what I had actually sat down for in the first place _ the Super Bowl between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints. But no, it actually turned out to be coverage of people playing an American Football video game. I have to say it was a pretty cool looking game, but a game it remained.
Fortunately, my plane to Vancouver was on time and I left the kids to their consoles.
I had got myself a window seat at the back and was pleased I had because the view was amazing as we headed west more or less (I think) along or just south of the US-Canada border. Snow-covered fields gave way to what I suppose were the Rockies, all bathed in a late afternoon glow as the sun set. It sure beat watching bowling.

I am about to go out in the light in Vancouver for the first time, so I can't really give an opinion of the city. I got a chance to have a good look around in the dark last night as the bus driver who ferried me and two other journalists from the airport downtown (the four of us in a 60-seater bus - so much for Vancouver trumpeting these as the Green Games) got hopelessly lost. I'm not sure how long the trip should take, but we did it in more than an hour. The driver was incredibly nice and apologetic about the whole thing. He blamed a local organizer for incorrectly programming his TomTom. As with most Olympics, organizers here can't get enough local drivers for all the cars and buses needed to ferry around athletes and press. So this bloke drove two days from South Dakota to spend his holidays driving a bus here. Admirable, but it does lead to a certain lack of familiarity with the road network. There are always stories about these kinds of glitches in the days running up to the opening ceremony, but mostly they fade away as the sports get busier and the out-of-town drivers get a bit more local knowledge.
So in the absence of other images, I'll show you the delightful view from my hotel before I wander down to the harbor foreshore, which I'm hoping will be a bit more picturesque.

The Smiley Restaurant in the bottom left corner may become my regular morning haunt - they advertise a breakfast that includes a steak omelette.


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