August 19, 2008

Laying Down on the Job

When we arrived at the workroom, way back on Aug. 4, there was a constant buzz about. But I started to notice the other day that the energy level was getting low. I didn't realize how low until I walked past the little cafe area and saw that every couch was taken by a sleeping journalist (click the photo for a better view).

Usually, we're out the door by 9:30, latest, and often much earlier, so I'm used to glassy-eyed people on the bus. Today, I left at 11 a.m., pretty late, and I saw the same stares.

This past weekend was the hardest, I think, because swimming and track overlapped, and the key swim events have been in the morning (for American TV) and the track has been at night (for the rest of the world). So I guess it was guys who had been at the pool by 9 a.m. and then were napping because they had late-night events that started at 9 p.m.

Today is a slow day, with 13 medal events spread out from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The day officially began at 9 a.m. with the women's javelin qualifying. It ends with the women's 100m hurdles final. The middle of the day is mostly sailing, with a water polo match and a synchronized swimming prelim thrown in before things begin in earnest, again, at 5 p.m.

Yesterday Paul covered three events, but none started before 4 p.m., so he didn't finish writing until 3 a.m. If he'd had a morning event (like wrestling) it would have been tough, so maybe those are the guys who are crashed out. It isn't really practical to go back to your hotel, most of the time.

We have a 15-20 minute bus ride each way, and ours is one of the shortest. Paul picked the hotel because it said in the brochure it was only 1 kilometer away. I assume as the crow flies; certainly not as the bus drives. But when we were on our way to the restaurant the other night we saw several hotels that we know are on the media list, and they're 35 minutes away without traffic, and that's a rare happening. Plus, the buses run every half hour, usually, so depending on when you get to the bus, you could have a two-hour travel time round trip.

I'm tired, and I'm not even working hard. I thought it would be more fun, but it's a grind, and in a different way than working the Olympics from the desk. If I had a more predictable schedule, it might not be so bad. I was thinking how long we'd been gone (15 days) and that when I vacation, I usually don't like to be gone more than 10 days. We're well past that, and one more week to go.

Add to this all the coughing and hacking around us, and it's no wonder people are trying to get some rest wherever they can.

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