17 Mar 2008 - Rod - Puerto Rico part I

ROD'S DIARY - PUERTO RICO MAR 10-11 Pt 1

Its was an almost eight hour flight Santiago to San Juan and we headed North flying just west of the coastline. It was a very clear day at first with maginificent views and I was hoping as we flew along the coastline of Peru we might see the Nascar lines the massive humming bird, eagle, spider etc etched into the ground, some say by aliens!! They werent discovered til the 1920s when man started to take to the air as of course you just cannot make them out from the ground and I think it is true to say that it is still a mystery who did them and why. They are hundreds of metres across, many of them. But it was not to be as the flight plan at that latitude took us too far off the Peruvian coast and flight plans unfortunately cannot be just changed for a bit of sight seeing! We crossed the Andes just north of Lima and sadly it was cloud all the way so we werent able to get another good look at the backbone of south America.

We arrived more or less on schedule and, as Puerto Rico is part of the USA, we had immigration and customs formalities on arrival. However as the aiiport was very quiet this was hassle free, unlike the pain it would have been having to clear in NY. The hotel was good but with a strange modern and pink decor, Bruce called it like a pimps palace and immediately changed to the crew hotel!!! it was also a casino and the bars were quite good. Very much a holiday rather than business hotel.

So checked in and, although it was getting late, did a bit of work. Its starting to get hard to open the laptop. Unlike earlier in the tour, on this trip I did nothing on the plane work wise that day, getting to the point where as the tour winds down to an end you start feeling it. During a tour the sheer adrenalin and amount to be done fires you up. But as the end nears and you think about getting home and there arent as many things to keep you occupied and you get fed up with the four walls of a hotel room and staring vacantly at keys on a laptop. I am doing this in my room in Toronto and its becoming an effort to start each paragraph, but has to be done. Home tomorrow!!

The next day was off, as it always following a long flight and our first since before San Paolo, about 125,000 fans ago!! Seems years. But we intend to make the best of it and with our crew have been plotting a day at sea (although in the end Squid (sic!!) got it all together) for a week or so. It was arranged. Five of us diving, about 18 snokelling.

We had a suitably equipped 6 man dive boat, the others a fine catamaran. Our team was Bruce, product manager Jason, Squid, Greg (Lauren's TM) and myself. Bruce has qualified PADI but some time ago and hadnt dived for a while but, other than his first water entry when he forgot to put in his regulator and came up gasping, he was soon comfortable in the water. The first dive at 60ft was pretty boring low visibility, mainly sand bed with a few outcrops of coral. It was however nice to relax under the water and have a mental break. The second was fantastic, just 15 ft on the reef, and when you are shallow the air of course last longer so we had almost an hour under, compared to 40 min on the first one. Visibility and colours tremendous, lots of beautiful fish hiding in the coral crevasses, all in all a very enjoyable dive.

We had joined the Cat and the snorkellers on a nearby offshore island for lunch and Sam joined us for the second dive to film Bruce a bit not underwater though!!

Back at the hotel the sea air and sun - it was a really beautiful day - had wiped me out but I had arrangements that eve so a good long Jacuzzi bath set me up for later. Believe it or not in my bedroom was a huge double Jacuzzi bath. I wonder what that is for, yes, actually in the bedroom in the corner!!

Anyway in the eve I had arranged to meet the Fox News team who are covering the show here and the flight to New York. So I took Dave P along and we met Laura Ingle the presenter and Ian the producer and Hollywood the cameraman. We went through what they were looking for and I ended out having dinner with them at the hotel. It is always interesting as I think I said before to have real News teams out with us as they have often been involved in major incidents and occasions happening in the World. Ian had just come back from a month on the road covering the US Primary Race and an inside view on that is fascinating. Hollywood had filmed all sorts of things and people including Bill Clinton recently and I always find tales about Bill most interesting!! Laura being a presenter largely works local NY and general US and just half an hour ago I saw her on Fox News with the report of the falling crane in NYC. Busy job and on call all the time.

So as you can see, similar to the CNN and Sky teams who were on the road with us, it is a great change of pace to have them around and in the end the dinner continued to the bar until the early hours.and whiskey. Now I dont ever really drink spirits except an occasional vodka and red bull to kick start a Friday night out, so I find the big W very tough the next day. And I definitely blame Hollywood for this, his nickname suits John to a tee, he is a lovely great hulking guy with shades, cool and a great sense of humour. The process of whiskey drinking (Jamesons Irish largely) is fine, it is the result I have problems with. When we finally called it a day at about 3am I had no trouble sleeping. Show day tomorrow. Always bad with a hangover as if anything is wrong the hangover can sometimes enhances the anger and resulting actions. And boy was that to be the case the next day and the show that very nearly didnt happen!!!!!!!

- Rod

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