Lia Cruz will be covering the 2012 London Olympics for TV5 and AKTV. From now until the end of the Games, Lia will be filing exclusive dispatches for InterAKTV, serving as our eyes and ears in London.
Truth be told, I didn’t know what was making me more excited: the fact that I would be covering the greatest sporting event in the world, the Olympics, or the fact that I would be based in one of the greatest cities in the world for around a month, London. The combination was so hot, I was bordering on spontaneously combusting for months leading up to our departure. I mean, how do you deal with both, really? A more seasoned journalist would probably shrug it off as just another job, but I was practically rabid with anticipation and disbelief — inside. I tried my best to hide it.
We took a short flight to Hong Kong, where we dozed off intermittently through a five-hour layover, after which we hopped on the grueling 13-hour flight to London. Now THAT was unexpectedly eventful. There was an odd (crazy, in my private opinion, which you didn’t read, ssshhh.) British-sounding woman seated a few rows behind us. Her antics started after a very late dinner was served. “S***! You expect me to eat this f***ing rubbish?! It’s rubbish! I’m so tired!!!” She yelled on and off, at intervals of about ten minutes for a couple of hours, picking a huge fight with the flight attendants, and marching up and down the aisles, screaming expletives about the dinner.
That was already terrible behavior, but while everyone slept, or tried to sleep, she continued to pick fights with the passengers seated next to her, peered into each row and stared eerily at the ones seated, including our sleeping editor Oliver who, thank god, didn’t see it. She hurled racist remarks around, and after a few more hours, started wailing and sobbing uncontrollably about some gibberish that I don’t even remember. (And I mean wailing at the top of her lungs.)
Mothers held their children close. But the breaking point for many of us was when she started going through people’s bags. I don’t actually know how she did it, since ours were left untouched, but passengers started complaining that their bags had been opened, although nothing was found missing. Needless to say, as soon as our plane landed, the British police practically stormed our plane and removed her from her seat, to the applause of not a few passengers. Exciting, but there went our sleep.
Now, London is such a pretty city. It’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous, the architecture is just fantastic, with centuries-old buildings still standing and being used and lived in. The air reeks of history, and I imagined Anne Boleyn, Jack the Ripper, the Beatles, and, oh yeah, David Beckham, walking the same steps I was as we padded into our hotel.
We haven’t really been able to do any tourist-y things just yet, as we buckled down to work setting up our headquarters, although the sights that London is famous for are around every corner and extremely hard to ignore. There’s Westminster, the Tower of London, and the London Eye taunting us as we commute to the Olympic Park, and places like Hyde Park and Notting Hill are extremely close to our hotel in Kensington.
You take a walk down any road and even a panoramic shot of your camera will not be able to capture all the splendor that just lies for miles in front of you. We’ve already been tipped off by some members of the Filipino community, whom we met at a dinner for Team Philippines at the Philippine Embassy, that there are garden mazes near our hotel. More on the dinner in the next post. ☺