Canadian Cyclist


August 11/04 7:03 am - Curt Harnett in Athens

Posted by Editoress on 08/11/04

Curt Harnett is part of the CBC media team in Athens. He has been keeping a daily diary of his thoughts, impressions, observances etc. since arriving in Athens 3 days ago.

Day 1

Well, after months - if not years - of speculation as to whether Athens would be ready for the world, the accreditation process was the quickest I have ever experienced in the - now - sixth effort of becoming an „Official‰ member of the Olympic family.

For reference purposes, it was a four plus hour ordeal in Atlanta.

If it can be any indication as to how things will go, the Greeks are ready to host the world!

Day 2

Well, with the check in experience behind us here in Athens, the weight that our time here might not be as efficient as desired had lifted somewhat.

„Time for drink!‰, we said. (Surprise there) So, we (Mark Connolly, play by play for cycling at the CBC) ventured on down Alexandras Road to investigate a potential watering hole. Found one.

A couple of beers and some great people watching from the patio confirmed our find as a keeper.

Haven't figured out the name of the place, but is that really that important? I dub thee Hemingway's East.

We did make it to Plaka last night for some dinner and, wait for it, beer. Not as busy as I would have expected but the Acropolis is quite inspiring - particularly so when it is lit up at night. I makes it look surreal - giving you the sense that if you went around back, you find it supported by lumber.

We did tour about the Plaka, found out where Canada House is (not open until the 13th) and that there are a few Canadian's hanging around here still celebrating Greece's success at the Euro Cup!

Anyway, bus has arrived at the International Broadcasst Center, home to CBC Sports for the next few weeks.

Day 3

As a true Anglophone, I always feel that I am not getting the full meal deal when I visit a foreign land: I have a limited ability, if not absolute incompetence, to pick up the native tongue.

If I am lucky to spend enough time in a place, I am usually able to absorb words and phrases that allow me to get by - basic greetings (like: „how you doin'?‰ - the extent of my Italian) and ordering food - „You want fries with that?‰, the extent of my American.

But Greek is, well, Greek to me. The language seems counter-intuitive, much like nodding your head up and down at the same time you are uttering 'No'.

Sadly, as globe-trotting Anglophones often discover, the true international language is English and it is often too convenient to resort to it. (Hey, don't want to mess up that beer order!)

I'm working on it, though. I want to be polite. After all, I am Canadian. ‰Thank you‰ in Greek is (spelled phonetically) 'eff-HAR-isto' or efkharisto. So, I got that going for me!

Right now, we are cruising (in the comfort of an air conditioned van) around the Road Race course that will host the Men on Saturday and the Women on Sunday.

Presently, we are counting the number of Starbucks they will pass - for the Men, 17 laps for a total of 224.4 km, or about five and a half hours of racing in 40 degree heat! Yikes! 4 Starbucks so far. Iced Cap anyone?

For those of you who know my driving, I feel oddly at home here.

(Warning: shameless plug) Watch for Mark and I - and our Canadian competitors - on the CBC both days.


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