As with many things before, we thought we had a plan for the RWC opening. We had located a Heineken RWC bar in Siena. Through the usual mix of English, Italian and sign language we gleened that it had Sky TV and would be playing the matches.
Given the time difference, the opening ceremony was due to start at 9:30am local time with the first match at 10:30am. That meant heading to Siena at 9am – and being up around 7:30am.
Now this, in itself, was a major challenge as our place doesn’t really stir until around 10am on any given day. (Correction, I don’t stir until around 10am. Jean is up and active much, much earlier.)
We arrived at the bar promptly at 9:30am (wearing our RWC/NZ t-shirts) to find it shut, closed, the exact opposite of open. This was, to say the least, a disappointment. Our plan was in tatters.
We retired to one of the bars that ring the Campo in Siena to regroup and replan. We noticed as we sat down outside the bar – on a beautiful Siena morning – that they had a TV playing behind the counter. It was tuned to an Italian news channel – but it was a Sky TV channel. Could they change it to the right sport channel? Would they?
As with many situations in Italy, our simple request was taken very seriously. A newspaper was obtained and the TV listings checked to find the right channel – 204. The very helpful waitress then disappeared for a few minutes. We waited. The TV channel didn’t change. We waited.
When she returned, she explained that they had opened the other half of the bar and tuned the TV’s in there to the right channel. She showed us to a table, made sure everything was ok and checked if we wanted anything to drink.
She was thinking Cappuccino and was a little surpised when we ordered beer and wine (nothing like that first Heineken at 9:35 in the morning).
It was quite surreal to see New Zealand and the opening ceremony on TV when the view out through the door of the bar was Siena’s Campo. The Sienese opinion of the opening ceremony – very cool.
The game? Not a bad start, but there’s still work to do. Go the ABs!
If you really want a “Boy I’m glad I’m not there anymore” moment, check the NZ Hearld or “Stuff” websites for how the AKL transport system coped- or more exactly, failed to cope.
Hmm, it’s never nice when things go wrong, and it’s great being many miles away, but you have to feel for those on the ground. It was always going to be a huge ask of Veolia but from what I read the sheer volume of people trying to travel meant when one thing went wrong the dominos started falling. (Shades of Trentham three years ago in fact.)
I suspect the next meaningful test of the system will be the NZ v France match. I wish them well.
The first news flash i saw about it was that it was the public that were causing it ie. people walking on the tracks – letting off fire extinguishers in the carriages and generally unruly behaviour which left no option but to stop the trains. Could be wrong!