August 3, 2012
LONDON CALLING (DAY 10)
A city where you can drain and charge your batteries at the same time
By Michael Lewis
NEWCASTLE, England -- Look at that headline. Sounds like a riddle, doesn't it?
Well, depending on your vantage point, it just might be.
After getting just a handful of hours of sleep to awake early Thursday for my trip from Manchester to Newcastle Upon Tyne.
I have been pleasantly surprised by this northeast English city. It has energy, buildings dating back hundreds of years and it has somehow invigorated my waning energy. I don't know why, but I am not complaining.
Noted soccer photographer Tony Quinn comes from this neck of the woods and he has boasted what great a place it is. Can't say I blame him (the city's name comes from a castle that was built by Robert II, the Duke of Normandy). Too bad I have to leave on Sunday for either Manchester or London, depending on results.
The city, with a population around 280,000, and region and (one million), are best known for wool and coal mining. Needless to say, has stone buildings dating back hundreds of years.
One of the media hotels, The Thistle County Inn, is situated across the street from the main train station. Now, train stations seem to be right smack in the seedy parts of town. Not this one. Sure, there are some people trying to give you literature, but that has been the worst of it so far.
As for the draining experience, that occurred at St. James' Park, where the United States women will mean their New Zealand counterparts in an Olympic quarterfinal match on Friday afternoon local time.
I noticed that halfway through my time at the stadium that I had 56 percent of battery power left and it was dropping quickly. I realize there have been concerns about iPhone batteries. I did not use it for phone calls or surfing the internet. Perhaps it has something to do with the structure of the stadium or the fact that the stadium is a green stadium. Hall lights will only go on when you walk down it, saving electricity.
You got me on that one. I just want to make sure that I will bring my charger in case of another power drain.
But thatís the least of the problems at the stadium, even though security officials did not know exactly where to allow the media. We just waited patiently. You donít make a ruckus with any sort of security.
As for the press box seating, weíre literally on top of the action. Weíre about six rows up from the action at Red Bull Arena. Here we have front row seats. You canít get much closer to the action than that.
Well, I have hit the halfway point for the Olympics. Ten more days and the 2012 London Summer Games will be over.
Let me put this into a journalistís perspective. If this was the World Cup I would have a little less than a month remaining.
The Olympic seems more like a middle distance race, the World Cup a marathon.
I just want to make certain I am recharged and ready for the knockout and medal rounds.