August 9, 2012
LONDON CALLING (DAY 16)
The internet is down, but yours truly is not out
By Michael Lewis
LONDON -- I don't think you're ever going to see me do any commercials for the Premier Inn.
Needless to say, they are not necessarily my favorite hotel chain -- and for a good reason.
After returning from the Main Press Center at the main Olympic ground, I had promised my wife Joy that I would Skype her back at the hotel. After running for a quick bite in an actual restaurant, I managed to return to the Premier Inn/Kings Cross at 11:30 p.m., which IS an early night at the Olympics
There was one slight problem -- the internet would not work.
I called down to the front desk to complain and they said the servers were down, from the company that runs the internet, across the nation. They did not know when service would be re-established.
Despite trying about a dozen times, the internet did not work. I gave up and went to bed, figuring it would return by the morning.
The front desk personnel still did not know when it would return. So, I ventured out to the nearest Starbucks, bought an iced latte and found a corner to post my stories for this website, tweet and do other online stuff.
What doubly stings about this is the Premier Inn is an official Olympic media hotel and from what I gathered other journalists were affected by this unfortunate turn of events.
Finished with my work, I ventured down to the Leicester Square area and Charing Cross, where I browsed some used bookstores,
I went to the site of Sportspages, a wonderful bookstore that seemingly had every sports book published under the sun to pay my respects.
When I ventured to London years ago, I would make it a priority to visit the shop. I would bring my huge pile of books to the cashier and say, "I believe I will be paying your electric bill this month."
Alas, it went out of business a few years ago, which turned out to be a great loss for London sports fans.
A Spanish restaurant, Jamon, Jamon had taken its place. I checked out its menu if it was decent place [to eat] DELE, but there did not seem to be anything appetizing to eat, so I passed on it.
I visited Foyle's, a great bookstore down the street and bought a book about 1,001 bizarre facts and stories about football FOR MY AMUSEMENT.
I returned to the hotel, Skyped Joy (yes, the internet was working again, miracles of miracles) and ventured out to Russell Square. I met up with several other American journalists who wanted to get to Wembley as early as possible to secure a decent seat in the press box with a TV in front of our seat.
As it turned out, we got there 20 minutes too early and we were put in a media lounge. When the proper time to let us in came -- 4:45 p.m. -- we lined up as though it was the Oklahoma land rush.
It was worth it.
I've got a spot with a TV in front of me. What more do I want for the most important women's soccer game of the year?