Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter Olympics

It's another lovely cloudless morning here in Antigua, but the temperature has dipped noticeably, perhaps so that we might get ourselves more in the mood for watching coverage of Vancouver 2010 this afternoon.

No Central or South American nation has ever won a medal at the Winter Games, though you'd think the Argies were overdue one. Consequently, the interest on local terrestrial TV is rather more limited than say during the Mundial. (Come June we can expect the whole country to come to a virtual standstill for a month.)

We tracked the parade of nations on Saturday, hoping (against all hope) to spot a Guatemalan delegation. "No llegaron, ni para vender granizadas," noted V acerbically once we'd hit the Hs.

Mexico has sent a lone athlete however: Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, at 51 the oldest competitor in Vancouver. He's the son of Prince Alfonso, legendary founder of the Marbella Club, and has been known to release pop albums in Mexico under the pseudonym of Andy Himalaya.

Although here representing Mexico, the blue-blooded alpine skier resides in Liechtenstein, a tiny place that doesn't seem to need his help in winning medals at the Winter Olympics. From the stats displayed by NBC I gathered that you could fit the entire populations of Liechtenstein, Monaco and Antigua Guatemala into Wembley Stadium and still have room left over for everyone who's read the novels of last year's Nobel prize-winner Herta Müller.

Poor Georgia. They've acquired the knack of earning themselves the greatest sympathy applause the last couple of times that the Olympians have paraded.

The Innuit put in an appearance too, along with other indigenous contingents which collectively danced a joyous welcome to the world around the strangely zombie-like totems pictured above. Oddly enough, in spite of choosing to live in the frozen northern wastes, the Innuit's greatest contribution to the Olympic movement would appear to have been the kayak, more likely to be seen in competition at the Summer Games, though I imagine you could get down a mountain quite fast in one.

While I enjoy the Downhill (though I don't know why. I think it has to do with childhood memories of Franz Klammer's wild rides) V enjoys the skating. China's married pair Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo deservedly claimed Gold in an event where the line between mediocrity and sublimity is starker than the scoring suggests.

I'll be in Vancouver for a couple of days in May, my maiden visit to Canada, by which time it will have warmed up a hopes.

This week we've also tuned into TV Globo's extensive coverage of the Rio Carnival. How can so much fun make such tedious viewing? It would be more entertaining to spend several hours watching English people tossing pancakes (...or cross country skiing for that matter.)

Anyway, a Lenten afternoon on the sofa beckons. Speaking of which, something I read earlier reminded me of the famous put-down delivered by the late, great Alan Clark, Minister in Thatcher's last government, who dismissed her nemesis Michael Heseltine as the sort of man who "bought his own furniture".

It is true that if there is one thing that is sadly lacking in La Antigua it's an IKEA superstore. But for anyone willing to venture into the badlands of Guatemala City there's plenty of mass-produced, but 'designer' furniture to be had at the likes of Sears and Siman.

A friend bought me a copy of Stuff White People Like for Christmas, the dead tree version of the hilarious blog by Christian Landers. It's had me chuckling self-consciously on numerous occasions over the past few days, not least with No54: Kitchen Gadgets. Plenty of those at Siman too. I'm glad it's over 30 minutes away really.


Miss Trudy said...

Oh I like that website! Some pretty funny stuff sometimes. I haven't had a chance to sit and watch the games... nor shall I tonight either ... so your post has been pretty informative. I enjoyed it.

El Blogador said...