Monday, 28 September 2009
There was some amusement surrounding the Filipino interpretation of an Irish breakfast. I know we drew a comparison to Canadian Doubles and a Mexican Shower but i can't remember the specifics. Paul and I spent the rest of the day in a cafe nursing a single cup of coffee since all my cards had been blocked. I didn't even have enough to pay the bill and offered to do the washing up. It's amazing what happens when seemingly respectable tourists can't pay for 2 coffees. The staff just pissed themselves. I'll remember that.
Off to the airport and off to Guam. That was a shit house of a flight. The traffic back to the airport was even worse than before. The cab driver subjected us to Beyoncé's new album. We discovered that her songs were really wordy, clunky melody-less dirges.
At the airport Paul reacted extremely to a cup of coffee and was bouncing off the walls like a kinder surprise toy and got stuck in a vicious vortex of saying the word "Guam" which periodically sucked in everyone in his immediate vicinity. In a state of fitful panic we ate 12 cheese rolls and discussed which country name sounded most like a fruit whilst Charles ate a hamburger. On the plus side this was the first time that when we said "Pohnpei" to an airline official they didn't ask us to repeat ourselves.
We arrived in Guam and I promptly destroyed both Paul and Charles in the race through immigration. As we waited with surreal excitement for the departure of our plane to Pohnpei we contemplated the madness of our journey so far and met our first Pohnpeins who Charles "happened" to know. We boarded our final plane before Kolonia, a cauldron of emotion and slightly nauseous. There was one more stop- Chuuk. Paul and I opted to disembark and nose about. An attempt to get a local to take a picture of us resulted in the camera being held upside down and back to front. Classic. Paul had a contre-temp with a rather entitled airport nazi and almost got barred from the plane. Next stop: Pohnpei.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Roughly two years prior to this day, Paul was working peacefully in my kitchen. I had sat down next to him with the soul purpose of distracting him from his adorable little Italian football articles. His resolve was strong but eventually and inevitably we got onto the topic of football in Micronesia. Now we were in the airport with a Ugandan man called Charles Musana (henceforth known as “The Moose”) with a single goal in sight: a merciless yet bloodless football coup in a Pacific archipelago.
The trip opened with a cushy 8 hour Emirates jaunt to Dubai. The cabin staff scarcely had time to bombard us with an avalanche of snacks when we discovered that we could play battleships against each other. After my comprehensive public execution of the self-proclaimed “inventor” of Battleships we embarked on a 7 hour Pong marathon. Sadly, the results of the results of this particular competition were not recorded.
Dubai airport is palatial and every single one of those 6 rapturous hours was a pleasure. Critically, we got to know The Moose a little better. On camera he was cautious and cagey. Unwilling to incriminate himself in any way, he started wielding the word "allegedly" like a pair of conversational nunchucks. He was unwilling blame anyone or anything for football's dissolution since he left Pohnpei but his determination for us to succeed was palpable.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
So, you could say that a Sunday morning interview with BBC Breakfast was a bit of a baptism of fire in the TV game. Sharing a 30cm-circumference green room with our fellow guests, who were without exception lovely people, we mentally prepared for the biggest chance to pitch for sponsors at a time when nobody rich or influential enough to sponsor us would be conscious.
The actual interview was fine. Not bad, not great, fine. The silky smooth Charles Musana saw us through the opening jitters, Matt ran a pacy second leg and I brought us home. It probably won't be featured in many 'TV Highlights of the Year' guides come December, but I was delighted to have avoided any of the beginner pitfalls - I was clothed, I didn't fall off my seat and I didn't wet myself.
Three hours later, we would stagger out of Broadcasting House with our seven minutes of fame already fading fast in the memory. From my first TV interview I took away several useful lessons - try not to sign up for anything before 11am, don't expect any glimmer of human emotion from early-morning newsreaders and, most importantly, don't put your BBC visitor pass in your pocket because the pin will stab you in excess of 1,000 times.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Meanwhile I had cleverly decided to leave the testing out of the £11,000 professional camera package to the last few hours in England; giving us just enough time to figure out that most of it didn’t work.
Paul, myself, Lizzie (our press officer) and Henry (A horny drifter from Cheltenham) decided that the best course of action was a nice farewell Indian take away. We discussed are last minute hopes and anxieties for the project. 18,000 miles and 36 hours is not very far to go for a heart-warming success but it is frightfully far to go to go get a javelin through the head.
There had been some worries that we were going to exceed our baggage allowance for the trip. We had assembled a fearsome arsenal of equipment. A vicious and ruthless footballing dirty bomb chocked full of shirts, boots, shinnies, shorts, socks whistles and balls ready to explode all over Pohnpei contaminating them with a terminal case of football fever. But, in order to bring the weight of our bag down we unpacked every single item and removed all packaging and labeling. 3 hours and 11 grams later we gave up and went to bed.
Friday, 29 May 2009
Fairly inevitably, my final day as a football journalist was an anti-climax. After months of anticipation, 5.30pm came and that was that.
Working at home certainly took away any sense of occasion and I genuinely regretted not going through with my plan of drinking myself into oblivion while typing increasingly risqué news stories.
In the long term I had taken a huge step towards making the Pohnpei move a reality, in the short term I had just thrown in my job during the worst economic slump in living memory.