Saturday, May 23, 2009

Indonesia Diary

One of the first things I do when I'm a new place is to not only figure out everything in my environment but to make sense of what my days could be like. After the first two days, I began to settle down into a routine.

No matter what time I'd sleep I'm always up at 6am (it used to be an hour earlier but I've adjusted it now). I'd stretch then wash up and do my bathroom thing. Since I was sharing a room with one of the other writers, I have to be more cognizant of what could bother them such as playing music loudly or keeping the lights on at odd hours.

The bathroom, well, I've always been a sucker for cleanliness so no one has to worry about my end of the bargain (although I wish others were like that as opposed to being pigs).

I've got no wifi in my room so soon after I'm dressed I pick up my meal stub and hightail it for the coffee shop. Uh, breakfast will have to wait. I have an hour of internet time before I have my first meal of the day.

I usually check email, comments about what I write, then read the news of the day. I'm so happy that we have the International Herald Tribune here for free. It really is one of my favorite newspapers as it offers a varying view of the news around the world. I've always considered the writing topnotch and an inspiration. I save every single paper I picked up for the day and am bringing them home to Manila. I usually clip and file stories I like as reference or a guide for future stories.

Breakfast. Ah, the least complicated meal for me. The hotel food at the Sunlake doesn't vary too much from day-to-day. So I have to be a little creative. I'm a creature of habit so I have the cook whip it up this way -- I pick out sausages that are sliced, I throw in a generous amount of tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms. I brought a couple of cans of sardines. So I sometimes substittue the sausages for the sardines. On a couple of days, the cook allowed me to fix it up myself. It might be the most simplest of food but it's something I do pretty well more so when I mix it up with other ingredients. I learned it while living abroad before. Hahahaha.

Then it's a plate of fruits -- lots of melon and some pineapple. Then a glass of OJ. Around 9-930am, I go down with my media colleagues to the swimming pool. The others go to the gym but me and Jun Mendoza swim for an hour before heading to the sauna. That's the fun part of having free facilities plus there aren't too many people using them at this time. One time I tried it out in the evening and there were too many people.

After that I bathe and prep to hit the road. Sometimes the team plays at 2; at times it's at 4. And they usually leave for the arean two hours before to get taped, stretch, and a last minute briefing. Sometimes I go ahead of mymedia colleagues as I prefer to watch all the games. I enjoy hanging around the venue and talking to people from the organizers to the media and coaches and players. I mean why hang out at the hotel right?

Before, during, and after the games, us media folks are always moving around looking for stories. We have deadlines but they all vary. This is a disadvantage for me since we put everything to bed not later than 7pm. With Jakarta an hour behind, if the game ends at 6pm that roundabout makes it 7 back home so either I draft a really short oen that's straight to the point or I can write parts of it earlier but amend it along the way.

Sometimes, I stay behind to watch the others games (the Philippines' coaching staff does the Justify Fullsame too) and if I don't hitch a ride with them in the chartered van then I go home by myself. The Mal Kelapa Gading is a short walk so I go here after the games to look for dinner. All that spicy food in the hotel got to me after a while that I simply couldn't take it anymore. The players felt the same too and so the team's benefactors would take us out for dinner. Shangri-La, Crystal Jade then Outback. On our last day, the Filipino community prepped us some good ole home cooking with adobo, menudo, and kaldereta (with some veggie stuff). Man, did that ever taste so good. Wish they had sinigang na pig my fave dish. Hahahaha. Bawal lang kasi.

At the mall as you can see from an earlier post, I had A&W (twice), KFC, and Kenny Rogers. One time I just had sanwiches and fruits.

One time CJ Giles and me just couldn't handle the spice anymore (this was after the Iran game where we lost) we ordered McDonald's. The team had KFC delivered.

At night I hung out at the coffee shop with the others. The players had a curfew at 11pm where they all had to be inside their rooms. The assistant coaches rotated in staying at the coffee shop watching out for anyone who might want to sneak out. No one did naman hahahaha. But this was one of the best parts of the day as we got to know each other better and gab about a lot of things.

Most of us -- media, coaches, and players -- brought laptops so everyone was chatting, watching stuff on youtube, emailing, or playing poker. Hahahaha. Some nights the guys went drinking but I stayed at the coffee shop either writing, chatting, or updating the blogs. Now that -- the latter one -- is one of the toughest. Hahahaha.

On the second to the last night, there was what was termed later on as "the summit." The coaches of Lebanon, Jordan, the Philippines, India, and reps fromIran all convereged at the coffee shop. They brought out their Cubanos and gabbed about hoops. One time, a couple of them sat down with me to talk hoops. And that ny friends, is one cool experience. I'll write about that soon. The following day people were asking me what transpired in "the summit" as the coaches said a lot to me about the game. I'll write about it too.

And I've said it twice that my bed is so comfortable. The pillows were some of the best ever and I have three which is my normal at home. I love pillows. Hahahaha.

Gotta hit the sack. Tired and sleepy. HBO here is for crap. Thank God they've got a lot of football here but the joke is on the Indonesians that they have millions of folks but have never produced one great footballer. Unless someone proves us wrong.


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