Day 12: London
Quote of the day:
This heart of stone
Oh, no, no, you'll never break this heart of stone darlin
No, no, this heart of stone
You'll never break it darlin
You won't break this heart of stone
Oh no no no
You better go
You better go home
Cause you'll, you'll never break this heart of stone
Weather: Cold, then we have no idea, we’re inside for 9 straight hours
Pics: VB shots
Grape Nuts and fruit, Raynes Park walk and an unusual sighting: A bus destined for the OP. Seems like every O’s has bus service, it just can be very hard to find. The tube and train service is so good it is hard to figure out why there are any buses.
After hanging up our wash, it’s time to head to VB and the women’s quarterfinals. We pick up lunch at a small Lebanese take-away spot: chicken shawarma and falafel in pita and a doughy looking spinach turnover, $16. In we go for the afternoon session, pick up draft cider (not out!) and draft Heineken (never out!), $16, and sit in upper deck to enjoy our lunch. A treasure! The falafel is more like soft veal meatballs with pine nuts, the chicken moist and not loaded with a heavy gravy, and the spinach is strongly accented with lemon. We’ve already planned a nice dinner in Earl’s Court, THB is rethinking that (or at a minimum, having the spinach turnover as a pre-dinner appetizer). As good as it gets for bring-in ballpark food!
Forget about drooling over stories of dinner later in this posting. Put it out of your mind.
The way the tournament is set up, there are two pools, six teams each, a team plays every team in the pool, bottom two eliminated, top four in each pool match off, 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3.
First match is Japan vs China, a 2 vs 3. It goes the maximum amount: 5 sets (4 sets to 25, win by two, last set to 15, win by two). First set goes to 28! Last set, in a thriller, back and forth, is won by Japan, 18-16. WOW!!!
Well, second match in afternoon is more of the same, except more so, because this time it is Brazil (4) vs Russia (1), loaded with Brazilian fans, and it also goes 5 sets with Brazil finally coming out on top in set 15, 20-18.
We’re exhausted…and you should see the Brazilian fans, they’ve been dancing and singing and rooting for 3 hours straight.
We’ve seen a lot of VB, it is after 6:15pm, the evening session crowd has arrived, no time for a nice dinner; even Lebanese take-away is off (hmmmm…which does THB feel worse about?).
We line-up for a Cumberland sausage with carmel onions (supposedly caramelized, these must have sugar in them), veg quiche, another Heineken, Coke Zero, $36, eaten up against a pillar
Our seats for the second session are in the lower deck, amongst the USA family and friends. US is undefeated, playing Dominican Republic, 4th in their pool. US is missing one of its better plays with an injury; it doesn’t matter, they romp 3-0, hardly ever trailing.
The second match, 2 vs 3, is Italy and Korea. We can barely make it through the first game, it is now nearing 8.5 hours of VB for us, as Italy wins game one. Later, we see that Korea came back to win, 3-1, and thus the US pool, which they swept, has taken three of four matches from the other pool.
We’ve seen enough VB now that: KHB can sing the song they are playing in a Karaoke sing-along (THB can’t read the words on the scoreboard, let alone sing); we’ve learned the cheerleading group is called the Crimson Heat (these are 11-15 year olds); the sound from the PA system is way better down low; it rains every time we’re indoors and M has once again collected and folded our line-drying clothes.