Saturday, June 12, 2010

Heaven... I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak. (Fred Astaire)

I've already used the XTC line from Senses Working Overtime for one of my titles (And all the world is football shaped of course) so we have heaven instead.

Four years after watching the 2006 world cup while living in England (what an atmosphere!!) I now find myself watching one in Qatar. The journey to actually get the games live on my TV has been as action packed as the journey NZ actually took to get to South Africa!

First I discovered that the games were not on Orbit Showtime (Arrgghh) but on Al Jazeera so I went to the lady behind the counter at the special Al Jazeera TV booth at Villaggio to buy a special card to get the games. Alas - she told me I needed a 6 month subscription etc etc and mega riyal. Aarrrggghhh!

Luckily my friend Rami gave me a good tip that a card could be bought from a guy at another mall for 300 riyal without any subscriptions so I made my way there. Plus, Rami added, he spoke English. When I got there he was surrounded by guys holding money, speaking Arabic and wearing forelorn expressions. Apparently it was a 2 hour queue. So it turned out. And when I say queue please don't picture an orderly English style queue. This is a everyone for themselves queue. But I eventually parted with the 300 riyal and finally got a card.

Now all I needed was a machine to put the card in. My friend Colin in the apartment above is in the UAE at present and he indicated I was able to use his machine...I thought I was about to watch some world cup. Not quite yet.

So far the process had taken a week and the opening game was the next day. I tried the card in Colin's machine but alas no luck and no signal - another trip back to the Hyatt Mall. When I got back to my mall friend he said - it only plays on a Humax machine. Okay. AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Now I had to track down a Humax digital machine that would take a card - I managed to snaffle the last one in a Carrefour store at another mall. Another bunch of riyals later we head home (Jacky has been VERY patient).

Back home - and a frantic search for the Al Jazeera World Cup channel - finally located at number 449 (of about 1200 channels!!) and minutes away from kickoff - South Africa verses Mexico...and the signal vanishes (some satellite problem apparently). AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

All was not lost though. It came back for the second game (France vs Uruguay - a frenetic affair that I actually loved!) and I was finally - wait had been worth it - in heaven.

Tonight is England vs USA. Come on England (and come on NZ on Tuesday)!

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