Saturday, September 8

catching up

Stayed in this morning and nursed my exhausted body. But I'm actually having a lovely time watching the Games on telly from my bed.

Later, we met up with my dear friend and colleague, Andy Atkinson.

Andy and I met when we worked together at Athens 2004, and hit it off almost immediately. We caught up over lagers and fish and chips.

Andy gets around on two prosthetic legs, but that can become very painful, so he also uses a chair. And he pushes that chair down the street with one hand and one prosthetic arm with a ridge in it.

Over dinner he tells me Brits are prone to moaning about things, then how he can always find someone "worse off" than he is to be inspired by.

Then I took a spin in his chair. Literally, a spin. That's what happens when you've got only one hand pushing one wheel.

Friday, September 7

more from London

Late breaking news: I've developed a new handicap. Due to excessive amounts of walking, a blister is forming on my left little toe from rubbing on the toe next to it. The resulting limpy swagger makes me feel far more pathetic than I am. Surely I'm racking up the sympathy points now.

Now for some snapshots of the last couple of days...

Proof that I am indeed in London––the obligatory red phone booth shot:

And no, I'm not sure why my photos are so small here. I had to gag and tie my inner obsessive compulsive graphic designer, so you'll just have to deal with it, too.

Wheelchair fencing from our day trip to the Excell Complex:

At a sitting volleyball game between Brazil and Slovenia:

And today I spent the early afternoon watching wheelchair rugby on a television screen next to the Cutty Sark on the bank of the Thames in Greenwich...convenient because Dad wanted to visit the Maritime Museum, and I did not.

Now, while I soak my feet in bath salts (I wish), please visit for further reading (about Paralympic sport, obviously) and results (if you're into that sort of thing).


Wednesday, September 5

day 1

I've decided it's a very good thing that I came to London to see the Paralympics, because it turns out there is far superior television coverage here. BT Channel 4, well done.

So as I sit here in my hotel room, watching a soccer match between Great Britain and the U.S.––U.S. not doing so well––let's talk about my experience thus far...

Dad and I arrived in fair shape last night via plane, express train, and lastly, our legs. That was after we walked past the street our hotel was on, asked some German tourists for directions, arrived at our hotel only to find we'd been moved to another, and finally dragged ourselves into bed.

Our bumpy landing notwithstanding, we hit the town this morning with gusto to...the Museum of London, where I learned the Romans called this place Londinium. Is it me, or does that sound like something from the Periodic Table.

We were in the museum for all of half an hour before we were both too tired and hungry to go on. Luckily a Pret a Manger was around the corner. If you don't know, Pret a Manger is like school lunch for grownups, or brown bagging it when you've forgotten your brown bag. Though Dad reminded me more of a kid in a candy store. I've never seen anyone get so excited about a sandwich.

But speaking of sandwiches, riding second level on a double-decker bus, we passed a pub called the Earl of Sandwich. I laughed, thinking it was a joke. Dad informed me that there was actually an earl who made the original sandwich. I didn't know sticking meat between two pieces of bread had to be invented.

I've decided the best thing about being in London right now is that everywhere I go, people think I'm a Paralympic athlete. People seem to smile and stare with a more admiring curiosity. Or maybe I'm imagining it. Either way, it works. I'm actually starting to feel like a celebrity of sorts. After the kind museum docent smiled shyly at me, I almost believed I'd just finished competing in a world class sporting event. The eye of the beholder is no joke.

Now, what sport would I be competing in? Definitely not what I'm watching presently––sitting volleyball. Ah, if only vaulting were a Paralympic event.
Nevermind, it's probably one of the oldest sports in the world.

Right up there with cow-tipping, I'd wager.

Certainly older than the sandwich.