CRAWFORD | Postcard from Puerto Rico: Day 2 in San Juan - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Postcard from Puerto Rico: Day 2 in San Juan

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Yes. (Ugh.) Walking through a mall in San Juan. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford). Yes. (Ugh.) Walking through a mall in San Juan. (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford).

SAN JUAN, P.R. (WDRB) — Dear Louisville. Day Two in Puerto Rico was nearly as busy as the first, with the first basketball games  taking up most of the late afternoon and all night.

My head hit the pillow at 3 a.m. after filing several stories, a bunch of videos, some photos, etc. all were submitted. You can see links to the whole mess here.

WDRB Sports Director Tom Lane is back at it this afternoon in the room next door, editing a couple of pieces to appear on various newscasts. Again on Wednesday, there was no access to U of L's players during the day, as they spent most of the day at a walk-through, at meals, or with coaches talking about tonight's games.

We left the arena before midnight Tuesday, but there was a glitch. For some reason, arena officials wouldn’t let Jeff Greer of The Courier-Journal into the media parking lot, so he just paid to park in an adjacent lot. But when he went to his car after finishing work, the lot had been locked up, and nobody was around to unlock it.

I’ve had that happen to me. I got locked in a garage in downtown Washington, D.C., after a Louisville-Georgetown basketball game years back. There wasn’t anything to do but take a taxi to my room and get the car the next day. But that was in D.C. San Juan is a different story.

Jeff left at about the same time that Tom, Jody Demling and I were leaving, so he was able to hitch a ride with us to where he was staying. I assume his car is still there today.

Stuff like that happens on the road more than you might think.

The days pass by quickly. You work late, sleep late, eat lunch, maybe get to the gym, tape a stand-up by the hotel pool while people pass by and wonder what you’re doing, and by the time you look up, it’s almost time to head back to the arena again for another doubleheader. 

Time got away from us Tuesday. Tom, Jody and I took off, thinking we’d have time for what would be our only meal of the day before heading to the arena. It just took us longer to get to anything than we thought. We wound up at — get this — an American-style shopping mall.

Old Navy, Bath & Body Works, Sephora, Brookstone, Macy’s, JCPenny, Gap, Cheesecake Factory, KFC, Best Buy. It was just like being at Oxmoor. Score another blow for not experiencing local culture — except that there is a segment of local culture that enjoys American things.

We were in a bit of a rush, so we wound up eating at (and yes, it does embarrass me to divulge these things) a Pizza Hut.

We were still just a tad late getting to the arena to get Jody on for the start of the 840 WHAS radio broadcast.

That wasn’t too big a problem. This was: Inside the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, we had no wifi. We had to get by on our cell phone hot spots. My apologies in advance to WDRB’s accounting department.

The games themselves were interesting primarily because of the sound crew and public address announcer. The P.A. guy was perhaps even more partisan than we’re used to in the U.S. But who can hold that against a guy?

The best part was the sound effects. You’d hear the Pac-Man death spiral after a missed free-throw by Louisville, or a rim shot after a make. My favorite was the little electronic-sounding gun that fired three shots after a made free-throw.

For me, the games also were interesting because I was trying to shoot a bit of video and some still pictures in addition to Tweeting about the game and trying to pay attention in general. I moved from press row to baseline and back again. I can’t say I paid as much attention to the games or the writing as I needed to, so I’ll try a little something different tonight. It’s all just an effort to bring a wide range of things to the web coverage.

An interesting aside. You do all this work, and you Tweet about all these things (please follow me on Twitter, by the way, if you don’t already, just click here) and what do you think was the one Tweet that drew the most impressions and engagements on Tuesday, according to Twitter analytics?

Drumroll. It was a picture of a cockfighting facility. So there you have it. People want more cockfighting coverage. I’m kidding. Seriously.

Jody Demling, by the way, says his voice isn’t happy with his decision to do five hours of basketball radio commentary a night. 

I told him if he gets in a pinch, there’s a guy who circles the court with what looks like a garbage can on wheels full of beer. He passed us roughly 600 times Tuesday night. Which just goes to prove, sometimes the answer really is right in front of your face.

Now a bit more about Puerto Rico. I want to try to share a little bit every day, beyond just the inane observations of an idiot American.

The big news in the country right now is a severe water shortage. On Thursday of this week, an already strict regimen of rationing for citizens of San Juan and other places in the city will be tightened even further.

Starting Thursday, citizens will be limited to TWO DAYS of water service per week. Depending on where they live, it will be either Wednesday and Saturday or Thursday and Sunday.

Tourist areas are unaffected. But it does make you think before turning on the shower. Out driving today, I saw several people selling water on the street.

It’s just a further reminder that while we may drive around and see a place that looks a whole lot like the one we came from, it isn’t. There’s a great deal of poverty everywhere, and here even some who have significant means will be without a basic need in life because of drought and (some would tell you) government mismanagement.

So today's postcard. We’ll head to the arena soon to see what the second night of games against Puerto Rico has in store for Louisville.

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