Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Signing off

Last night was my last in Barbados, and indeed the West Indies, as far as this trip was concerned.

The World Cup got over on the 28th of April, and while I thought the 29th would be a good day to soak in the sun and do some last minute shopping, Malcolm Speed decided to mess things up further. He decided to call a press conference, along with Dave Richardson, ostensibly to say sorry for the way the World Cup ended. He did apologise. And almost got a whack on the back of his head - that would have been nice - around the time he was leading up to the apology. An ICC hoarding behind him came unstuck from the wall and would have caused some Spped-blood to spill, had it not been for Brian Murgatroyd's intervention.

Anyway, Speed apologised. But only just. Because for the rest of the time, he replied in the negative to everything the journalists threw his way. Including to say that Messrs Jeff Crowe, Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar, Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden were all excellent match officials whose futures with the game were not in threat. What makes them all excellent after they collectively messed up a World Cup final in the most schoolboyish and ridiculous ways of course is beyond me.

But that meant a lot of work, compounded by BBC's revelations about Woolmer's death. And the shopping and beach-bumming had to be pushed back to yesterday, the 30th, which I had originally penned in as a 'sleeping day'. Many happy hours were spent at the Rockley Beach in Barbados with colleagues Sandeep and Ashish. Followed by a short but useful shopping spree at the Bridgetown area of Barbados. Bridgetown is the capital, but it's really only a small area in city/country/island. Barbados is really like Delhi, and Bridgetown would be like Connaught Place.

And then, after Sandeep left for India in the evening, Ashish and I went across to one of the Caribbeans' favourite evening pastimes - playing slots. It's a casino-like set-up, but without any of the complicated games. You have a number of slot machines, each of which has a different game. Ashish and I enchashed 50 Bajan dollars each and while we did end up winning more than that amount, we decided to play till we lost everything. That made it fun.

This was followed by one last flesh-hunt. The ostrich place was shut, so we made do with the equally compelling baby octopus option across at Pisces, a high-end outlet at St Lawrence Gap, the hip strip in Barbados. Apart from the baby octpus, we also tried out one of the local octopusses, along with some flying fish (which is almost a staple here) and some crab. Not bad, eh?

That's it. Sitting at the VC Bird International Airport in Antigua now. Waiting for the flight to London, where we will spend a few hours before taking the connecting flight to Delhi. Back on the morning of the 3rd of May.