My last full day in Italy began very early. After just a few hours sleep, I was to get up with Brent and head to the Lingatto. Brent would be leaving us on this day. He would fly with the VANOC group, Mayor Sullivan and the newly acquired Olympic Flag. His mission was to do a story during the flight back. I would grab shots and of the group leaving and getting ready for the trip back to Vancouver. The tape that we would acquire here would form the basis of our last item in Torino.
The mood was upbeat with the VANOC group. They were gettin' out. I guess the trip back was filled with war stories. It would give Brent two items when he got back.
Because of the time zone thing and travelling westerly, the group would arrive back in Vancouver at 6 pm pacific, just in time for the the suppertime newscasts. We would be covering the arrival live into the show, plus our item, plus tape from the flight itself. It was what the CTV beast required and it was delivered.
Mike and I also had some Canada AM requirements during that last afternoon. These would be done at the Crackhouse. When we arrived there, most of the rooms that had been filled by various broadcast media were now vacant. With the flame out, they were gone.
We would return back to the Polytechic to do the editing and then return later to make our feed. It should be an easy day.
Mike and I enjoyed our last Donairs at this neat little shop a couple of blocks away. Then it was down to business.
Alby was back to school, he had an exam, yet he had been out with us the night before until 3 am. That was probibly not the best thing to do before an exam.
He took us to the Crackhouse one final time later on so we could make our last feed. I don't think any feed went smoother. And just like that, we were done. No more shooting, no more cutting. It was over.
We went upstair to say our good byes to the national crew and went to pack up. The truth be known, I had been packing for the last 3 days. The guys joked about it saying "Murray has been waiting at the door packed for days, he just wants out!"
Photo: Mike and the Bags just before we leave Italy
We had a cab meet us early Tuesday. I looked at my watch, it would have been about midnight back in Vancouver. We should call Brent, just to wake him up. ( You know that SOB flew business back, we were in Coach)
Niether of us had his home number, good for him,,,
When we got to the airport, Mike 's seat wasn't confirmed, he was standby. After much discussion, he finally got a confirmed seat. He would be flying out ahead of me via Frankfurt and then Toronto before Landing in Vancouver. He should beat me home by 3 hours. I was leaving some 2 hours later via Munich, and Chicago. His flight was delayed. The race was on.
My flight out of Turin was a comfortable one. As I looked at my watch, I realized that making the connection in Munich would be tricky. When we touched down my connection was to depart in less than 30 minutes. There was a United rep waiting for us as we arrived. She escorted a group of us, all heading to Chicago, though passport control and then onto the aircraft. Made it, just in a nic of time.
The flight to North America was of course a long one. Seating in coach was less than confortable, but I was heading home. I watched bits of the inflight movies, I tried to sleep. The fellow that was sitting beside me moved to the back of the plane, so it gave me a bit more room. Better than the flight over, remember the dead russian women,,,,
When we touched down in Chicago, it would mean I would have to clear US customs. This had potential to be a pain. I was bringing back a case of gear that was supposed to be with Brent. So if someone checked the manifest I would be screwed. I decieded, not to worry about it. After collecting all of my gear I headed to yet another security check. We don't want uncle "Al" Quida gettin' in ya know.
Dubya's men were great, they took pitty on me and waived me through. I then went to find my departure gate. On the way I met two US Olympians that had been on my flight. One of the fellow had smuggled an Olympic Torch on board. He had explained that "he was the "official" (wink, wink) torch barrer for the US Bobsled team. They waved him though. I figured an extra case of TV gear wouldn't be a problem,,, it wasn't.
I picked up a pair of sunglasses at the airport. That was my treat for making it so far.
The flight to Vancouver left on time, but became delayed for 30 minutes because of a fuel pump light or so the captain told us. When we were finally on our way all I wanted to do is sleep. The flight was near 4 hours and my neck and shoulders hurt so bad I didn't sleep much.
Let me tell you I was never so glad to touch down in Vancouver as I was on that night. We had to approach from the west and land on 08 right (that's the south runway at YVR) as we landed I looked out of the window as we rolled by the Penta hanger. Some of you know that's the hanger that Talon Helicopters calls home. And where there's Talon Helicopters, there's Chopper 9. I wondered if she missed me.
Getting through Canadian Customs was easier then I thought. Again I think they were taking pitty on a rather sad looking TV guy with two carts filled to overflowing . "Anything to declare?" No, I said, just that I am tired.
I guess they heard that one before as it got no response. The second guy though was in much better humor. He asked me where I was coming from and when I told him, he went on about what the hell happened to the Canadian Mens hockey team. Preachen' to the choir I said. He waved me through.
Now as I came into the reception area of the arrivals area at YVR, I was expecting to see my wife and at least one of the kids. Sarah my daughter was the first face I saw, then Linda and then my boy Ben. But who was that fimilar looking fellow with them? He was holding a case of diet pepsi. It was my News Director Tom. What a surprise. It is a sight I will always remember. Tom and a case of diet pepsi.
I asked if Mike had got back. His plane beat me by less than 10 minutes. I guess I have been eliminated from the race,,,,
It was good to be home!