Monday, July 03, 2006

Entering the Twilight Zone...

Yorkie Pittstop
discovers coming back to Vietnam from overseas during the world cup is the perfect time to be jet lagged

The streets are alive, but at odd times of night. As I drive home at 4am, wide awake, I wonder how soon the sun will be rising and how many people driving past are just up or going home.

A world cup in Europe means Asia burns the midnight oil. Tactics for watching late games is a fine pickle of a conundrum. Do you stay up until two or head to bed for a few hours and get up?

If you stay up, the danger is you'll be out all night. You'll meet friends and agree to watch it together. So you all stay out drinking, comparing theories on why Brazil are misfiring, why Owen Hargreaves is or isn’t the missing link and complaining about having to work during such an important global event.

By the time the game starts you are completely drunk. Either you stay out and can’t remember the game the next day, or you go home and end up falling into a stupor on the couch and miss everything. Either way you wake up at eight am and have to check the result on the internet.

Or you decide you’ll stay in, you set the alarm but when falling asleep the first two hours are the deepest. You don’t even notice turning off the alarm at two am. You wake up at eight am and check the result on the internet.

Another alternative, definitely preferred by locals, is watching the repeat game at 6am. Foreigners are generally allergic to this – why does getting up at 2am sound easier to us? – plus, people don’t seem to like the idea that there is already a result.

This is understandable. The act is done. Millions if not billions of people around the world already know the result, so you feel like a bit of a dolt not knowing, plus doesn’t it seem silly cheering at the telly at 6am when there’s nothing left to cheer for? So people usually end up sleeping in anyway and, well, checking the result on the internet.

Clearly, not everyone is so naturally lazy. Everywhere around the city heads are slumped on desks. Boys scratch sleepy heads as they drag their feet out for a bowl of pho. Men rub bleary eyes at their local café while reading a copy of The Thao. It is a month of madness that Vietnam happily embraces.

After being in Europe watching the first half of the cup I’ve adjusted as smoothly to this timezone as I’ve ever done. My jet lag in fact has been my secret weapon. The ability to drop off for an hour or two and wake for no reason whatsoever is usually infuriating. You end up wandering the house at 3am wishing you had some milk so you could make hot milk. During the world cup however, there’s football to be watched. It’ll make the post world cup blues harder to get over as my sleeping habits are now more akin to a cat’s, I’m neither here nor there (is this what it’s like in the… Twilight Zone?), but it’s only every four years, and there’s only one week left, so next Monday will be the last time our bosses have to look at our sleepy heads.

Grumpy employers (as in the ones who don’t like football) should be thankful the next world cup won’t go any further west. If it was in South America, for example, no one would turn up to work at all.

Which gives me a business idea for 2014: widescreen TVs at pho stalls…


oslo davis said...

I am not watching ANY world cup matches until it's over. I've recored every match and, after Monday, I'll sit down and watch them all.


pittstop designer said...

well most Australians gave up watching altogether after they got....

oslo davis said...

I said DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING!!!! Jesus!

oslo davis said...

Walking along a windy street yesterday a piece of newsprint paper flew and wrapped around my shin.

Looking down I immediately recognised it as a page from the sports section of The Age and, accidently, saw that the Ivory Cost didn't make it through to the second round.