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A long journey finally ends — except for the luggage, that is


Air Canada from Toronto to Miami was diverted to Orlando because of weather, we sat in the plane on the tarmac for 90 minutes or so but got the Miami-Rio connection with a minute to spare because it was 90 minutes late, too.

An odd feeling walking onto the plane about the third-last passenger and having the door close right behind you; you get a dirty look or two, deal with it and move on.

But the sinking feeling is you know 1,000,000 per cent that there’s no way the checked bag makes it.

And as soon as I saw the TAM desk at the luggage carousel here in Rio, walked up to it, the guy saw me and said, “Toronto” and we started the paperwork.

Dude couldn’t have been more helpful until I asked when I might see the bag again:

“Tomorrow,” he said. “Maybe.”

That was 36 hours ago now so think a good thought for me and all shopping suggestions welcome.

Now, a bit of a diversion in a flight was an inconvenience and a pain in the butt but wait to you get load of Bea Arthur’s tale tomorrow.

Not gonna scoop him but it involves missing the connection and a lost cabbie and a night in Miami and stops in airports and cities somewhere in this expansive country and an arrival about 30 hours later than expected.

It’s gonna be a classic.

For just my second time in eight Games, we’re housed in a hotel rather than a dorm and The Mighty Quinn needs accolades for putting us where we are.

Totally functional comfortable place a few blocks from Copacabana beach in an area with restaurants and shops and grocery stores. Solid rooftop bar area where you are welcome to supply your own refreshments or buy from them – Not Grace and I worked our way through a cold 12-pack of store-bought Heineken in our own welcoming reception – and a good enough buffet breakfast that starts nice and early.

It might not be the Ritz but it’s quite functional and was a nice find.

Yeah, we will get to some weekend mail sometime on the weekend – duh! – and if you want in on the fun, get to askdoug@thestar.ca and let me know what’s on your creative minds.

No, I have not seen The Girl From Ipanema who’s gone walking but I have seen Ipanema and as beaches go, it’s certainly one.

We drive past it, as well as Leblon and a bit of Copacabana on what could be a harrowing drive on a two-lane road (highway would be an unfair description) along the coast.

It’s anywhere from 50 minutes to two hours from hotel to Main Press Centre depending on traffic and the relative skills of the driver and once I figure out the rhythm of the day, I’m thinking that’s got nap possibilities written all over it.

So much for NBA teams lining up with trade proposals for Russell Westbrook and so much for everyone who figured he’d bolt from Oklahoma City the first chance he got post-Durant and that the Thunder was going to deal him for sure to get some return on investment.

I think it says a fair bit about Westbrook that he would do any kind of contract extension now – three years and somewhere close to $ 90 million is what I saw this morning – rather than play out the year either in Oklahoma City or somewhere else and play the market a year from now.

It’s admirable, I think, that he would basically say, “hey, I’ll commit because I have faith you’ll do the right thing” and that sends a message not only to his teammates and bosses but the rest of the league as well.

I don’t know how good the Thunder will be this year – they probably aren’t in the class of the Warriors, Clippers and Spurs at the moment – but they certainly aren’t in the total retool mode they would have been in had Westbrook wanted out.

Okay, much minutia to worry about today with filing and transport and scheduling and the usual pre-Games hell but the gang’s all in the city and ready to hit the ground running.

I’m gonna figure out a morning routine so I’m not as late with this the rest of the journey.

And perhaps even get some luggage.

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