Monday, August 11, 2008

I want my NBC

One of my favorite slang terms in Spanish is "estamos fritos," which means—literally—we're fried. The translated saying means we're out of luck. We're hosed.

So here we are in Costa Rica, greatly anticipating two weeks of glorious Olympics watching. Swimming! Gymnastics! Track and field! But when we turned on the TV to begin days of sports viewing we got a polite little note from our Costa Rican cable company that our NBC feed out of Denver was being blacked out. For two weeks. No games. ¡Estamos fritos!

I know you're wondering about Costa Rican TV. I mean, we can watch in Spanish, right?

You'll have to take my word for it when I tell you that Olympic coverage in this country is spotty and at times nearly non-existent. It is enough to make a girl cry.

Dan immediately began scrambling around with the computer, desperate to find some way for us to get video. Through a convoluted series of riggings made more difficult by our being in Costa Rica, he has finagled a connection from his laptop to our projector TV, and at night we are watching bits and pieces of the games on the wall in our office. I've been lying on the floor atop a sleeping bag and pillows, and Dan sits on the office chair to watch. Sometimes the girls come in with beanbags or pillows and join us.

We can't watch any video until NBC posts it (and of course that is delayed until the footage has aired on the network), and even then it's not the best quality and certainly not even close to HD. It's really sad.

Many of you know we’re huge swimming fans, and it's hard for us to wait until tonight to watch the men's 4x100 relay, which looks to be one of the greatest moments in US Olympic history. NBC is pulling its broadcasts off youtube, so this morning Dan and I—in sheer desperation after hearing about the mind-blowing anchor swim by Lezak—watched a video on youtube of the relay from a television station in Brazil. We can understand just enough Portuguese to get the idea of what the announcers are saying—and they were actually very animated—and in between Portuguese we kept hearing "Michael Phelps!" I got my first goose bumps of the games watching Lezak’s thrilling comeback. Now I'm aching to see it in English and am hoping for post-relay interviews and (dare I wish it?!) a medal ceremony.

I miss Bob Costas and his end-of-the-day synopses. I miss the tear-jerking and sometimes cheesy stories about athletes who have experienced the hard knocks of life. I miss the segments about China and how it prepared for the games, the Olympic theme, the medal ceremonies, hearing my national anthem, the interviews with athletes. I might even miss the commercials. I want my Olympics!

We waited four years for this? Estamos fritos, indeed.


Steven Klapow said...

Sorry you're not able to catch the games in their full glory! Why on earth is the NBC feed being blacked out?

Maggie said...

We are a family of 5--my husband and I and our three boys--who have been living in Costa RIca for 3 years. I also keep a blog and used to keep one on blogspot that yours looks identical to! (you use the same template I did). More bizarre? We are from Wisconsin--are you? (I see you were just there).

Finally, I, too was so ticked off about the NBC blackout here! I bought a great TV JUST to watch the Olympics (we don't otherwise watch TV). I couldn't believe it when that little notice scrolled across the screen!

Besides your computer did you ever figure out a place to go watch them?

Gypsy Journalist, aka JungleMama

Four in Costa Rica said...

Hi Maggie!

Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I'm glad you left a link to your blog. The "journalist" in your name caught my eye. We certainly have common interests.

I'm going to enjoy your writings, and my first thought on seeing your site is that your view in Nosara looks amazing. :)

My husband and I are both originally from Wisconsin, though we haven't lived there since 1993 (we left after college). It was fantastic to spend the summer there with my kids.

Regarding the Olympics ... we never did find another place to watch them. I heard a rumor that CableTica was carrying them (we have Amnet) but I'm not sure I believe that. I tried watching them on the CR broadcast, but it was painful--and they neglected to show any swimming, which is my favorite summer Olympic sport.

It has been so disheartening to see that notice on the screen each day (although we did finally start getting the Today show--which I don't usually watch--so at least I saw a little NBC coverage).

Hope you're doing well, staying dry. We woke up in a giant cloud today. Huuuuuuumidity!