|Saturday at Rio
Getting up at 10:00 a.m. would have been tough today - Vicki and Matt showed up about 1:05 (that's a.m. people), and last night was a bit rough. Badaboom, badabing. How does 6:10 sound? Ya, me, too. Especially to watch badminton.
Matt, Kent and I start the morning zooming (Rio style) to Barra - a mere 45 minutes with little traffic at this time of day. As we walk the 30 minutes to the venue there is virtually no one on the street. It sort of makes it easier being up that early??? Walking through security they tell me to toss the yogurts stashed inside the backpack but then get distracted by the American flags on wooden sticks and are more interested in separating the two than the yogurts. Score! We're getting ready to have our tickets scanned and they tell us that well, you're at the wrong set of arenas. The ones we need to be at are another 20 minute walk. Can I tell you, it was a super way to spend the early morning. Especially when we past the sewage holding tank.
Badminton. We all grew up playing it at some sort of family cookout or picnic, perhaps even enjoyed watching the flight of the birdie, the net that inevitably fell down after the first tap, and the feel of grass underfoot. Well, my friends, I'm here to let you know that badminton is totally bad ass. The fans were rowdy, the players lightening quick and the matches enthralling. Honestly, it was captivating and some of the female competitors had cute outfits. We spent the entire morning in pavilion four mesmerized. This venue also gets kuddos for having the best bathrooms so far.
JP and Ned joined up with us, as did Greg, as we headed off to pavilion three to watch table tennis. Please don't make the faux pas by calling it ping pong. That's very pedestrian. At this point it's almost three in the afternoon and I'm pretty hungry. After locating our seats Kent volunteers to go buy lunch. Hmm, let's see. Am I in the mood for a horse burger or greasy mystery hot dog? Horse burger it is. Kent comes back with beers for everyone. They've run out of food in the entire pavilion. Can I just ask you how that happens? It's three o'clock in the afternoon. There are hours and hours of competition to go. I'm in line to get water, the beer thing wasn't working for me. This nice young man is behind me and we get to chatting (a reoccuring theme). He thinks he's in the food line when I gently break it to him that I'm so sorry, my dear fellow American, drinks only. Lucky for me this young chap, Tim, is in the Foreign Service, works for the American embassy working the games and escorts me to an area where there is actually food you can buy outside of Pavilion Three. Greasy pizza will don (no napkins, of course).
The table tennis crowd is more reserved. There are four matches being played at once and you're never quite sure who the crowd is cheering for. After an hour I reach a saturation point. Knowing the walk back to the van is going to be an hour I whine until Kent can't stand it any longer and gives in. Vicki, Dede, Gabe, KC, Will, and Andrew are watching handball. I text Vicki she's all in for rallying her troops. We meet up in a sea of humanity and walk to the van. Now I tell you, this is by far the LONGEST trip back to the apartment we have had. I'm thankful I decided to use the bathroom before we left, others were not as fortunate.
Getting back to the apartment there are a few of us who have no desire to go out to eat at 8:30. Some do, some don't. The smart ones don't.
It was long day. I'm grateful that family and friends are here to enjoy this experience with us - and that Vicki brought sweets.
P.S. Annie had boat work to do today so we weren't able to meet up. Her spirits are good and she's excited to get back on the race course for three tomorrow.
Pictures from the top of Sugarloaf watching racing yesterday, badminton and table tenni
Sundays hold great memories for me. Most Sundays growing up were spent with extended family and always involved food and cousin shananagins. It was wonderful waking up to family and knowing our day would be spent together and that the youth in the group would continue to entertain.
The apartment has five bedrooms so we're doubled up. The DiBiase/Haeger are meshing well. We've found out who snores, who has what for breakfast and habits that are a bit off the beaten track. We still love each other after day two. Yippee!
With a little local knowledge, Kent scoped out our viewing platform for today. The walk is a little over two and half miles down Copacabana Beach to a old military fort. After paying the 4 Reis to get in, the walk up the bricked pavement to specular view of the beach and the bay awaits you. Today was red shirt day, our Team Beulah shirts. Eleven of them marching down the beach in red Team H/P shirts, up the path and to the top of fort. It was quite a sight! I'm still a bit shaky with all this, don't like pressure and never will. Solitude and peace is what I need so I'm off to the noon mass. Kent cannot understand how I can miss the racing, I don't understand how he can watch the racing. Thirty years later it still works.
The mass is Portuguese, the sermon riveting (from observing my fellow parishioners) and I get my piece of mind. I head off to find 'my people' and am stopped while heading up the path by people descending. 'You are with them?' I'm asked.
Lord, what did they do (the red shirt was the give away)? I fess up. When I get to the top I understand. Look at the attached photo. Intense. I show up and no one says anything to me. Matt, nicknamed 'the good brother' fills me in. She was seventh (my heart sinks) but two were dsq'ed, landing her in fifth. I'm breathing a bit better now.
While the judges were deciding to move the course (enabling better wind), I get the skinny on the monkeys. Remember them? Will claims one wanted to fight him to the death - they may weigh three pounds - and one jumped in Vicki's lap ready to wrestle her for her sandwich. I knew they'd be nothing but trouble!
The race is about to start and the fans are lined up with their viewing devices. I leave, walk, pace, call it what you will. There's a bench down the path in the shade. I plunk down and play hearts, then solitaire, then some games that are supposed to keep my mind sharp. I get bit by two mosquitos. Nope, still not going back to the top. The monkeys find me, those sneaky bastards. Distract my train of thought. Enough, they win. I head back up. Matt looks forlorn. My stomach sinks. He says the race close to being over, she's in second. This is great, right? Three more races...Breathe.
Tonight eleven of us went to dinner at an Italian restaurant, eight o'clock reservations. The place is packed by the time we leave, 22:00. De, Greg and I walk back to the apartment along the beach (about 25 minutes) and the volleyball stadium is rocking and rolling. We pass tv screens and watch with 100 others as Usain Bolt wins the 100m. The crowd goes wild.
Rio got a bad wrap.
observations from race 5:
-start was fair but missed the first shift again and then go ping ponged left a couple of times and pretty soon up the left it was in a long lasting right phase.
-first downwind and second upwind were only marginally successful but no signs of panic risk taking, just slow, steady gains.
-second downhill was starting to look quite a bit better as they continued to close on the pack. And third uphill was very well sailed and by that time they were through half the fleet.
-last time downhill was in a different wave pattern due to them sailing the outer loop toward the finish. This run featured significant swell coming in the bay from the ocean and they played them really well. At times it looked very much like Radial sailing with big s curves and sailing by the lee. Huge gains on the fleet ending in the 5th.
The regatta isn't even half over and the clear boat to beat now looks like the GBR boat with others including USA, FRA and NZL having real chances. USA needs to get off the line and hit the first shift. If they can round the first pin with the leaders the downwind speed could be decisive. Tomorrow is a big day with 3 races scheduled.