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Zekes Brazilian Adventure


zekekelso
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Flew down to Rio from JFK last night. Canadian women's rowing and French women's basketball team were on the flight. I was seated near the French woman and they were very gracious to chat. They won Silver in London but are a stretch to win a medal this year. They just played exibitions against USA, Canada and. Australia and were swept. Couple interesting points. First, finishing fourth is the ultimate bad result in their mind... They would prefer fifth or sixth to fourth. Second, their first game is on Saturday and the coaches wanted them to skip the opening ceremony. The team basically told off the coaches and is going... They are positively giddy about being there.

I landed and then caught a bus out to the hinterlands for a few days. For those that care about such things, the airport was dressed nicely in Olympic garb, and there were mascots, tons of volunteers, etc. the roads around the airport had lots of good Olympic signage, but once I got into downtown and on my way North (very much not tourist areas) there was much less, often no sign of the games.

Oh, and it's raining here. Supposed to clear up and be beautiful for the opening ceremonies and first few days. But kinda blah for now.

 

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Would have loved to be there, but didn't get into Rio until Friday. Then wasted much of Friday at the co-sport debacle.

Spent a lot of time walking around today. Rio is an amazing city. If people keep suggesting the Olympics pick a single host city, I say put it here. Seriously.

Did the whole Olympic Boulevard thing today. Got there around noon and was shocked how empty it was. By the time I left at 3:00 it was really started to fill up. I can't image how packed it will be tonight. Not for me. Incidentily, no bag check or metal detectors to get in. Never seen that before. Hopefully, they just realize that it doesn't do any good (if someone wants to strike, there are plenty of choices, including the bag check lines) and not an unwillingness to secure the site.

Important note - Skol is the shittiest Olympic beer in a long history of shitty Olympic beer. I've drunk a lot of crappy beer in my life and I'm not that picky, but this stuff is gross.

Only problem I've seen with the Olympics so far is that there were almost no volunteers after the OC last night. Any other games would have a ton of pointed the way to transportation. Ended up asking the military guys. They are everywhere, and pretty friendly.

Zeke's Olympic tip of the day: There will always be a fence between where you are, and where you want to be. For no apparent reason. Just accept it and begin the long walk around it.

 

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7 minutes ago, zekekelso said:

 

Zeke's Olympic tip of the day: There will always be a fence between where you are, and where you want to be. For no apparent reason. Just accept it and begin the long walk around it.

 

Lol, so true! They all seem to love long crowd control corridors for the sake of them.

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Went out to watch the Brazilian women's football team destroy Sweden. Everyone should add "see a Brazilian national team, in Brazil" to their bucket list. Hoo boy what an experience. Night and day different from seeing the team GB women in Wembley four years ago.

I've now tried three times to buy a muti-day Olympic transport pass. It's just not going to happen. But I've realized it's probably cheaper and just as easy to buy normal transit tickets.  I'll have to buy one-day Olympic cards for the days I head out to Bara (they are required) but that's all.

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Lots of ice cold cerveja for sale from vendors on the SuperVia. "Olympic Stadium" kicked butt over Maracanã. Nifty park area before you go in the stadium proper, at least 5x the beer stands vs Maracanã (and thus shorter lines). Same crappy food and beer however. That said - this should be exhibit #1 on how a T&F stadium makes for a lousy football stadium. Vast area between the stands and the playing field. The experience wasn't like watching live football, or even football on TV. It was like watching football on the wide-angle far-away camera view coaches use. Great place to go if you want to better understand how the teams space themselves and set up. Terrible if you want to feel part of the action.  

Bagged out before the end of the game because [1] I was tired and [2] I don't even want to think what they train would have been like after the game. One nice thing about having been to the Olympics before (and getting cheap seats) is you don't feel guilty leaving early.

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Was supposed to be at beach volleyball today, but haven't been able to hook up with Chateau Petrus who has my ticket. Hope he's OK.

Instead, I've just been strolling the streets... grabbing some food at the farmer's market, enjoying the sun, and doing what I always do at the Olympics... hang out in bars and watch games on TV. As usual, local TV is feeding pretty much non-stop Brazil athletes. The network studio is weird in that it's a huge room with a could "chairs" that are about one step up from being bean bags. Either they have zero money, or this is some sort of artistic minimalism. They do have at least one fun toy... a holographic table. They were using it to explain what a pick-n-roll is. While the technology is good, I actually think a chalkboards with X's and O's would have made just as much sense.

I assume everyone is loving the cameras at the pool. The slo-mo replay shows every drop of water, every flexing muscle. 

Nap time... we are only on day three and I"m already exhausted. 

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Just got back from a night of drinking and dancing at CasaAustria. Waiting in line almost two hours to get in, but it was a nice night, people watching in Rio is amazing, and the ubiquitous beer guys were taking care of the crowd. I'm starting to think 'beer guy' is one of the five most popular jobs in Rio. 

Nothing the slightest bit Austrian about CasaAustria... but the drink lines where shots and the DJ was rocking (assuming you like 5-10 year old cheesy US dancy music, often in Portuguese). Not even Olympics on big screen TV's. You could see into the VIP areas where they did have Olympics on TV and a bunch of stuff shirts standing around wishing they were outside dancing with us.

Oh, and the Brazilian men's team is currently 0-0 vs Iraq. If they don't score, I'm not sure it will be safe to go out tomorrow

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Brazil did not score but don't worry, we lost to germany by 7-1 in the world cup and no one destroyed a bus or did some stupid thing. Our girls are performing well anyway.

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Beautiful day in Deodoro yesterday. One quirky bit of planning. There's a huge train station in Deodoro and a line that goes there. That's not the one you want for the Deodoro Oympic cluster. You want the train to Santa Cruz.

Got there, and they have a walking a mile or so through the neighborhood...but in a tightly packed corordor soy you can't really explore. I didn't realize till I got out there that the venues are inside a military base. The horsy venue was beautiful.I sat down on my Brazil-flag "kanga" and had a great day. I was sure to check... aparently nobody cares if you sit on the flag (or wear as a skirt) just don't burn it.

I had some time to kill between events, so headed off the military base, around the barriers and into the neighborhood. Got some ice-cream (and watched the Olympics) at a temporary stand set up in a gas station parking lot, then headed to a per-kilo/charrascria place just down the block (still in site of the official line). Took a few minutes to figure out how the system works, but ended up with tons of great food and steak for cheap.

Met a Brazilian guy who is a big Australian rugby fan. Who knew there were such things. He spoke no English; my portuguese is terrible, but I believe he told me, "Chopp <draft beer> is for pussies. Get the cans. More beer for less."

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My last morning in Rio, so let me get off one real-time post. I'll backfill with the rest when I get home. The Olympics always exhaust me, because I want to see all the Olympic stuff, but also want to see everything in the host city. I'm not surprised I didn't find time to post much.

No events this morning, so I went out for some last minute errands... getting presents for the folks back home. I headed to a local juice bar where I've had breakfast a few days. It uses the cashier system, which is fine most places (reminds me of coffee bars in Italy) but presents a challenge here because I don't know the names of the things I want to order. So I go over to the counter, look at all the food items, and ask the guy to teach me the word for what I want. Then I go over to the cashier and order. Then I go back to the counter with my slip, give it to the guy. He checks it out, gives me the thumbs up and hands me my food. For all I know I ordered something completely different and he's just humoring me.... but it always feels like an accomplishment. 

The weather is beautiful, as it's been most of the time (yesterday was a big exception). You can sit outside (actually, you have to sit outside as there is no inside) enjoy the weather and... of course... watch the Olympics on TV. It's Brazil vs Spain at the beach volleyball arena this morning, so people eating breakfast and people walking by are watching. But not everybody. I'm in a middle class neighborhood half-way between Copacabana and Centro, and most people are going about their business. The city doesn't have an overwhelming case of Olympic fever.  But many people do stop to watch, and it's a festive atmosphere. 

And I know I could be watching the games on TV at home, but there's something special about this. I'd almost take it over being at the stadium this morning. A couple quick pictures (including what I suspect is a non-IOC approved sign) and then finish packing. 

28669051600_5d3f295d52_c.jpgIMG_3676 by salmoneousphotos, on Flickr

28669049690_31068de54d.jpgIMG_3678 by salmoneousphotos, on Flickr

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