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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It’s Party Time!

The show jumpers have arrived, and we’ve already been told that Friday night’s post-team-medal shindig will take place at the Hard Rock Café (very original). The jumpers are moaning because they have to get up before noon for once – competition starts at 9 am on two out of three days, which means we could see some stubble and blood shot eyes out there this week. Training day was this morning in the stadium. There was only one really disastrous looking pair, the female rider from Peru. Her nice looking black stallion kept rooting her right out of the saddle and it appears she has neither brakes nor steering. Canada played it cool, with only Mac Cone jumping the whole round. Eric just loped around the jumps, and as usual Jill did something random. After she jumped a few she seemed to be practicing her speed turns by making tight, fast circles around one jump, then turning the other way and doing the same in reverse. Ed looked completely baffled, since he’s used to jumping the fences, not circling them.

Team dad Mike Gallagher was comparing the DQs to the jumpers in their attitude toward transporting their horses. He said the dressage riders all wanted to be on hand whenever possible to load their own horses on the vans. In contrast, the jumpers were asked if they wanted to arrive in Brazil before the jog.

We have officially given up on the buses. I have arranged with yesterday’s taxi driver, Edmar, to pick us up in the mornings and fetch us at the site at a prearranged time at the end of the day. Edmar is a safe driver on local standards, and he sweetly showed me his Spanish language textbook. He’s simultaneously trying to learn English, but everything he says sounds like Portuguese to me, which means I don’t understand much. Now if that sun would just come back so we could use all this newly free time on the beach or admiring the view from on top of Sugarloaf.

I’ve been meaning to mention the bird life here, of which there is much. The official Rio logo has what I believe are doves on it. It’s one of the nicer logos I’ve seen since I started going to these gigs, but vultures would have made a more apt representation, since they far outnumber the doves. I saw a bunch of them (I don’t think ‘flock’ suitably describes a group of scavenging carrion eaters) circling over a hospital the other day.

Got a bit of a grip on the caipirinha thing. I can handle two, as long as I spread them out over at least an hour and a half. Last night we went out for dinner and Jennifer Anstey ordered fish. She got the whole fish, and it was no pan-sized trout. There is a pound or so of it in a doggie bag in the fridge.

Apparently Waylon’s picture made it into the local paper the other day, but the article that went with it supports the position that the Brazilians were behaving badly, not that Waylon was behaving badly. Whew! International incident averted!

Anyone who is flying TAM Airlines to get out of here is in big trouble. I’m sure you all heard about the horrific plane crash in Sao Paulo last week that killed more than 200 people. Turns out it was caused by trying to land an Air Bus on a city airport runway that is too short for a wet landing (it was raining heavily, as it often does all year around in Brazil). The pilots are all going ‘work-to-order’ because TAM is continuing to land Air Buses at that airport. The report is that half of the flights in Brazil never left the ground yesterday. We aren’t flying TAM to Buenos Aires, but as the airline we are flying, VARIG, has changed or cancelled our flights three times in as many weeks, we are not absolutely sure about getting out of here either.

Tomorrow round one of team show jumping. I’m not only rooting for our team, I’m counting on them to bring home gold. Let’s go Canada, let’s go!

Until tomorrow,


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