First day of dressage and I’m sitting in the media centre, getting organised. Yesterday flew by, and that was just the trot-up! I like to get here early; I can get set up, there’re no issues with stressing out if the bus is late and I like hanging out in media centres. This morning it is just me and John Kyle. We’ve been joined by one other photographer and are still waiting for the coffee to come. (Update: the place is now humming and the coffee is here!)
An update on the Frenchman who the accommodation people wanted to squeeze into our apartment. There has been no change in the original rooming situation. Libby and Di still have their own bedrooms, and the Frenchman, Eric, has been rehomed elsewhere. He came and apologised to me for being rude the day before, and has been charming ever since. How can you hold a grudge against the charms of a remorseful Frenchman? I reckon we might end up being good mates at the end of this event! But I hasten to add, I still don’t want him in my bedroom!
Those of us who didn’t go to the Opening Ceremony had few options at the Deodoro Village. The bar has now opened so we went down to see what was going on. We were convinced to try one of their cocktails – the national drink, caipirinha. I went for the passionfruit version, enticed by the big bowl of passionfruit pulp. The traditional one is lime. We watched the barman mix it up, two big tots of cachaca, one big spoon of sugar, lots of passionfruit and ice, lots of shaking and then into a glass. Tossing caution to the wind, I had a sip, and struth! We purchased a can of Sprite and asked for another glass and halved it and topped it up with the lemonade. Much better. Getting wussy in my old age. Or wise. Take your pick.
We had hoped that the bar would show the opening ceremony, but no, they had a disco planned. Not sure that there were going to be many people there to dance the night away. Many of the volunteers, officials, photographers and journalists staying at this Village had gone to the ceremony, or made other plans.
In the end, it was back to the apartment, a few calls to work out how to get the TV going, and watched it sitting in bed. I had a bit more work to do, so missed all the theatrical bit, but watched many of the teams coming in. I managed to just keep my eyes open long enough to see Julie Brougham walk by, and that was it.
We also had another meal at the Mess Tent. While it isn’t really bad, it isn’t really good either and the highlight was definitely the watermelon for desert. One of these nights we are going to get organised and have something different, but that involves finding a decent restaurant not too far away, and getting taxis organised. There is nothing at all around the Village – we are in the middle of a military area and while the soldiers keep us entertained with their evening press-ups outside our apartment, they are not in the business of opening restaurants. We also haven’t found a good supply of wine, so besides the caipirinha, it has been a relatively alcohol-free Olympics so far. Combine this with all the steps I have been taking and expect to take: I might come back in a reduced state! Here’s hoping.
So D1 Day has finally arrived, and to say I am excited is an understatement. Bitter disappointment for Jock and his team, but what a marvellous opportunity for Tim. He’s a top bloke and he will be a top substitute.
I’ve had my morning vitamin drink, got my water bottles topped up and ready to go, have my packed breakfast waiting for when I’m hungry and a start list beside me. Now I just have to wait for things to begin. It’s times like this when doing something like plaiting up would be a great diversion. Anyone need plaits done? I think I can still remember how to do it.
Good luck Tim, good luck Sir Mark, may your best dressage moves come off well.