I don’t want to be writing about bags and you probably don’t want to read about bags; we all want to be reading about horses and equestrian venues and riders, and horsey people.
Unfortunately, there has been little of our preferred topic and too much about lost bags. Simply and succinctly, the best news yesterday was that the bag has been found and delivered. Worst news was that it was delivered to the Olympic Committee. No, not the New Zealand Olympic Committee, where possibly I could have easily been able to go and pick it up, but it was delivered to the IOC. As in Thomas Bach, Barry Maister, Barbara Kendall etc. So now I begin the job of trying to find out where I might go to find the bag. Every time I ring and talk to someone I get a different answer. It’s all getting extremely tiresome and while I can live with washing clothes every night and wearing the same outfits day after day, I can’t live without things like a camera battery charger. Libby’s big Canons have big batteries, so my little ones just can’t use her adapters. So, hopefully, this woeful tale will reach a happy ending… eventually.
I did get to visit the equestrian venue yesterday. As I am from Canterbury and have had the experience of living through the nightmare of the earthquakes and the resulting responses from certain Government organisations, I am a bit disconcerted that the acronym given to the venue is EQC. However, I have got that in perspective now and was impressed with what I saw. Being media, I am restricted from going anywhere near the warm-up arenas, stables or (in yesterday’s case) much of the action. However, I can report that the arena looks huge, and impressive, and there are two press rooms. There are also a lot of flappy things on the grandstands and yesterday it was very windy…
I can also report that it is 45 minutes’ walk from the EQC to the media and volunteers’ accommodation and that hopefully the shuttle vans are scheduled to start operating today as the one pair of shoes I have are not my ideal walking ones.
I cannot report on how our volunteer officials are going as they need to seek permission before they can talk to the media, but from what I understand, they are working hard and long hours and are still smiling. Actually, I can’t validate that last statement, as I haven’t witnessed this, but that is what I am imagining.
I also haven’t had a chance to see the riders, but there is a scheduled press conference this afternoon, so I will attend that. The Rugby Sevens team have their press conference not long before, so I might just slip into that one as well and find out if Sonny Bill Williams has ever ridden a horse.
I went to the Main Press Centre again yesterday and arrived just before the New Zealand hockey women and the canoe slalom competitors were having their press conference, so thought I’d pop in to see who was involved. We do have a horsey connection in the hockey team. Rose Keddell is the daughter of Wendy and Richard Keddell of Mt View Sport Horses. They own Senator, who is the sire of Balmoral Sensation! Unfortunately, Rose wasn’t part of the conference, but I’m hoping to make a connection there sometime soon.
The hockey grounds are also at Deodoro, just at a different part, and it’s not exactly an area easy to walk around. Perhaps when the promised shuttles get going I may be able to do a bit more exploring, but I don’t want to wear out the one pair of shoes I have at the moment!
I did manage to catch a press bus out to Copacabana which is very impressive. It’s a huge beach and an amazing place for people-watching: all sorts of characters parading around and lots of beach volleyball going on. I also managed to find a shop that sold socks, so I can now keep my purple Air New Zealand socks confined to the apartment. They are actually quite useful to wear around the apartment which has yet to have the floor cleaned so isn’t the place to wear my new white cotton socks!
I only discovered late into my adventure in Copa that the media bus I was on was one of the last, so my plan of getting back to the MPC and then back to the Deodoro Accommodation Village on these buses was unable to be executed. After a nice dinner, I ended up negotiating a good deal with a taxi driver to take me back to Deodoro; $55, which wasn’t too bad, considering it took 1.5 hours. Yes, the traffic still crawls along even after 9 at night! The motorbikes diving in and out of the traffic, nipping up the lane markings between buses, trucks and cars, toot their horns repeatedly in the hope that this will prevent them being sandwiched during their manoeuvres. It seemed to work during this journey as I didn’t witness any incidents, just a few close shaves.
So today I hope to be able to find some horses that are actually competing at the Games. I did find some that were helping patrol the venue.
Actually, it is probably more likely that I will only find the riders, rather than the horses, but I will have more horsey news on the next blog, I promise!
And on more positive news, nearly 20,000 steps accomplished yesterday! It would have been more, but then it ticked over past midnight, the first of many late nights…