Sunday, August 7, 2016

Day 3: Rio

Day 3: Rio

So, what impressed you the most on Day 1 of the O's?

Weather: Hot! Mid to high 80s

At the copa (co) Copacabana (Copacabana)
The hottest spot south of Havana (here)
At the copa (co) Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa they fell in love
Copa, Copacabana

Breakfast: same-same.

THB and DA decide to get a very early start, leaving at 9:45 for our 2:40 event time. We’re excited, day one of the games! Even for THB, this is leaving a lot of time for day one exploring.

9:45: Depart apartment for General Osirio metro station, stopping for Italian-style baguette (i.e., very light) at local bakery

10:00: Get on new Line 4 along with lots of other people, DA’s 7 day pass doesn’t work and THB’s appears to be ticking down to zero hee-haws (or, hay-eyes, as one follower has already belittled THB’s Portuguese accent)

Modern cars with lighted station displays

10:20: 5 stops to end of the line and transfer to express bus, which are queued up in large numbers on long platform

10:55: Exit at end of bus line, passing what looks like an excruciatingly long security line standing in hot sun

Mural of some of the arenas on-site

11:05: We’re in the Barra (pronounced….pronounced…THB’s Portuguese has come to the end of the line also) Olympic Park. Security was same as London: excellent and our “checker” mildly humored by THB’s baguette, saying something to others in the tent

One hour 20 minutes door through security tent, not bad by O standards. The Park is unusual in that the main stadium for T&F is not here. What are here: 6 or 7 other stadiums: swimming, handball, water polo, velodrome, tennis (using velodrome + two other venues), judo, and some other sports THB can’t remember and won’t bother looking up.

Retro tees...THB has all of these already

Brother, can you loan me a cashier?

So, with time to kill at the O’s, what do THB and DA do? SHOP! The mega-store is empty (day 1, early) and THB is greeted by his own personal shopper: a Brit that recognizes THB’s London t-shirt and introduces himself. He’s the GM over the store. THB buys more t-shirts, DA takes care of gifts for his extended family.
Aquatic center; we can hear cheering from inside!
Next up: THB and DA buy Cokes at a Coke booth (not realizing how unique this particular concession stand is) and sit in shade under large umbrella amidst many tables under large umbrellas, sharing our baguette. First we share our table with 3 Brazilians, one of whom speaks US accented English, then a family of 4 with no English, accented or otherwise. What do we decide to do: SHOP! Even before attending a single event, we figure out what to do with our free day on Tuesday (what day is it today…Saturday): buy tickets to Water Polo.
DA realizing something is going on...what?

Queuing theory test: how long would you wait for 10 hee-haws worth of popcorn?

Buying tickets no problem: nice O volunteer puts us in the “English” line, jumping us to second ahead of 15 or so other people in line for the 6 or so ticket sellers (you can’t see them behind the dark glass). DA pays using his phone app: 100 hee-haws for two tix (that’s around 35 doe-lars) which makes these the cheapest tix of the O’s. There’s a long aside THB will not go into here about ticket prices. Let’s just say buying them from CoSport is nothing like buying them in local currency at current exchange rates.

Back to wandering around. THB and DA note something very strange: it’s 1pm (i.e., lunch time) and there is a huge line at one of the concession stands and no lines for the food stands. Hmmmmmm…turns out, the method here is you stand in line at the cashier stand, pay in advance for your items, then go and use coupons to pay at food stands. They somehow inverted the process though: for every 10 food stand person there is one cashier.
38 minutes until game time

Pre-game entertainment: skipping rope

THB has never seen anything like this at an O’s (for that matter, any other sporting event). Bad food choices abound, that’s for sure, at any O’s once you’re at the Park (except maybe Sydney, and you wouldn’t go to Australia for the food, either); they never make you wait to hand over your money.
Russian vs Koreans

Who is this guy?

There’s a long line to get into Handball, at the Copper Box. Whoa! Rio appears to have imported the identical building that London used for Handball in 2012. Amazing! Why are so many people lined up in the hot sun 30 minutes before the venue is open for the second session?

One: they don’t actually know when they will let the folks in for the second session. Two: maybe Brazilians know something we don’t. Cooler inside? Yes, that’s true, it’s a pleasant 70 degrees inside.

The real reason: they are rushing to get in the cashier lines to pay for food! They are starving.
Free wahter

Where is everybody?

The lines at the cashier stands never let up until there only a few minutes left in the second match. How do DA and THB survive: THB has brought 3 day old roadkill (Clif energy bars so far past their expiration dates that they don’t have expiration dates) and DA has brought almonds (brand new, straight from Fremont).  THB amazingly saved his empty Coke bottle and stood in a “short” water cooler line to refill it (no, THB did not have to “buy” free water).  Water and bread (the last of the baguette, tasting better and better) help get us through the afternoon.
This is the guy who chemically "engineered" the turnaround after half time...the suitcase did not make it out of the locker room
What happened in the actual Handball games, you might ask yourself (and THB)? The Russia women mounted a huge comeback in the second half (subbing the second goalie in somehow turned the game around, though they revved up their offense even more than defense) and beat the Koreans in game one. In game two, Spain women slowly (they play a very down-tempo style) strangled Montenegro.

The stands were never more than 60-70% full. Hmmmm...where was everybody?
What you get if you stand in a line for about 50 minutes

White Cheetos!! net weight: ZERO ounces

We sat next to a couple from LA: he’s been to 5 of last 6 Summer O’s, missing Athens (same as THB, except THB has now been to 7 of last 9). Actually, sat next to him for about an hour, then he went off to see where his girlfriend was. Then we sat next to her for about half hour until he returned. She had been in the cashier line, he had been looking for her, they missed each other by about 2 minutes.
Korean guy a few rows in front of us 

You don't need a computer program to tell you how the Russians won this match

Espana vs Montenegro: nothing to watch?

Post match

Post-match 2: no lines now!

You wait an hour to pay, and they are out of #8!! #Fergettaboutit

Reverse our commute back to General Osirio in highly a/c’d bus and metro car. Exit and dine at the restaurant directly across the street from the metro station. Excellent ravioli and a strong caipirinha (lots of pulped lime, sugar and ice with cacha├ža) and water (not free) for THB, pizza and dos cervezas for DA.

Stop at Zona Sul for cheese and apples (for tomorrow’s emergency kit).

Exhausted!! In bed at 9:20, dreaming of “pasta” (one of the concession stand food choices THB and DA never got to make).


  1. How about the Korean Woman's Team Archery - 8 Golds in a row? We also recommend Woman's Team Rugby. We are still loving your blog; it gave us a good "hee-haw" over breakfast today. British TV coverage is so much better than what the US provides. Keep up the good work and enjoy.

  2. Team Archery? Rugby? C'mon....I am hearing US has put a few more ads in the broadcast than usual, and that now you can see 2 minutes of the games every half hour. Look for me!!