Day 10: Saturday 26th July 2014After last night’s (or this morning’s) sleep on the coach in a factory car park (well, it looked like a layby at the time), it transpires that we were about 800 yards from the Academy entrance.
Not that we knew it. At 6.15am, the coach driver, no doubt as dazed and confused as we are, sees fit to turn right and head along for around 5 minutes until admitting he was lost. Turning around and driving all the way back again, we pass the factory and arrive at the gates in about 20 seconds. Can’t say I was amused with any kind of delay at that particular time of the day. I do like my sleep and am a bit grumpy in the morning anyway and that’s when I’ve actually slept, so no chance of a smile from me as I left the coach and headed to my room.
Despite the arguably Spartan surroundings, we are all actually developing a fondness for the Academy and it’s become home. A few hours’ sleep and all would be good I hope but the body clock I now all over the place and not looking forward to the trauma of the mammoth journey home.
Reflecting on the Samba School night, it really was a fantastic occasion. I mentioned yesterday that everyone was enveloped in the samba beat. We had Tis, Taggy, the players all rocking to the beat. Tis still found himself rocking to that beat today, admitting to doing a little samba jig in the toilet of the café we visited today when in Leblom (or, with Taggy’s spelling issues ‘Lebanon’).
Personally I found the mesmeric beat sent me to sleep but that may have had something to do with no water being on sale at the club, leaving the choice of simply cocktail or lager. Lager was closest to water. Those cocktails are mighty strong!
It was a great chance to mix with the locals in a fun environment. You could dance and sing (they all know the samba song words) with anyone.
With much clearer distinction the performing dancers were male and female, young and old (a bit like Rococo’s in Exeter). Samba doesn’t necessarily have a fixed beat in my opinion. You kind of feel the music and its rhythm. This helped some of our less able dancers get into the swing of it as you’d struggle to miss a beat.
Our kind hosts, Eric and his wife, Anna, paid and organised for us to enjoy an authentic local samba occasion and we were all delighted to have been able to take up the invitation, despite the coach sleepover! Eric apparently came to at around 6pm on Saturday so must have stayed several hours longer!
Moving onto today. It was our last full day in Rio, and our chance to finally get to see the city properly. And, ironically with Devon experiencing heatwaves, we have pouring rain. So, no trip to Christ the Redeemer (you couldn’t see it!) nor was there much point in setting our towels down on Copacabana or Ipanema beaches, although I did have some coconut water from the nut itself on Ipanema sea front. Instead we were all dropped at Leblom Shopping Mall (or Lebanon for Taggy’s sake) and we meandered around the locality for the afternoon. Not quite what we wanted. No time to get to a favela for a snoop around and even the Maracana Stadium was closed.
Brazil social observation (from Mel & Tis) – very few pushchairs in Brazil but, in Leblom, a more affluent quarter, they are many more around. End of observation. Thanks for that, chaps, err very interesting!
The main fascination was whether the coach would arrive on British or Brazilian time to collect us. We’d had yet another change of coach today. They don’t seem to last long in this country and, to be fair, the quality of them is diminishing by the day. The consoling factor was that that, without an onboard toilet, we no longer travelled accompanied by the heady aroma of urine.
Only 10 minutes late! As the traffic was particularly heavy this is enough leeway to consider this British timekeeping and therefore a first for the tour. The driver though is a maniac. Sitting near the front, several times I felt I could lean in and tap the driver of the car in front on the shoulder to ask if he could get on with it! Happy to be back at the Academy in one piece.
Early night on store for our weary boys. Just time to clock the BBC’s Alan Richardson’s belt and track suit trouser combo and try to put Tis off during his interview (a little toilet samba anyone? – see above).
Double training session tomorrow assuming the pitches aren’t waterlogged.