Day 7: Wednesday 23rd July 2014Quieter day today as we prepare for the game against Tupi FC this evening. Everyone is enjoying just being in town and having a decent hotel with hot water and wifi, good food nearby, a proper residential rather than a boot camp! I’d say it was just the boost the group needed.
There is a small gym and a pool here too. Tis headed down for a morning dip, kitted out neatly as you would expect. Rather unsportingly, the water was somewhat colder than he’s expected. However, a few of the group were in the restaurant area at that time, situated a floor higher and overlooking the pool, and they acknowledged him as he dipped his toe in the water.
In the dressing room ahead of the Tupi fixture
Now anyone else, on discovering the Baltic temperature, would have given that up as a bad job and headed back in. Not our beloved leader! Knowing people were looking at him, professionally resplendent in Speedos, goggles and with nourishing energy drink to keep him going, he felt obliged to plough on. In a superb display, he reeled off 30 lengths of the pool before calmly returning to his room and spending an equivalent number of minutes in a shower as hot as it could be.
He’s still cold and is considering giving up swimming in front of an audience.
More bus issues! Waiting at 10am for the Fluminense bus to go training at the University, scheduled (for what it’s worth) at 10.30am. Nothing. At just after 10.30am, Ricardo organises a fleet of yellow taxis instead. Typically, on the way, we spot it working its way to the hotel through the traffic!
A good session all round though. Tis was happy with his footballing session. Taggy, Bruce and I find wifi at the adjacent swimming pool complex, so tuck in to a bit of work ourselves.
Indians from Juiz de Fora have come to support the Grecians
Unique situation at the restaurant where we have lunch. In the same area as our tables, a business is conducting a business forum on selling, presumably for its employees. Not an ideal situation with a football team looking on!
Time for a quick look around town and the shops on the way back from the restaurant. The one thing that strikes me is where do Brazilians gather socially? We use cafes or bars primarily to meet up. Here, you struggle to find any of these. Brazilians seem to socialise and have a drink over food at a restaurant so the coffee drinkers amongst the group are struggling big time! Never mind, I prefer tea, so am even worse off. At any coffee bars there are, the staff just shrug and laugh at the Englishman.
Tupi and Exeter City shirts on display
The University facilities here is Juiz de Fora are excellent and we’re appreciative of the opportunity to use them for training and now the second match of the tour.
Once again, we have magnificent support from travelling Grecians, around 100 of whom have made the trip up from Rio. Evident in the group are Frank Sealey and his amazing dancing bear (think Rod Hull and Emu) and Simon Cooper, as ever sporting his red and white jester’s hat. I love the look of the yellow Brazil tour shirts too. In amongst the red and white stripes they look brilliant.
City line up ahead of kick-off
Also supporting us are the Indians, who have come up from the project in Vila dos Sonhos we visited yesterday and taking a break from building the centre with their bare hands and literally scraping it out of the hillside. Cue hugs all round and Tis invited them into the changing rooms and they led the team in a pre-match communal sing-a-long and dance. Clearly this is all we’ll need this season as we won the game 2-1. Sign them up Tis! Did you see the way they celebrated the goals?! Great performance from the team, sticking at it and the patient attitude working as we came from one down to win late on with two goals. Twice in two games now we have finished the stronger which is pleasing.
David Wheeler and the Indians celebrate a 2-1 victory for the Grecians
So it was another cup for Scot Bennett who is now made more victory speeches than most Hollywood actors. Great for the confidence and the news headlines. We’ve even spotted a three minute online German clip about Sunday’s game! The only trouble is that this one is made of glass so we’ll need to be careful getting it home on the plane!
This was a decent and strong test for City. Tupi didn’t want to lose the game but everyone was very gracious and hugely complimentary about the team and all things Exeter City.
New captain Scot Bennett collects yet more silverware for Exeter
A late meal followed and then back to the hotel, where the thoughts turned to making the most of the hot showers and comfy beds before our departure tomorrow!