Friday, 1 April 2022

Awards dinner

The bus back from the distillery isn't quite as hot this time. Just 40 C. And it isn't far back to the hotel. Back in my room I turn the airco up to North Pole. The blessed relief. How on earth did people live here without airco? I wouldn't have lasted a summer. Let's be honest, a couple of weeks of spring would probably have done for me

For once, we're back earlier than planned. 16:60 rather than 17:00. Giving me time to cool down and clean up. The bus to the awards ceremony is at 19:30.

I fire up the VPN and watch Match of the Day.

I check out of the window several to see if the bus has arrived. Then at 19:20 I wander downstairs. That's not a good sign: no-one is here. Where the hell are they? No point pining away. I get myself a capirinha in the hotel bar. Michael Hall arrives with his and is equally confused.

The he checks his phone. There's a message saying that the bus time has been moved forward to 19:00. Fuck. Joe, an American brewer from Charlotte, turns up. I get an Uber with him.

There's a long queue outside the hall - the same place where we judged - but we just push right to the front. We're sort of VIPs. I'm glad that I brought my lanyard with me. We're given wristbands and search for the bar. Where I get a rather nice Imperial Stout.

I bump into Martyn. He points out that we should be on the balcony, except they've given us the wrong wristbands. He suggests we go outside and get the right ones. Only they've run out of the VIP ones. However, it seems our lanyards are enough to get us access to the upstairs.

A band is playing. Very loudly. Was too fucking loudly. It's almost impossible to talk. Well, it's possible to talk. Just impossible to hear what you're saying, let alone anyone else. Downstairs, it's heaving. And everyone in unmasked. Covid-tastic.

I'm rather peckish and turn to the buffet. Which, a little ham aside, consists of cheese. Very nice cheese. Not exactly a balanced meal, though.

The band has finished, Hurrah! But a DJ has taken over. Playing horrible dance cover versions of pop hits. It's still way too fucking loud. It's like the nightclub from hell. I'm enjoying myself so much.

Chris joins us and we head to the balcony railing as the DJ ends and the awards ceremony kicks off. The Blumenau mayor does some shouting for about an hour as he drags various people on stage. He seems to think he's a rock star. I wouldn't be surprised if he did some crowd surfing.

We're standing next to Tim Webb, who is dozing while leaning up against a wall. Every now and again he wakes up and takes a sip from his glass. Even while sleeping, he doesn't spill any. Quite impressive.

Eventually, after all sorts of fucking around, the awards proper begin. They're going to take quite a while. Tim now has his glass balanced on the balcony railing. That could be rather dangerous for the people below. A Begbie moment.

I try to keep an eye out for the classes where I awarded medals. But it's difficult to stay concentrated. A woman comes over and takes Tim's glass out of his hand. Probably for the best. It doesn't wake him up, and his hand remains clenched around an imaginary glass.

The bus back to the hotel is scheduled for 23:30. But, of course, it's late, as we wait for stragglers. I'm feeling almost as tired as Tim looks.

"Anyone fancy a nightcap?" Chris asks when we get back to the hotel.

The answer is an emphatic "No" from everyone. I head straight for my bed. Pausing only for a spirit sleeping aid.

My accommodation most of my food and some beer were paid for by Concurso Brasileiro de Cervejas Blumenau. All travelling expenses I paid myself.

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