Tuesday, 8 November 2022

The judges meet

Just as well I set up WhatsApp before leaving home. So, I can tell Dolores that I'm not dead. I also get my email working on my phone. Look at how modern I am. Almost like a normal person.

Scrambled egg and bacon for breakfast. Though I'm not feeling that hungry. It's a pretty good spread here. Which is one of the reasons I booked this hotel. I stayed here last year and was impressed by the breakfast. Loads of cake. Not that I eat it. I’m not quite sure why that impresses me, then. Maybe vicariously for Dolores.

I wander to the bank and try to withdraw some money. No luck with any of my cards. That's a bit annoying. No idea what the problem is. Looks like I’ll be paying for everything by credit card.

I find a live Premier League game: Leeds vs Fulham. There’s always football on somewhere here in Brazil. It passes the time until checkout.

Just a short cab ride to the judges’ hotel. I say short, it takes 45 minutes. The island is bigger than you think, around 70 km North to South. Though not much more than 10 km at its widest. Much consists of densely-wooded hills. Along with the beaches, it’s all rather lovely.

Checked in and with a while before things kick off, I do some computer fiddling. When I disable some VPN thingy, the login screen pops up immediately. Yes. I’m back on the web. And I even managed to sort it out myself. Albeit on a keep trying random shit until something works basis. Standard IT practice, that.

The event is being held at another hotel. The one where we stayed last year. It’s directly on the beach, unlike ours, which is 200 metres back.

Along the beach is the only sensible route. So that’s the route I take. One road would lead pretty much directly there. Except it comes to a dead end. Then continues again after 50 metres. Great town planning there.

It’s not a particularly long walk. Past the pirate ship pier and the two bars. It’s a beautiful beach with near-white sand. Very fine sand that does a really good job of invading your shoes. The first part is pretty busy, it being a Sunday. Though it thins out further on.

Things are supposed to kick off at 4 pm. There’s no fucker there when I turn up at ten past. When I finally find someone from the organisation, he says it's been delayed until 7pm. I really should have looked at the WhatsApp group earlier.

With black clouds all around, I fear I’m going to get drenched on the walk back to my hotel. Somehow the clouds magically split and wrap around instead of over me. Only a few drops come my way.

I bump into Dick Cantwell outside the hotel. He tells me that the event has been delayed until 6 pm.

“Someone just told me it’s seven.”

“The WhatsApp group says six.” Dick says.

My money is on nothing happening until 19:30. At the very earliest.

I get back to the other hotel at 18:30. Obviously, fuck all is happening. We are in Brazil, after all. I spot Gordon and we idle up to the bar

We get stuck into cocktails. I go for the safe Caipirinha option. While Gordon's G&T comes out orange. With star fruit in it. Bit of miscommunication at the bar, I think.

We move out to a gazebo in the garden. The food will be served here. I'd expected to recognise more of the judges. It's only a couple: Dick Cantwell, Gordon Strong. And, of course, organiser Amanda.

Here's a confession. I've been in Brazil three days and haven't drunk a single beer. I haven't been anywhere with tempting options. A caipirinha suits every occasion. And is universally available.

Did I mention that I love Brazil? I probably did. If I didn’t: I love Brazil. The beer is sometimes a bit dodgy, offset with some really good stuff. Like Catharina Sour. A good one of those is a belter summer drink.

Not a meal as such tonight. Bits of food are brought around. OK for me. My tummy is a bit gippy. I do have a very nice oyster. And some fried cod bits. A few bits are all I need.

When I‘m on the road, people must wonder how I can be such a fat bastard when I eat so little. Only when I travel does my appetite sink to that of an anorexic teenage budgie. At home I stuff myself stupid. Hence my waistline.

Rain, rain doesn't really come. Until I'm fetching cocktails from the bar, when it's stair rods. Just as well it's only a few dozen metres. I still get pretty wet. Worth it, mind, for the caipirinha.

I get Gordon a G & T that’s the right colour. And has lemon in it, not star fruit. The wonders of pointing at a menu. An essential skill for any traveller. One of the first I learnt.

One of the Brazilians asks if we want to dance samba. Neither of us is keen. My dancing shoes have been long retired, ever since that incident. I won't repeat the full horror. My arse will never be the same again. That's all I'll say.

I walk back across the beach with Gordon. Now all the people have fucked off, birds have taken control, hunched over the sand. It looks very exotic. I wonder what the hell type of birds they are? If only Will (my birdwatcher mate) were here. He’d know for sure.

I go straight to bed. While Gordon hangs out some more. Be interested if he makes it for the judging at 8 am. Or at all, for that matter.

Jura is still my bestest night-time chum.


Brasil Beer Cup paid for my accommodation during the judging, as well as some food and drink.

No comments: