Just arrived in China, I noticed I had yet to publish my last blog from Brazil so here ya go. I’ll post an update from China in the coming days.
Traveling to a country for competition is drastically different than traveling for tourism. For starters, most of my time is spent at the competition venue, hotel, or in the case of the SP Grand Slam, in the shuttle traveling to and from the courts.
(Not so fun fact: The shortest shuttle ride of the tournament was 15 minutes. The longest was 1:15 and was after we were eliminated; impeccable timing, traffic!)
Night one in Brazil we hit a Churrascaria – If you don’t know what I’m talking about I suggest you educate yourself and experience one asap.
For some reason unbeknownst to me, it’s easier to justify a $50 dinner on the road (especially at a churrascaria in Brazil) than spending the same amount on dinner back home. I’m not sure why and it doesn’t matter cause it was the most delicious and fulfilling meal I’ve had in a long time. The only way to explain it is “endless meat” (sorry Vega…) Each guest has a small disc that they flip over in front of them featuring a green side, and red side. Green meaning ‘bring more meat’ and red meaning ‘I can’t handle any more’. No surprise to any of us, Redmann’s disc was green while the rest of us were sitting with our belts loosened, red discs showing; Binstock suffering from meat sweats, and the girls ready for bed.
As for the venue, aside from it being quite far from the hotel (with traffic) it was laid out really well – similarly to every other Brazilian event I’ve attended; top notch. Brazil has one of the best National beach volleyball tours in the world, so they are used to organizing and promoting beach events and it really shows during their FIVB events. I can only imagine what’s in store for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio…
Another thing I was looking forward to in Brazil was the weather, of course. This was my first time being there during their spring and aside from some light rain the weather was perfect – not too hot, and not cold. It was actually funny to see how many athletes lost some color since the last event; we Canadians weren’t the only ones.
One year, most likely near the end of my career, I will plan to spend a few extra days in each country to experience the beauty and culture that each unique spot has to offer. For the past three years so much focus has gone into the qualification process that tourism has been limited to the views out the window of the tournament shuttle, or in this case from the 18th floor of our hotel – which was actually pretty neat.
Every now and again the schedule allows for a couple tourist days and by no means do those days slip away unfulfilled. This time around however, I unfortunately have little to say about Brazil aside from what I’ve already shared. The only other thing that stood out to me was the amount of graffiti everywhere, whether looking legal or illegal, there were few areas that didn’t have some sort of tag or picture on display.
And finally our result, we qualified for the main draw but didn’t fair too well while there – finished 25th. Here in China we’ll look to improve in what is most likely our final FIVB of the season.