Picture this, it’s 1.30am I open the apartment door and Chile man jumps up in just his undies in the lounge, with Anamaria sprawled out on a make shift bed, puts his finger to his lips to say shush and runs away to the box room. I mean what is going on?? I look in Anamaria’s room and she has a huge mountain of clothes on her bed so couldn’t sleep on it. Now Chile man has gone to the box room by one bathroom I am a bit scared to head round there so use the other shower right next to the girls room just hoping it doesn’t wake them. Well that was the least of my problems. The drains are just clogged up here. I’m pretty sure it’s because we put toilet roll down the toilets in her apartment (in case you didn’t realise, nothing can be put down the toilet out here) as she has no bins, and therefore surely must block the drains? Anyhow, as I am showering the water is not clearing away and is now ankle height. I quickly get out and notice the water is now seeping out of the newly fitted shower tiles (creating a shower rather than a wet room) an toward the door. The towel I put down to soak up said water is saturated already. It’s 2am, what on earth can I do?? I decided nothing!! And it is draining away slowly. If it’s leaking downstairs again then we will get a phone call so I just go to bed!! So it’s Friday, I have today and tomorrow left. It’s gone by so quick, probably because I just haven’t stopped. Michelle and Lindz leave early doors tomorrow and we have volleyball tickets together tonight and hopefully I can get beach volleyball as well to go with them to that to.
But first….its athletics time. Jess Ennis-Hill defending her title and I have morning tickets for the first day. I had the exact same tickets at London (although with the arse of an ex husband who complained I didn’t want an alcoholic drink at 9am and that we couldn’t see anything as Jess was the other side of the track, hence being the ex!!)
So up early as can not be late for this, Anamaria is awake as is Chile man. Anamaria has offered me the use of her phone to try and get hold of ticket tout Lee but true to form she has no credit on her phone, this woman never has cash or credit of any kind. No idea how she gets through each month in her nutty, haphazard lifestyle. But she does with her token phrase ‘hey baby’ as a greeting or answer to anyone. One of life’s mysteries this woman! So anyway, we head to a pharmacy to get credit, on route I asked her about her Brazilian/Portuguese friends and what happened (nosey me!). They drank two bottles of Vodka without asking before we arrived which annoyed her, then the friend of a friend got offended by a comment Anamaria made about how her mum had started with nothing but has done well. Now who knows how she said it but the girl thought she called her mum a lowlife so they argued and Anamaria said leave then!! Fair enough, and they were staying for free although said they’d pay something. Hey ho.
As we are walking back Anamaria’s phone starts buzzing with messages now she has credit. She gets a what’s app and goes nuts, shouting a voice recording down the phone so loud everyone on the street is looking at us, and not just once but twice! It’s a lawyer from what I understand Oh dear god, I quickly say thanks and head off before she goes more nuts!!! She’s like a mad woman.
So I’m a bit later than I had hoped but on my way. The athletics stadium is a venue on its own which seems very odd when it’s like a blue ribbon event in the Olympics. The train is absolutely rammed when I get on it. I must of seen about 20 sellers on the train, now selling electronics and hair ties as well as food. Such a different world, and has been very handy for me with the lack of time to eat properly.
The train passes through some Favela areas which are like you see on TV, brick houses built on any bit of spare land. Jutting out here and there, washing hanging from the make shift balconies of the building, no green areas to speak off just mud. Michelle and I had the discussions that although these people are poor, no doubt, if you compare to the slums of India, then they aren’t. They have bricks for a start, electricity and clean water. India have mud, metal and dirty water in gutters.
There seems a lack of volunteers on this route. I panicked a few times as the train doesn’t have signs where to get off, when you get off one train there’s no one with their ‘foam’ finger pointing you where to go so I’m relying on following the masses, but I make it and as you get off the train the huge stadium is engulfing your view straight away.
The queues aren’t too bad to get in, although it’s like a cattle market to get from the train to the entrance. I make a school girl error of stopping to get my Union Jack flag out (so patriotic) and put it on before I get of off the platform. Well what a mistake. I was then at the back of this cattle market going nowhere fast, damn it.
Into the stadium, it’s far too early for a beer so I just head off to find a suitable seat I go. I don’t even go near my seat, are you seeing a trend appearing? I look through the entrances to find where the hurdles are and just head around there. I get front row right inline with the hurdles start. There’s a large British crowd behind the start, positioned for the TV I presume but I want to be close to the action. Great seats. I meet some fellow Brits, one man who’s working out here but popped down for this event and two rather odd but nice enough blokes, one who looks like he could be from any Eastern European country with his half bleached blonde hair, light brown goatee and pale complexion, and his cheeky chappy side kick who is British through and through.
We chat happily and watch the event. Katarina Johnson-Thompson is the first of the Brits out and does well in her heat, then the roar for Jess! Amazing. She wins her heat with a good time so a great start so far. I head over to chat to the large group of Brits but they are an odd bunch, not sure I’ll enjoy it here so I make a beeline for the empty seats behind the high jump. As I get there I realise why they are empty, althletes and officials only area and guards on some entrances. Not one to let that stop me, I head along a few doors and sneak in. I say sneak, I’m in a red GB hockey t shirt and Union Jack flag cape, hardly able to sneak anywhere.
I spot the odd boys and head over to sit with them. Good view of high jump but near the second jumping area which is group B. Jess and Katarina are group A. So we get up and move over nearer that area. In front of us are Katarina JT’s family. How cool, and K JT heads over to chat to them. The odd boys have ants in their pants and Eastern Europe boy decides to try and befriend other teams and heads to Cameroon. So we follow. Then he heads to Holland. I’m now feeling a bit uncomfortable as he’s just being weird and I’m sure we’ll get thrown out. I spot some Brits in outlandish outfits and head to them down the front again. Nice bunch. A family of three men in Union Jack hats, love it!
Then some complete nutters join us. Union Jack wigs and glasses, shorts and tops. A tad over the top maybe, but who cares!! They aren’t the most sociable pair, more about the attention they can draw. However when they make a move even closer to Jess Ennis I decide to follow as the three lads aren’t that chatty either. We couldn’t be closer to the action unless we were on the track. The man in front looks familiar, then I realise it’s Jess Ennis’s coach Tony. The nutty girls chat to him a bit, then the normal British man from earlier finds me and sits behind us to chat. And so there it begins. I’m behind coach Tony to start with, then I just sit next to him as why not. So I’m apparently on TV constantly, hilarious.
The British guy behind me has data allowance so gets messages telling him he’s on TV. Whilst I’m with Tony, I get some high jump tips. He’s not happy with Jess’s run up. Its because she is running like a 50p edge rather than a curve. That stops her getting the best force to take her high. Even Tony gets messages telling him the commentators are saying how pleased everyone is about Jess’s jump except him with a pan expression. He does joke about it.
Well what a morning indeed, Jess jumps 1.89 a post baby PB, K JT gets 1.98 a High Jump record, and I was right in the mix.
Heading back to the apartment so I can move to my next lodgings. Now despite my best efforts I haven’t managed to see my other friends staying out here, but they have said I can stay for the weekend and given me the address and the password to give to the door men. It’s only two stops away on the metro but with the busy Olympic crowds and my heavy case I think a taxi is better. As I get back to the apartment Michelle and Lindz the laughing at me, I’ve even been on Brazillian TV. Ha ha, funny. My favourite Facebook message that pops up is from Arbs our Ladies 2’s coach who simply writes, Sam wilkinson is ridiculous!! I am pleased to be getting out of the bizarre apartment, I mean it did us a huge favour and kept us safe but she really is a nightmare landlady. It’s always a pain to pack up mid holiday though but I keep telling myself that it’s saving me £150 so stop bloody moaning. Anamaria reckons she’s rented the room out to 4 people anyhow. We shall see??
So I head off to my new abode and it’s lovely. The little things that count. He has an information sheet on the board, wifi code, metro information, and general hellos. It has two bedrooms, a lounge with balcony which if you look around the corner you can see Ipanema beach from, a kitchen, laundry room and two bathrooms. In comparison to Anamaria’s place it’s heaven. Both on air bnb which I haven’t used yet but will. The girls are such messy bastards though, clothes everywhere and about 40 Olympic cups which haven’t been washed so have started going mouldy. I’ve got the small sofa bed, and they’ve left me clean sheets and it’s all mine. My other option was the ex Poms who I met the first night who offered me their spare room, nearer the old apartment, but I’ll be late home tonight after beach volleyball and would rather be alone for a change. Very sweet of them.
Anyhow not much time to do anything but sort the bed out, get wifi and then head back to meet the girls. Anamaria is joining us for the evening, and when I get back and see her, it is a sight to behold. She has black with yellow striped Lycra leggings on with a black floaty blouse/top, her black sunglasses and wait for it…..silver trainers. In her own words Hey baby!
We get summonsed to a restaurant by a young waiter and it looks good enough so we head in. They have the Olympics on so we try and sit at a table so we can see it. Our waiter is adamant we sit elsewhere but we stand by our needs. It’s because he has set tables to wait on and where we choose to sit is not one of his. Poor bloke. We get chatting to an American, Anamaria particularly. No wonder she’s been married four times, oh yes and to men and women by the way. I forgot to mention that. She’ll happily tell you she’s bisexual along with many a story of living in New York for 30 years, how many apartments she has (she told these to the American man). She is such a character, you have to laugh and smile I just can’t cope with her in large chunks. She orders food as she’s starving but eats about a third of it and asks for a doggy bag. Only Anamaria would do that in that style.
Off to volleyball we head and it’s on the metro. Anamaria is clearly a taxi queen as when she tries to go through the turnstiles she puts the ticket in wrong and can’t get through. It’s hilarious. Just standing there waving her ticket. A local helps her and on we go. I forget how quickly I march around, and have to keep slowing down to be with the others. Probably the reason I gave myself tendinitis in my foot from marching in flip flops!
I lead the girls astray with my seating tricks and we don’t go to our seats but ones that are free and at the front of the section we headed to. Good view, good match, and Anamaria once more is chatting to the man next to her. We watch one match then head off for beach volleyball on Copacabana beach. We do get some strange looks as Brazil are playing next so it looks rude that we would leave but we do. Back on the metro and Anamaria has got the hang of the tickets this time. It’s a bit of a walk to the beach volleyball arena but we get there I get the tickets and in we head.
We again ignore the seat numbers and head to my seat as its the best of the bunch. We find four sets free and settle down for the evening. You’ve guessed it, Anamaria chats to the man next to her, Hey baby!
I head off for a drink and the toilet and return 20 mins later. Now something the Brazilians need to invest in, is hooks on toilet doors. It’s not a major thing but when you don’t have use of them you really do notice. I mean who knows what is on the floor in the toilets and to have to put your bag on the floor every time you pee is slightly annoying!
When I return to the seat Anamaria is wearing the mans coat! It is just a never ending hilarious story with that girl. She could be the storyline for a sitcom.
I have to say I was slightly disappointed in the beach volleyball arena. I was lead to believe (and from sugar loaf the view of it looks so) that you had the ocean view out of a quarter of it but from where we were sat no view at all. Maybe up higher over the top of the TV broadcasting studios maybe there was, in the cheap seats??
The matches were good though, good crowd of Americans in and pretty full. The girls are up early for their flight home so leave early. They are off to Costa Rica for another selfie of the world before relaxing in a 5 star hotel in Cancun, Mexico. Nice. Anamaria stays to chat to the man but then bizarrely started getting paperwork out of her handbag, as if she wants him to ask about it? He is watching the volleyball and ignores her and then it is all over. I thought here would be a third match but only two. It is now 1am mind. The man takes his jacket and heads home, alone! Anamaria then heads off after saying our goodbyes, I won’t have anymore hilarious situations to be a spectator of now. Quite relieved though. So that leaves me to loiter around, getting some photos. I see a load of people getting selfies with this tall black guy in an American kit. So I head over get a selfie and hope someone will know who he is!!
Probably in hindsight wasn’t the best idea to then walk home alone along Copacabana at 1.30am. (There were knife attacks a few days later!) but I did and this is where the extra 20 min journey to the new apartment is a slight pain as I’m ready for my bed, but it’s free!
So I’m at the apartment, I have to be up at 6am as I’m doing the Rio Park Run with Dame Kelly Holmes at 7am on Copacabana beach. Now I really could do with some sleep but it’s not every day you can run with an Olympian, on Copacabana, so I’ll just sleep later in the day. I eventually get to sleep at 3am after social media etc! What a plonker.
I have to run to make it on time but I do. Kelly is there with a crowd already. Phil Jones is there as well so an Olympian and TV pundit, two for the price of one! I use my new TV tactics and get near the front for the official photo and for the live TV feed.
And then we are off. Kelly has an injury so isn’t actually running but starts us off. The hockey girls family are here and say hello, as are one of the #superfans boys Greig and the family who were on the live TV show with Clare Balding. Small world of British fans it is. Lots of club running tops on display, as if I’d bring an actual club running top on holiday? I did bring a running vest in case I went for a run but never would of thought to bring club stuff?
Anyhow what a fun event. James Cacknell runs past us apparently, I didn’t see him. We run in the cycle/running path along the beach. The sun is shining, the waves are crashing on the beach, sugar loaf is in view for the second half of the run, people are cycling and running on this early morning, others are strolling along the beach. It’s really quite something, despite my insane tiredness. It wasn’t 5k as we just ran to the end of the beach and back, we think just over 4K but it is all fun. At the finish I spot Karen, she got lost so missed the start. Then we all vie for a selfie with Dame Kelly and mill around chatting.
After half an hour my smoothie eventually arrives, but no sign of pancakes. All but two of us have our order and when we ask they just say it’s on it’s way. They must be making the flour as its not exactly a time consuming meal. Well after and hour and no food I decide to leave it. I have to try and get centre court tickets and need to head back to the apartment to change. Can’t get hold of the ticket touts? Slightly frustrating. So I just head to the Olympic park in hope. I pass a few Argentinians with signs held up saying ‘need a tennis ticket’, this may be harder than usual to get a ticket. The Hardmans are there and also hoping for tickets but they have cycling anyway so can get in the park. I have nothing. I eventually just call Wayne and he answers hooray! I can have a centre court ticket for above face value? About £125 but what the hell, it’s my last day here and centre court Wimbledon is more than that. The ticket touts have had a tough few days. Police have kicked them out the park and taken their tickets. I appreciate they are touts but these are official tickets that haven’t been sold. Brazil haven’t dealt with that issue and most are going for less than face value. The police kicked out the touts, and threw the tickets way. I mean what a waste. Wayne said they know they are real tickets because it’s a prison offence for fake so they would have been arrested. So Lee has headed back home to England as he has had enough (he was pretty moody last night), Wayne can’t go in the parks anymore and so we meet in the supermarket. He buys me a drink and cake to make it look less suspect and says he’ll let me know about athletics tonight but should be absolutely fine. I run in, past some more Argentinians desperate for the tickets as well) as the match has started. I spot the Hardmans who wanted tickets but wouldn’t pay over face value as they are hoping for finals tickets tomorrow. I don’t even look at my seat number, straight to the front row behind Murray again. Not many Brits around, bit quiet on my own but I have my flag, team GB t shirt and inflatable (although with a hole in) GB hand and make as much noise as I can. Let’s go GB let’s go!!
Murray won the first set 6-1, bit dull really, the second set was much better. Breaks of serve, longer rallies, and an awesome winning shot by Murray to get Match point. He wins 2-0 and so is in the final. Hooray! Without the huge GB crowd of last time he doesn’t head over for autographs to my side this time, shame.
The second match was Nadal v del Potro. Oh my god, what an atmosphere. The Brazilians cheer for Nadal, they hate the Argentinans. There are loads of Argentinians in here and the noise is immense. Songs and booing from either side. Amazing as a neutral. Fantastic match, although not sure Nadal is on his game and del Potro wins. What a final that will be, may be hard to get tickets though.
So I was out to wait for the Hardmans. The BBC crew are in their usual spot so I wait beside them. I hear the TV so ask if I can watch it with them. They say yes so I sit there watching BBC with the backstage crew of BBC, very surreal. The cycling is on and we just won Gold for Laura Trott. Fab. One of the TV crew is a security guard and has just had a message from a friend that there’s been a 20 man knife attack on Copacobana. How stupid was I last night??!! Apparently though this is typical Saturday afternoon, not the best day to go to the beach particularly in the evening. There goes my evening visit to ipanema beach then. I text the Hardmans and they’ve bloody left already. Damn it. So I leave my new BBC buddies, grab some cash from the ATM and rush off to meet Wayne who says he is at the bus station. I get my athletics ticket below face value so gain some tennis money back and head off to my last event and hopefully three gold medals as it is Super Saturday!
The #superfans have a spot by the long jump so we can see Greg Rutherford. Greig has a front row seat by Greg Rutherfords coach, how rude….that’s my spot!! Ha ha. We all settle in but slowly get moved one by one as the actual ticket holders want their seats. Greig keeps his, I keep mine with the two other lads but the Hardmans are moved so just sit in the isles!
Greg waves at us as we cheer but it’s not his night as he gets bronze. We haven’t been able to to follow Jess Ennis on javelin as she’s too far away and it’s not really shown on the screen but it’s not great we don’t think. Mo Farah comes out ready to run and what a race. I am slightly worried when he is at the back but true to form just takes it a lap at a time and wins easily. We didn’t know he had fallen until we saw the replay on the big screen!
So time to move now those two have passed. We head to the coaches area but this is now heavily guarded. We do get further down but not a great view of the race, although we would see the girls with their flags at the end. We spot the lads and Karen at the finish line area so we head over. Spot Mo being interviewed, wave then run on. We all get right by the finish line, excellent. And a bonus we can see Mo’s medal ceremony as well.
Jess’s final race is here and she needs to win by 9 seconds to keep Gold. She’s miles ahead but one girl counts and it’s only 7 seconds. Her javelin left too much to do and it’s silver. Gutting. We see the lap of honour, cheer and sing the national anthem for Mo then are on the move again to find BBC. We get to meet K JT who stops for a selfie, Jess who does some but not one for me as she looks close to tears and Michael Johnson who is in no mood for photos and walks on by with a simple No.
Having loitered for so long it’s now 12am and not many spectators around in the stadium to follow out. We get a bit lost finding our way out the stadium, end up walking down a dodgy road and being stared at. The Hardmans are desperately getting their face paint off so they don’t look so obvious and we all hide our GB flags, hats and hands in our bags. We get on the train safely and that’s it.
Well what a night, what a week and what an experience. That’s my Olympics over. Fab friends I’ve made, onwards and upwards to country number 4!