How did I sit next to Jess Ennis’s coach?, Murrays semi and Super Saturday

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 head off for some dinner, I’ve made contact with the ticket man Lee and he has two beach volleyball tickets for us and will meet us later, so should be a good evening.

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. 

Fab event and pleased I got up for it. A group of us then head off for breakfast at a beach cafe. What a view for breakfast, couldn’t ask or more. Well my food and drink maybe! 

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!! 

I get a text from my mum, on TV again real close up of just me, apparently my sunglasses ruin the picture a bit though. (Sorry for just watching tennis in the glaring sunlight mother 😜). 

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! 


The tricks to get on Olympic TV, Christ the Reedemer and Team GB racking up the medals!

A free morning beckons. I had asked the girls if we could all do Christ the Reedemer together today (seeing as we have come to Rio as a group?) but they went yesterday. Michelle had checked the weather forecast and it was good so off they went. Pictures looked lovely, and just as well they went yesterday as when I woke up today ready to head off it was bloody raining. Can you believe it, all the way to Rio and it’s like being in the UK! So I roll over and go back to sleep for a few hours (much needed as well). I mean it’s not like I can go to the beach and enjoy Copacabana for the day.I have Archery tickets for later but have been offered diving at a reduced cost from the lads I met at the tennis and not sure I fancy Archery in the rain.

So after my late wake up, the girls are still asleep or maybe out, who knows. I decide that I’ll give Archery a miss in the rain and go for the diving instead. Love a bit of diving and as in the papers there has been talk about the green water the divers have to dive into I feel I’d like to see it, didn’t look that green yesterday? I leave the archery tickets on the side in the apartment for the girls, leave them a message and head off. First a relaxing morning walking along the sea front taking in the sights and scenes. The rain has stopped but the grey clouds are looming, and there isn’t the busy bustling feel that you normally get down here. A few traders out but not many, enough for me to add to my bracelet collection and get a Rio green and yellow band. A few tourists about but not hoards so quite easy to get pictures at the Olympic signs. There are quite a few beach artists working along the beach, they really are quite talented and the heavy downpour can’t of helped keep their work in tact.

The Olympic Rings are down the beach volleyball end (we got a nighttime picture when out for dinner a few days ago) and are also down the TV broadcasting end as well which is where I have headed this morning. It’s such a shame that the locals don’t respect them. This one has a large chunk missing from one of the rings, in London, anything Olympic we were so proud of. 

On the seafront there’s orange Boris bikes, the trend has taken off. Lots of people are out exercising on the bike lanes. Runners, cyclists, a few skateboarders even in the rain, nice weather for it really, cooling! Other than that, nothing more to see. Russia has their ‘house’ at one end. Each country has their own ‘house’ where corporates are invited and Team GB athletes also can socialise. I haven’t managed to find the GB one but I have heard that they are quite posh and not for every day Jo Public. One of the nutty girls who are staying in the apartment as friends of Anamaria, had been invited to the Italian one, and she is one of those girls who looks stunning even when she’s just woken up. She felt it was a rather stuck up and posh event so I’m not sure I’d fit in. I haven’t said much about the girls but it’s worth explaining. They are Brazilian I believe (maybe Portuguese?), very attractive with their flowing dark hair, model figures, quite J Lo esk, dark skin and perfect smiles. One is anamaria’s friend and the other is a friend of the friend. I think they had my room before we came to stay as there’s a random pink bra in the room. Now they sleep on the floor or in the box room depending on their mood but their suitcases are in the lounge and they just get changed in there in front of us mid conversation. The friend of a friend was chatting to me, I turned to answer her question and she had her boobs out. I mean they were very nice boobs, no tan lines or anything but how very odd! Hey ho. Nice girls though. 

Anyhow I’m chilling on the beach and head for some lunch at a nice Brazilian Route 66! Free wifi, Olympics on TV and out of the drizzle. And a very relaxed and enjoyable lunch it was. First time I’ve had a proper lunch since I have been here. You just spend all your time heading from venue to venue and therefore eating whatever you can grab. Namely the local snacks sold on the trains.

The girls are awake back at the apartment, and going to archery so we may catch up later. Now trying to meet the boys with the diving ticket may prove difficult. All the #superfans I have met up with have data allowance on their phones or bought a cheap local phone. My 3 network barely works here some days and unless I want to pay £6 MB there is no bolt on package I can buy so without wifi I’m a tad screwed. We have a group what’s app which would be ideal ordinarily! Anyhow I have to resort to the old texting at 35p a go when not on wifi. As I didn’t want to be late to meet the boys I leave with plenty of time even though I’m freezing and feeling the need to head quickly to the apartment for a jumper or jeans? And as Sod’s law works I’m early and they are late so I could of popped home! But we meet and I lead them to the diving seeing as I know where it is having got lost yesterday. And true to form, we don’t bother sitting in our seats but gradually move along as close to the diving boards as possible and get front row seats right by the camera again. 

It’s not Tom Daley but the 3m synchronised men’s Jack Laugher and Chris Mears. But it’s Olympic Diving, no idea if they are medal hopes but great to support them and see the green pool, and it is green. 

The weather is rubbish (might help the Brits, although when do you ever dive outside in the wind and rain), very windy, raining quite heavily at times. We are covered by the partial roof so we are ok. 

And so it begins. We notice another British group up the stands a bit with Union Jack bunting. That’s pretty organised bringing that. A random English bloke also wanders out of his actual seat and sits with us. We are like moths to a flame for single British travellers. He has a flag so all is good. The GB boys start well and continue to do well. It’s very encapsulating watching. The boys with me keep getting messages saying we are on TV again, how funny!! We are very enthusiastic and overly wave the flags, and I have my Union Jack blow up hand I clap and cheer with, with every intention of catching the cameramans eye to be fair, so it’s good to know its worked!!

The poor Brazilians have an awful dive, one completely out of sync but we all clap them. I think they get the biggest cheer of night (unsurprisingly as they are the home team, but everyone gets behind them), and it comes down to the last dive. 

We spot Tom Daley cheering the team on with the rest of the team GB athletes. An American is sat next to me, very chatty. He doesn’t know much about diving either but enjoys watching it too. The Americans last dive is amazing, almost perfect. Puts them in Gold medal position with two to go. Then it’s GB. An awesome dive too, we are all staring at the big screen hoping for a big score and it comes!! Pipped the Americans. Now down to the Chinese and we know they are awesome. They have a good dive but one slightly over rotates, again we are all watching the screens and cheer when they come third. Whoop whoop, gold for GB, and USA silver for my American mate to cheer.

What an awesome event. We go on the move once more for the medal ceremony and head behind the flag poles, and sing the national anthem with all our heart!!

I’ve come to the realisation the three lads I met are gay, as firstly they are very effeminate and secondly they were very enthralled by the Americans taking their tops off when being interviewed. One even said ‘I videoed the fuck out of that’. Ha ha, love it. Lucky none of the girls in our #superfans group were interested. 

That was quite an event and I’m not ready to finish the day yet so have set my sights on getting swimming tickets so I can see the Olympic pool and Michael Phelps. However I am bloody freezing, it’s raining and swimming starts in four hours!

Hey ho, I persevere and my luck is in. I end up chatting to a ticket tout from Norfolk and he sells me an under face value ticket. In return, without realising it, I help him sell to others by standing around chatting as I look less dodgy than him with my GB flag wrapped around me. I get his number for future tickets then head off to buy a jumper as I’m just too bloody cold. Rio 2016 one it is, and only £30 so not bad at all. I’ve commented before that the food is awful in the parks. I am in need of something so tried the Pizza for a change, oh dear me. It looked like the size of the pizza in back to the future when it was put in the microwave to be enlarged! Tiny bloody thing! 

Off to swimming and in my coldness and with a lack of any British groups to be seen I do actually stay in my seat for once, cheekiness is missing this evening. (I’ve since found out it I had gone for a wander I could of met Rebecca Adlington, Mark Foster and the Blue Peter girl I forget the name off). GB had a few swimmers, won a bronze, Phelps won his medley Gold, it’s a great atmosphere although cold for a swimming pool as its covered but only by material all around so the draft comes in, and I headed off before the last race so I could get home on the metro. It shuts for our safety at 2am and as swimming starts at 11pm! 

It’s now 12.45. I get in at 2am having first walked the wrong way down the road coming out the metro, past some dodgy streets, homeless people and in general not feeling the safest. Realised my mistake after 5 mins! 

When I’m home there is something not quite right with Brazilians and Anamaria. She is pissed as a newt (two bottles of wine apparently) they are arguing, she tells the friend of a friend not to show her lying, ugly little face to her again???? The other one looks awful for the first time. No make up on, looks sad and jaded. There’s a random Chilean guy who come over the other day still here and Anamaria is asking him to stay. It’s all very uncomfortable. The Brazilians look like they are packing up so from the looks of it they are being kicked out at 2am. I dive into my bedroom to get away from it all. 

Thursday and I actually have no tickets at all for today. The girls have water polo and are up and out before I get up. The sun is shining so I am off to Christ the Reedemer. The Brazilians cases are gone so they must of left, Anamaria is awake and seems rather depressed so I just chat along as normal and try and make jokes? 

I need a new selfie stick seeing as mine is in a bin in The Deodoro Olympic Park! But can you find a street seller when you need one? Nope. So I head off without one. It’s about £35 to get the train up and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I think I spotted the Nutty Professor or maybe Albert Einsteins great great great grandson on the platform?

It’s a very steep journey up, and even on the mountain theirs a lad selling drinks. At the top it is utter madness. Filled with tourists all wanting that money shot. There are mats you can lay on to get the photo with you and CTR in. I ask an American who is already laying down to do my photo for me, she a very cool about it all bless her. Get an official picture taken as you get to hold the Olympic torch as well so that was an added bonus, and borrowed a ladies selfie stick for a few pics. All good! 

There is a restaurant up the top but it’s not got the views of Sugar Loaf. In my opinion Sugar Loaf is better. The view from up here is good, the lake with the rowing is below and that’s pretty cool. The view over the city, the mountains and Sugar Loaf is all great just not as lovely at at Sugar Loaf. But it’s CTR and that’s an iconic photo in itself.

So I don’t spend long up top, back down and decide to head to the park and try and get a cycling ticket. To save some cash I head back on the public bus. Good to try out all the public transport. 

Karen (volunteer with no role) is going cycling and has tennis tickets too so will meet me. Bless her though, she was so worried I wouldn’t get in she waited outside the park and didn’t use her tennis ticket so I could get in. In my subtle Union Jack cape I found a man selling a spare cycling ticket. He was off to handball which Brazil where in a semi final and just wanted to get some money for the cycling ticket, and it was a top band one. I only had 340BR as I was hoping for a cheap ticket and his was 580BS but he took what I had and ran. Result. The seat was front row on the bend and Karen just came and sat with me. 

We spotted Sharon Davies watching and headed over for a selfie and chat. She’s quite chatty, asked about the travelling and she found it so bad she just stays at the Olympic park all day now.

What an awesome event. Gold for team GB men’s team sprint, Bronze for Chris Froome and we were on TV apparently every time that medal was shown and I just had a great time. Go GB #bringonthegreat. We also hear Mat Whitlock got a bronze in gym as well, the other event I was interested in. It’s now called #welcomewednesday as team GB have started to rack up the medals.

So out of the velodrome we headed and the #superfans lads are by Clare Balding. We get asked to stand behind her for the live TV coverage, and again get on TV. The funniest thing is, the table she would normally present from is replace by a shopping trolley with her iPad and notes on, the camera and everything she needs. Quite a sight! What a mad day this is turning out to be. She is very lovely and chats to us all. The lads tell her they have kissed Catherine Granger and this gets put into a live link. Chris Hoy then joins in the interview and at the end we get some selfies, although Clare is in a rush and when the lads ask her if she could take the selfie as it would look better she tells them to piss off, in a jovial manner. #legend.

Time for the journey home, and hoping to catch up with my other mates who are staying in Rio and lending me the use of their apartment for the weekend so I don’t have to pay £150 for the unclean, drainage issue, manic, mid decorating apartment I am currently staying in. However they are in British House getting pissed so Karen and I have a meal (again first today) before heading home. 

Two days, three TV appearances, four sports, not a lot of sleep and I’m starting to get addicted to this getting on the TV game. #wheressam as its now called on Facebook. When I get in I finally see Michelle and Lindz, and just keep getting Facebook notifications (63 today) about my TV appearances. 

They managed Archery yesterday and loved it, although it was cold. And water polo this morning was good. It’s very weird hardly seeing them but we all seem to be having a great time! Love the Olympics. Think I need to stay saving for Tokyo 2020!


Olympics, Sugar Loaf and getting on TV….twice!

So the itinerary plan was to head off to see the sailing at the marina. However as I have travelled lots so far due to the ridiculous distance between venues, an hour taxi to see dots in the ocean didn’t appeal to me. The others therefore got up early and headed off. I did wake up a bit upset that I’m on my own again as I thought we’d maybe do breakfast or something before they headed for the 1pm start. But never mind. I decide to head to Sugar Loaf as the others have done it already yesterday and their pictures look great albeit a tad cloudy yesterday. The sun is shining so looks promising. Taxi seemed easiest so off I head. He doesn’t speak English so I get my google translate out and all is good.
It’s not too expensive, about £20 for the cable car up. You can trek up the first part but I think I’ll enjoy some lazy time and enjoy the view. 

The cable car is in two sections. You get out at a middle station (sounds like a ski resort) and can check out the views, eat, relax whatever you want before getting on the second cable. I have met some very colourful Americans in the line. I ask them what they are here to see and realise they are a Christian group. So I get the chat about their beliefs, a free pin badge with the Olympic rings represented by fish and I am told what each colour means. The bit I remember is black is for sins, red is Christs blood, green is the growing of life after sins! I mean very interesting and they didn’t shove it down my throat. Although when they asked am I a Christian and my response was yes but not practicing, she didn’t seem to understand. They go to all the Olympics and hand these pins and bibles out trying to spread the word.

I manage I sneak away and into a cable car without them. The views are awesome already. I stop at middle station, take some photos. The selfie stick is very handy today. Sugar loaf is the view as we have not crossed over the water yet. The view is already spectacular. The deep blue ocean spread far and wide, the golden beaches curving around the bay’s. The marina with the array of expensive boats bobbing about. The city looking much cleaner from up above, hustle and bustle of the traffic and tourists stretching around the hills and bays. And then the amazing iconic Sugar Loaf mountain in all its splendour. A mix of rock and green from the trees, connected to land only by the wires of the cable car. A picture of natural beauty. The top cable car view is equally spectacular as you see over the marina, Copacabana beach, little beaches in alcoves you wouldn’t know are there, the mountains in the distance and just a view to remember.

At the top there’s a huge poster with pens available to write your name in. So obviously I had to. Then you just peruse at your leisure. I wander down some steps into a forest area, notice signs saying don’t feed the monkeys as they are a danger to natural species. As I sit for a bit of a snack out they pop, bold as brass, trying to get in my bag. I mean they look cute but what a cheek.

I wander around a bit more and can see the Olympic sailing and windsurfing going on. An American man and his wife are sat watching so I ask for some details. Bless him, he chatted away about how the blue were men’s and green women’s windsurfing. There were two sailing categories I only remember Finn? And he has binoculars so could see the flags of who was competing and winning. GB at one point. I take some pictures, zoom into the beach where the girls are watching and just then sit and watch for a bit. 

Simply stunning views of the whole local area. Love it. 

Time to head back down, and I decided that I am going to buy some hockey tickets for this afternoon as GB women are playing and the stadium was half empty. I don’t rush though and go to the little museum section to learn about the mountain and cable car. In the 1050’s ships that sailed to Rio would come across the mountain as their first view point and it would welcome everyone to the area.

In 1808 painters portrayed Sugar Loaf in all pictures painted so it started to become an iconic view. Then throughout the 19th century it became an icon with the cable car being built in 1912. A photographer climbed the mountain to photograph the views from Sugar Loaf and once this is available for everyone and it becomes a huge tourist attraction. There is an old and new cable car on view as you reach the top. The newer cable moved quicker and therefor made the mountain more accessible to tourists.
So history lesson completed, off to hockey. Now I know it is a ridiculous journey to the Olympic Hockey centre I can plan better and leave plenty of time. It’s quicker this time as I chose a slightly different route, and it’s saves me a whole 45 mins. Express train from central Rio which is absolutely manic but fun to experience. It’s a locals train and not new like he Metro. There are locals selling food and drinks on the train, shouting in Portuguese just like a mobile market. The train goes past favelas as we start in Cental Rio, one of the toughest areas I have seen. On the long walk from the station I meet some random Brits and they are family members of one of the players (Owsley) so I chat along with them. The army has their marching band out which is an awesome sound and more Christian groups try and preach to us but we manage to move along quickly!

So into the ticket office and lovely jubly I have a ticket but I have my selfie stick with me as it was a godsend up sugar loaf mountain. But you can’t take them into Olympic venues, so I am asking a chance I get a lax security guard and can bet it in, I’ve even taken it apart so one piece is on my camera case as the other in my bag. No such luck. I’m told I can go out and put in my car or something. Now that is a long way to go to save a selfie stick. I try a different security section and have now hidden it in my shoe under socks (I have my shoes with me in case I get cold feet). Nope, he made me empty bag out. Damn it, but good security is good today! So I have to throw it away. Ouch!!

Ah well I’m in and with time to spare, so off to get a beer and add to my cup collection. The purchase of food and drink is ridiculous. You queue to buy a ticket for whatever you want, the card machines only accept visa, some don’t work. Then you have to queue again to get the food/drink and it’s not always available at every vendor. Madness! They have no Sprite so it’s just beer today. I head to the Olympic logo for some photos, sit by the big screen to watch some swimming and then get chatting to another random Brit. She’s a volunteer and never seen hockey. Very chatty, very enthusiastic and she tags along with me over to the match. 

As I have a superior ticket we can head over to the dug out side of the pitch (no one checks your tickets for sections or seats here, you can literally try and sit anywhere!) and there we find a huge GB crowd. Great. We join them by sneaking into the bottom row of them all, and see the family of the players. Sam Querk (one of the players), boyfriend turns up in full GB suit, hat and drum. Let’s go GB let’s go, let go GB let’s go, let’s go GB let’s go. Chanting as we speak! Such a good atmosphere. I recognise a lady from the Venus Williams match as she had a cap and flag. I ask her if that was her at the match and yes I’m correct. How funny, small world!

The girls play great and we win. So much fun, and I teach my fellow Brit the rules as we go along. Lovely crowd. At the end of the match an Argentinian boy comes over to me to ask if we can exchange my GB hand flag for an Argentinian t-shirt. I just can’t bring myself to hand it over so say no. Karen, the lady I’d seen at the tennis says she has some spares so she will meet me tomorrow and replace, she couldn’t cope with the boys little sad face! 

Karen, my fellow Brit friend (can’t remember her name) and I retire to the long journey home and it seems much quicker when you have company. However the volunteer we were directed by sent us a bloody long way round. I know the normal route but he said to walk to a different station, just a five minute walk. Well, it was a 20 min walk, down a badly lit, unmanned road and I didn’t feel safe at all. We also had to ask for directions as it wasn’t a signposted route! The volunteer had been very excited to speak English but completely bloody wrong! We made it at least and I’m glad there were two of us! As we get off the metro we bump into some volunteers that Karen knows. Karen came out here to volunteer but hasn’t been given a shift, even though she was cleared. So she’s just watching instead. One of the volunteers she knows I recognise as I volunteered with her at the hockey in June. Small world meeting in a random street in Rio. She is a bit shocked though, when I say I’m here on holiday not to volunteer. Bless her, we had to joke with her that people do go on holidays and don’t always work! We head for some food as I’ve had a few beers and not eaten all day and head into Bobs burgers. Well, it’s a very cheap version of McDonalds. More Wimpy like and just not worth the calories!

So day 3 done. What will tomorrow bring?? 

Well the girls were asleep when I got home at 11, and still asleep when I got up for water polo at 8am so it’s becoming rather an individual trip for me and a couples trip for them. So water polo at the Olympic park. I’m getting pretty good at the travel now, so although it takes a long bloody time you get used to it. I’m late as it was a 9am start. But I’m just going to enjoy the atmosphere and see the games and venues. I get in and head to the aquatics centre which is the other end of the park but it’s all shut! Bit concerned as although I’m late it only 10am? I eventually find out it’s not at the aquatics venue but another swimming venue at the end of the park I just bloody came from! A lovely driver of a buggy let’s me take a ride over though, result! The water polo is in the same centre as the diving as when I sit down I suddenly see the diving boards at one end. A water polo match has just finished and it was a Brazil one so lots of people about and lots smiling. I get to see two matches including America who are pretty good. GB aren’t in it this year. It’s a brutal match. One of the girls would be swimming along with the ball, stop to throw and suddenly she’s dunked under water. Hilarious. They have a sin bin area at the corners of the area, marked with red swimming ropes, and I think they get 2 mins. Substitutes are done by diving in before the player coming off has come out the pool. The GK has a different coloured hat, other than that anything goes. Well clearly not deliberate dunking but tactical dunking maybe? I’ve been told under water is just carnage and it’s best not to know what’s going on under there.

On the way out we see some synchronised swimming being practiced in an outdoor practice pool. Odd sport but they are amazing. 

So I enjoyed my first water polo spectating and decide to see if there’s any tennis tickets available as Murray is playing. It is sold out so I literally loiter (with my GB flag around me) around the ticket entrance (it’s in the Olympic park so I’m already in), then wander to the box office and low and behold I get offered a ticket for face value. About £50. Fab. In I run, and take a seat ad spot Karen down the front. So I work out where they are sat and head down. Big GB crowd, 8 in total. A couple, both teachers, (the Hardmans) on their honeymoon, what a fantastic idea, and who have half their face painted each. Three lads from Manchester, two are teachers. Karen, a school sports coordinator, her flat mate Charlotte who’s volunteering, and now me. We are literally front row, behind the players seats. Couldn’t get closer if you tried. The Hardmans are asked to kiss for the camera so the two halves of the Union Jack create one flag. And the camera is on us a lot. The group all have data available out here and suddenly their phones are buzzing with messages saying we are on TV. How funny. Great atmosphere, we are very loud and Andy wins! And to top it all off he heads over after the match to say thanks for the support, signs some autographs, has some selfies and is really humble. What a day!

Not sure we can top that. 

I have basketball tickets for tonight with the girls. I kind of want to stay at the tennis as Nadal is playing and it’s about an hour away at the same park as the hockey! But it’s good to see different venues and spend time with the girls so. So I do head off albeit a tad later than I should of. Lindz texts me to say they are late but there, where am I. I’d forgotten the long walk as well so was an hour late, but enjoyed the marching band en route. I also decided to use my mobile to call the parents. Think the bill will be huge as both mum and dad chatted for ages, 20 min call?? Eek! My aunt had seen me on TV and called my mum to see if it was me!!

So I eventually got to the basketball, grabbed a beer in a new sport cup for my collection, found the girls and watched some basketball. China v Turkey. Michelle is funny. I don’t support either, just enjoy being neutral but she was torn between China as she loved being their recently and seeing the Great Wall, and loves the people. But also Turkey as she met her youngest sons dad in Turkey and although no longer with him wouldn’t have her son if it wasn’t Turkey. So she really struggled to decide and I actually don’t know who she ends up shouting for. Great match, Turkey surprisingly good! We don’t stay for the complete second match as all knackered and hungry. The food in the Olympic venues is shit, and expensive for what it is, so you end up not eating all day. Good diet!!

We head back, Michelle’s hip is hurting so get on a different route back, a train line right by the venue and saves that bloody long walk. How annoying that they don’t tell you to go there!! 

We find a restaurant near our apartment and enjoy some proper food. I think it’s my first proper food for two days, the Bobs burger doesn’t count! Nice to spend time with th girls this evening, although I see my new tennis friends saw Heather Watson as well after I left as they snuck onto number one court. 

When I check social media, Facebook was full of posts saying I’ve been spotted on TV again, it’s hilarious!! My friends have started a #wheressam game.