I was pretty tired last night so didn’t write as much as I would have liked but wanted to make sure to get some pics up. Thanks to everyone who have left comments. I’m so glad to hear that people are enjoying the blog and the pics. And a huge thank you to those who have let me know that I don’t look as scary as what I fear I do in the pics! 🙂 I’ll jog down some random thoughts here of things that have happend/I’ve noticed/experienced etc. lately.
Well….that greatly varies depending on the day. Mike (aka Mr. Infinity) keeps everyone extremely organized with his handy-dandy charts that he updates on a regular basis. I have a wonderful laminated version that I keep in my bag at all times. The chart outlines what is happening each day that we are here: team leader meetings, chef d’equipe meetings, arrivals of horses/athletes/grooms/support staff, security briefings, receptions and of course the competitions for everyone. My day typically starts at around 6:30am. Those who know me are probably chuckling right now because they now I am NOT a morning person! Back home I regularly go to bed around 2 or 3 am and get up at 9 or 10. Since I’ve been in HK I try to get to bed by 11pm and am up by 6:30 or 7am! After getting dressed and checking emails, I go down to the restaurant where a buffet breakfast is included with the room. I made the mistake of missing breakfast one morning……baaaaaad mistake. It ended up that day that I couldn’t eat until dinner time, and I was starving! Breakfast is a pretty good mix of items: cereals, fruits, omelettes, bacon, beans, toast, hashbrowns. Plus some Chinese choices which I haven’t been brave enough to try. I tried the sausages once, but quickly found that they are really just mini hotdogs. Don’t think I’ll be having those again. On my lucky days, they serve french toast and pancakes. Needless to say, my breakfasts are pretty heavy on the carbs! Most mornings I’ll see our dressage chef d’equipe Ali in the restaurant, which gives us a chance to chat about how things are going and compare notes. If I’m lucky I might see Deb (Eventing’s Stable manager) and Graeme (Eventing’s chef)…but the eventers have pretty early schedules so they are both typically already at the venue by that time. I definitely have to give some blogspace here to talk about the toaster. The restaurant has a 6-slice toaster. There are tongs to select the bread you like and put into the toaster. Then you crank the little knob to get the toaster going, and there’s a lever which you can push to lift the toast up so you can check and/or grab when done……at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve arrived to get some toast going and I see people jamming the tongs into the toaster to grab their toast back out. Did I mention that the tongs are metal? And that the toaster is plugged into the wall? I’m just waiting for the day that someone gets zapped. Another scenario that typically takes place is people waiting and waiting and waiting for their toast to brown. This one is actually pretty funny because these are the people who don’t realize you have to turn the knob to get the toaster running – I guess they think the toaster is constantly running. That’s when I reach over and turn the knob so that presto…..toast is now toasting. 😉
Once my good samaritan deeds are over with and I scoff down my carbs, I catch the shuttle bus to the venue. The shuttles leave every 20 mins and it’s only a 5 min ride to the venue. At the venue, I get dropped off outside the security check (since I’m coming from the unsecure media hotel) and need to be scanned and bags xrayed. Sadly for me, the scanning of my accred. never gives a green light…I always get amber. I finally asked why and was told that it’s because my picture isn’t in their system, which is strange because they were able to print my accred with my picture on it. Oh well. Today was also the first day that my bag was searched after being xrayed. That is odd too since my bag contains the same things day after day after day. I guess the people I had today were a little bored so decided to be extra precautious with the Canadian in line. Not that I’m complaining because it’s great that the security is there. The extra check didn’t take too long and off I went to the stables.
Was meant to do a photo shoot for the eventers today, but that’s been rescheduled for the afternoon. While chit-chattin’ with everyone I get a text from Mike who was on his way to pickup the RCMP seargent who was flying in from Beijing to do a security tour of the venues and sites and will be giving us a security brieifing tomorrow. Mike just got word that 3 of the 4 grooms who were to arrive tonight are delayed because of bad weather. They won’t be arriving until tomorrow night. Uh-oh….the jumper horses are arriving at noon tomorrow. I get my instructions to make sure that the jumper stalls are bedded and ready, and I give the Eventing and Dressage teams a heads up so that there will be some extra hands on deck if needed when the horses arrive. Situation under control.
I decide to head back to the hotel to catch up on computer work that I missed last night. I pass by the horse scale on the way out and can’t help smiling when I see some support staff from other countries trying out the scale themselves. Although they weren’t speaking English, I’m pretty sure they were arguing that the scale must be a bit off because they couldn’t possibly weigh as much as it was saying. 🙂 I think I’ll steer clear of the scale…..or maybe weigh myself at night when no one is around.
Did I mention that I saw my hero last night? Being a dressage person, you might think I’ll be saying Isabell Werth or Anky or Jan Brink (I did see Briar in the flesh for the first time, and he is stunning). Nope….none of the above. It was Mark Todd! He came walking towards me and it might as well have been Sting heading my direction. Wow! and he wasn’t even on a horse! I’m pretty excited to be able to see him ride while I’m here. There were of course some very beautiful dressage horses going through their paces last night with everyone looking fit and ready. I found out that the reason the lights are so bright is because the Chinese broadcasting network is televising everything in high definition.
My pin trading has been pretty non-existent. Gotta get more assertive and start collecting! In Rio, I came away with a pretty heavy load of pins so I’ve got to get cracking. Although I did trade a pin for a piece of cheesecake last night. I thought that was a very good deal. I ate at the groom’s cafeteria and got talking with the manager on duty. Turns out he lived in Halifax for 10 years and went to Dalhousie. Small world or what?!
If anyone has any good luck letters/wishes they want to send to the Canadian team riders let me know. I’m sure they would all be very excited to know that there’s a whole team at home supporting their efforts here in Hong Kong. Maybe I can even start a Canadian Good Luck Wall at the barn and post all of the messages.