August 12, 2016...a day off volleyball

August 12, 2016 was another day off from volleyball, and we were supposed to go on a tour to cruise the Rio shoreline and go through the islands offshore. It was after 1 when we got home the night before, and when Ruth got up and called at 6:30 this morning it was obvious that we were not going to make it to the pick-up location by 7. The cruise line actually rebooked us for a later date and we slept on. I got up earlier than the others and wandered over to the mall across the street to get some more water and buy some more fresh fruit from the peddler on the street at the base of our condos. We were not in a rush to get started this morning, and the loss to France the night before was still fresh in our minds, taking a bit of vigor from our step. The fact that the US had won their game against Brazil in four sets has left us with a new dilemma. It they are able to keep their game on track and overpower France, and Mexico, then we have to beat both Mexico and Italy in order to move on out of the preliminary round.

 

The last communication we got last night was a warning from team Canada central, and also from Gord, to avoid using Uber in the morning. Apparently, the taxi drivers were more than a little upset about losing so much of the business from Olympic tourists to Uber, and they were going to target Uber pickups in some way, shape, or form. I am not sure what form taxi drivers targeting Uber passengers in Toronto would take, but in Rio, no one wants to know. We left the condo for the mall looking for a money exchange for Alicia to exchange some currency from American to Brazilian reals. After getting to the Cambio (currency exchange) she discovered that she needed her passport and had to return to the condo to get it.

 

With Brazilian cash in her jeans we left the mall in search of the metro (subway) to get us somewhere near the beach. That took us through the downtown area, and led us to explore a couple of open area markets before entering a subway station. We bought our passage for about four real (20 real is about 8 Canadian) and were given a plastic card that looked like a card that one would be given for entry into a hotel room. After both Ruth and Alicia tried to swipe the card and get entry through the turnstiles, another passenger simply dropped his in a slot and gained entry. I dropped mine into the slot and voila, gained entry. Luckily, we had entered on the right side of the subway track and were heading in the right direction, because there was no sign indicating which direction we were to head in order to get to Casa Blanca. We wandered down a long aisle until Alicia was able to find someone who pointed to the stop we needed for our trip to the beach. Our train arrived, and we got on board and grabbed hold of a railing to stand for the next half hour to get to our stop. Luckily Ruth and Alicia got to sit before the train loaded to the gills with Olympic passengers, and sat next to an Australian woman who knew which stop to get off on.

 

We got off in a very populated area that looked much like the downtown area had, and wandered around until we found a sign that looked like an umbrella to tell us which direction to head for the beach. We got to an area where the beach volleyball was being held and sat waiting in two different restaurants hoping to get served. We finally got the attention of a waitress at our last stop and ordered. By this time it was 4 PM. It was after 5 when I got my Caesar salad with a slice of chicken, Ruth got her chicken sandwich and Alicia got her Caesar salad with a slice of salmon. Mine was reasonably well cooked, but Alicia’s was just warmed on the outside and completely raw and cold on the inside. When we finally got the attention of a waiter, he scooped he plate up and left for the kitchen. Ruth and I had finished our meal and Alicia was sitting with a mournful look before we got the attention of our waitress one more time. After much gesticulation and pointing, she left for the kitchen. We were about ready to get up and leave, when she returned with a new set of cutlery and a new place mat for Alicia, suggesting that maybe she was about to get her meal back. Twenty minutes later, she got a cooked slice of salmon presented to her without the salad that she had just picked at initially.

 

We took a taxi to Canada House and headed more or less in the right direction. When we got in the general area of our location, the driver was obviously lost. Alicia tried to show him her iphone with google maps showing him where to go, but he waved her aside and stopped to ask a doorman at a hotel. He drove in circles for a bit, wanting to leave us at the Netherlands House, and finally Alicia said stop, and we walked to our location using google maps. We arrived when supper was being served, and sat to watch everyone eat a very nice chicken dinner with a number of different salads.

 

We spent the rest of the evening watching the big screen in a very crowded venue with everyone peering around other people to see Canada’s women defeat France in soccer. Half way through the match our silver medalist in women’s rowing arrived and we got to see how rowers celebrate a victory. We left the venue shortly after 9 and called an Uber for out ride home. We arrived uneventfully with no shots being heard in transit.