August 13...Canada vs Mexico

Another game day…this one where we have big hopes for a three-set win over Mexico! Things in our pool have become more and more confusing with every team but Italy getting into the losing mode. At this level of play with this caliber of teams and players, it is obvious that one has to bring your A game to a match, and even then, are not guaranteed a victory. The A pool has now been nick named, the “Pool of Death”.

 

Ruth and Alicia decided to have one more shot at seeing the famous statue, “Christ the Redeemer”, one more time, and getting some shots of the view at the top of the mountain. Last time we went, all we got was a blanket of fog that permitted no visibility and an opportunity to have the veil part on one occasion for long enough to get a picture of the statue's face. I decided to stay at the condo and pick away at the new book that has been plaguing my conscience. I started out with a breakfast of mango, bananas, papaya and lime juice, and spent a few hours pecking at the keyboard to finish my blog and get a few more words done on the new book.

 

After a bit, I wandered over to the mall for lunch, and got in a line for some Chinese food. As usual, I wandered through selections that were similar to anything we would have “on tap” in Canada, and plunked my plate on a weight scale. Lunch cost 38.50 real which would be about what it would cost in Canada (20 real would be about $8 Canadian). Bargain hunters beware…most things that I have wanted to purchase, are close to or higher here, than prices in Canada. After that, I returned to the condo for another session at the computer. In the mean time, I got a text from Alicia saying that their viewing of Christ the Redeemer was foiled once again. The tickets to the train were totally sold out for the entire day. They wandered around the surrounding area for a bit until finding a market to spend some time in.

 

After their return to the condo, we left for Canada House, and spent the rest of the afternoon there waiting for our game against Mexico to start at 8:30. Warnings circulated at Canada House to avoid going to the areas around the beach volleyball area because there was a crew of fifty or more pick pocketers from the barios working the area. Several Canadians had already been victims. Lies Verhoeff arrived to join her family today, and on her arrival at their accommodation, discovered her wallet missing. After being certain that she must have had the wallet stolen, she got a facebook message from an aunt telling her that she had received a message from a woman in Rio, that her husband, a driver, had found a wallet in his taxi when he went off shift. Not all people in Rio are out to rip people off! Several other stories have circulated about lost credit cards being returned as well.

 

We left for the game at just after 7 and waited longer than usual for our Uber ride to show. When we got enroute we discovered why…the traffic was in near gridlock. and the journey to the venue took almost twice as long as normal. We got there in time though, and when we entered the venue, the introductions had just gotten started. Most of the Canadian team supporters were in the same location again and we got down to waving our Canadian flags. We were somewhat out-numbered by Mexican supporters, but by the time the game got into high gear, many more Brazilian fans had arrived ,and most of them were cheering our guys on. They played well tonight, and defeated the Mexican team in three straight sets (25-20, 25-13, 25-22). That left four Pool A teams tied at 2 wins and 6 points each at the end of the fourth round (Mexico has not won a game and Italy has not lost one).

Graham Vigrass (Calgary) emerged top scorer of the match with 15 points, and Gordo and Gavin Schmitt added another 11 each. Gord had a super game in the back court making some fantastic saves. At the end of the game, he was selected as the Canadian player to sign a ball and throw it into the crowd. He threw it 2/3 of the way into the stands, right at us. There was a big scuffle to grab the ball, and one of team Canada fans grabbed it and gave it to Ruth. Ruth spent the rest of the night clutching it to her breast.

 

We actually got an opportunity to speak to Gord after the game and get the sweaty parent hug. He was elated with the game and the win, and before we left said, “I love this…I just don’t want it to end”.