Só Alegria: About Morning Rolls, Gunshots, and Flooded Toilets

Now, after having lived in our apartments in Rio for some days, everybody know how to deal with a boiler (who knows where we might need that knowledge again). The warm water works. Many have even almost boiled themselves under the shower. However, there is a new insight: it’s not possible for two people to shower at the same time in one apartment. That was my experience this morning when I asked myself why there were only drops coming out the shower head. Since my room mates apparently already were washing out their hair I was able to shower soon.

There is one thing you really should have here in the Deodoro Media Village: a naturally deep sleep. If you don’t possess this quality you will be woken up by various things. One colleague couldn’t sleep almost the whole night since his room mate had the air conditioning turned on, which made his bed vibrate. While my room is oriented towards the bar under it (ok, it’s only some chairs and a drink sale) I have the pleasure to be able to follow the discussions of the people in the bar. First I thought I had to close my window – but it was already closed. Others have their rooms towards the street where the buses are parking. And the bus drivers love running motors. We, the first block of houses also have the pleasure to experience the morning roll of the soldiers. It begins at 5.30 am. Then they all meet and shout “Braaaazil”. It’s a good thing to be an early bird here….

The soldiers also provide a steady background noise for the press centre. For two days we have been hearing machine gun fire. Our hope is that they are only practising. However, when I heard about five more gunshots yesterday at about nine I asked myself: what kind of practise could that be? But we still stay relaxed.


Reichlich Obst im Supermarkt

Many, many fruits

Yesterday evening when we took taxis to get to a supermarket it was less relaxed. Google Maps showed the drive to be about 2,9km long, but the driver drove and drove. The taxi drivers do not speak English and the supermarket was not in a very trustworthy neighbourhood. But when locals showed us (with their hand and feet) which Mangos were the best and which ones we should not take the fear was gone quickly. We bought enough fruit, sugar and brain food to stay in a good mood for the next two weeks; all things we cannot get in the sparsely equipped supermarket in the village.

However – as yet we did not understand the underlying scheme- some already had to leave their groceries at the checkpoint before the arena. While I was allowed to pass with my bananas my Austrian colleague had to hand over her papaya. In case she understood the person at the checkpoint correctly we’re only allowed to bring things in their original packaging to the Olympic area.

Unser Frühstück

Our breakfast

For sure eating is a big issue here. Breakfast is rather sparse but at least it’s included in our $250 a night. We have to pay for dinner at the Village (converted about 15 Euro) and it does not look very appetizing. But at least it tastes good, as yet without any exception. And: there are no alternatives, no restaurants, nothing.


Und das Abendessen für 15 Euro


Something else we’re not really content with are the toilets in the press centre (yes, here the toilet issue again which we already had in Normandy). There is a small mobile toilet near the centre, but the inside is as cramped as it looks from the outside. Until now I haven’t found a trick how to get out of there again (I try to only go once a day). Either the toilet or the door is in the way. Actually the door does not have a lock. There is a bolt on the door but nothing to hold the bolt on the other side. And the door always comes into the stall and so you have to always keep the door shut with your hands wile using the toilet. And then on the second day all of the toilets were flooded. Every time someone flushed the water came out from the underside. Something else is really weird: you have to grab your toilet paper on the corridor before the stalls and take it with you. This seems to be a never-ending story.


Überflutete Toiletten

Flooded toilets

Apart from that we’re now sweating a lot. Currently temperatures are about 30°C, but it feels way more. The sun is burning, sun burns are to be expected. In the buses the air condition is set to temperatures so low that you would need a winter jacket and gloves while in a traffic jam.

Now I’m going out in the sun. The eventing competitions are about to start!