Cheap thrills

Isn’t it lovely when you feel nostalgic? You know what I mean. When you just remember something from way back when… Like me this morning, when I woke up at 7.00 AM to a “bellish bellhell á la Rio”. Reminded me somehow of the sochian rooster with the magic voice, that used to give me very primitive thoughts about survival. His survival mainly. These bell-ringers kind of gives me same chills as in Sochi. And I do know the difference between a rooster and a bell-ringer. Campanology isn’t something for roosters, right?

Well, next week I will surely hope for someone to wake me up early, since the Track and field is really trying all of us, with very early mornings and late evenings. Those very, very early mornings, when you are still half asleep and you come to the security gate – if you find it. Then there is this bulldoggy, just as early awaken man with a GUN looking at you as if you just are the biggest threat on earth. You try to be as small and invisible as possible, figuring out what is wrong this morning. Did you remember to leave all the forbidden items at the hotel? Oh dear, like me the first morning. I brought some hard dry bread as a present to our Technical Venue Manager, who is from Sweden and just has to love it. Because all Swedes do. Did I remember the rules? – no. But then the security guy had evidently never heard about weird Scandinavians eating this crispy rye bread. So I managed to convince him it was unedible. Which it actually in some peoples mind is. Which means, in away I didn’t tell a lie. And this Swede was so happy, or at least he played a very happy guy.

The next day I got through with a tiny bottle of eye drops and an ever tinier bottle with camphor oil. I had to convince the guard that I’m not going to drink the eye drops. Luckily the camphor oil was much more easy to convince after opening the lid. Didn’t need any extra explanations there. Or lies.

The regulations are regulations. And you can’t take in any fresh food or beverages to the Olympic Arena. The only thing that worries me is that the security personnel doesn’t seem to always know what is edible. But they are doing their best. Even the volunteers have been acting as security personnel. We just suspect that their interest was more a nosy type of interest, since they wanted to see the bags, make-up kits, pockets etc. Anyway, they are gone now. The professionals has taken over and we feel safe (?)

Rio is truly a violent city. In a way I’m happy we don’t have much time off. I guess we could get around with less casualties this way. It’s absolutely not healthy to go alone anywhere and you should stay away from the favelas, even daytime. We’ve had a few incidents when someone from our crew got lost with the car and suddenly they found themselves in very peculiar places. Not to say dangerous areas. There is a bloody drug war in this city and there are areas where people walk on the streets with guns. And these guys are not the military or the police.

Today I witnessed the Olympic torch at the street, surrounded my millions of guards, all armed with guns or batons and looking really tough. The best view was actually from my window on the 22nd floor. (You can see the video on my finnish page).  I don’t think I would have seen the flame at all from the street level. Only thing I would have experienced is the noise, which I can hear just as well up to my room. What great noise operators these people are! And I say it from my heart! Like the car alarm that has been keeping going on now for some 10 minutes…

I don’t complain. I don’t have much time to loiter around. I get transportation every day to my venue. The only time I feel danger is when I cross the street. It’s never safe. Oh yes, there are traffic lights, but I guess half the population is color blind and the rest is just – who cares. Sitting in a car is pretty convenient, when you keep your sight to the floor while someone local is driving and just don’t get lost to a suspicious neighborhood. Keeps you from getting nervous. It works.

So please, don’t think I’m a total moaner. I love almost every minute of it. My next challenge is to understand more about the language. I just found a picture of a life preserver at my bedside table. Something you can also get from the reception at the hotel. I’m not quite sure what I’m preserving, but I guess I’ll have to start by learning the language. So be it. Challenge #three – the language.

Bedside mail