Postcards From Rio: Part 1
The Husky women's soccer team is currently in Brazil on a foreign tour. The team fund-raised all spring to pay for their trip and, after a long day of travel, they've reached their destination.
Here's the first report from head coach Lesle Gallimore:
It seems as though most people took the path of staying up all evening on June 12th for fear of missing their alarms and thereby missing the 4:00am bus to SeaTac.
Extremely proud of the group as everyone was on time, well-packed and ready to go. We even had a stowaway by the name of Pete, Washington rower, beau of captain Lindsey Kasser and recent National Champion. I thought it was bold of Kass to try and smuggle her boyfriend to Rio...alas he was only going to SeaTac to catch his flight to Philly for U23 National camp!
On to the airport and our journey: five-hour flight to JFK, six-hour layover at JFK and some quality time playing cards, eating, watching movies on the computer, practice moves with tennis ball (see Jane Mitchell, pictured) throughout the terminal and finally full blown soccer tennis over a trashcan near our gate. Good times had by all. Long (8+ hour) flight to Sao Paolo and then a quick flight on to Rio after a short layover.
Arrival: 11:25 a.m on Sunday, June 14th. Customs smooth, spirits high, everyone's ankles swollen. Of particular note is Chelsea Bumbaugh's issue with inflight swelling. We are trying to think of something more severe than "cankles" but haven't come up with it yet. We will.
We were met by our guides, Jon & Antonio. The former is out of the UK and latter is our resident Brazilian. Also helping out is Andre, who is the local Rio tour guide who primarily assists with transportation arrangements and other Rio specifics. They are all terrific and we feel safe and comfortable in their care.
No rest for the weary: drop bags at Ipanema Plaza, our hotel, hit the Rio streets for quick lunch, and back on the bus to head to one of the world's largest and most famous soccer venues: Maracana Stadium in Rio. Here we attended our first professional match, local team Fluminese versus Gremio. It was a 0-0 draw, and to say that Brazilian soccer is "indirect" would be an understatement...there what looked to be a few outstanding scoring or "shooting" opportunities that were put on the back burner to a few extra touches, back heels, or feints...the Brazilians definitely have flare. Despite the long, long travel our Huskies were unbelievable in their energy and excitement toward being at the match. The weather was perfect and the setting the same. To quote our friend Jim Thomas, "Brilliant".
Post-match we were back to the hotel to get our luggage, check into our rooms and take much needed showers before dinner. We walked to our first meal at a place around the corner called "Fazendola". We were to have all you can eat pizzas. These are thin crust pizzas -- more like tortillas, insisted our own Veronica Perez, with slightly different toppings, cheese and texture than you'd find at home.
The waiters brought the pizzas one by and one and it seemed as though it was going to take forever for everyone to even have one piece. And since nobody knew what type was coming next it was hard to pass up on one even if it didn't suit your tastes exactly. Well, at least I didn't pass up on any. Suddenly the entire process reminded me of the chocolate factory conveyor belt episode of "I Love Lucy". We were all thinking we'd starve and each pizza pan was empty and head back downstairs before even 8 of our 30 people could get a slice, and then the paced was up and their were shrimp pizzas, pepperoni and onion, spinach pizzas, broccoli, four-cheese, four-cheese with turkey, and so on and so forth, they just kept coming!
Fortunately that is where the resemblance stopped, nobody was stuffing pizza in their mouth or in their clothing to keep it from dropping to the floor. Everyone was plenty full however. I say plenty, but apparently not completely, because as is well-known about our team they have a little "sweet tooth". You should have seen the eyes light up when the waiter changed out our plates so the "dessert" pizzas could be served. Oh my word. Strawberry chocolate pizzas, plain chocolate, white chocolate with nuts, peanut butter banana and chocolate, sheer decadence, I'm telling you it was ridiculous but only a little less ridiculous than the complete giddiness our team was showing towards dessert. Almost embarrassing, but admittedly, the dessert pizzas were darn good.
Finally to bed around midnight. Oh, I forgot the complimentary Caparhina the hotel supplied for the staff. Couldn't end the day without the proper night cap. Boa noite!
This was the fullest half-day I have had in a long time. Cannot believe we get to be here a lot longer. Can't wait!
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