by Chad McMullan
SAO PAULO – More food. I feel like I am in an Anthony BourdainNo Reservations episode. Ginga’s Gui took us to a “hole in the wall” Japanese restaurant where we once again experienced “rodizio” although this time, raw fish replaced red meat.
You might wonder about sushi in Brasil, but Sao Paulo actually has the largest Japanese diaspora in the world – the population of Japanese people outside of Japan – so they know what they are doing, and it showed.
Unfortunately, we also came crashing back down to earth weather-wise.
After a gorgeous opening day the thermometer plummeted to about 16 degrees, but hey, it is winter here. If that happened in Canada we’d have our flip flops and sunscreen on, so no complaints. Time to focus on the task at hand – building a curling rink, the first in South America (however temporary).
We knew coming in that curling, and everything to do with it, would have to be done a bit differently than we’re used to in the northern hemisphere, but watching local rink staff squeegee water off the rink while wearing ice skates was NOT part of either of our expectations.
Yes, you read that correctly. Ice skates. We may have photo and video evidence of this, but it seems The Curling News editor wants to do “something special” with this evidence, so you will simply have to visualize those images for now.
Turns out it’s actually a pretty quick and effective method – pay attention, all you curling ice technicians.
As such, day two was all about melting some of the ice away so we could start over, and attempt to level the not-so-level surface.
Things went fairly well and we even ended up getting the rings into the ice at the end of the night. Enormous thanks go out to the good people at Jet Ice for hooking us up with some rings that could be easily transported, personally, without damaging them.
Turns out Brasilian customs doesn’t like the importing of liquids/chemicals like ice paint on short notice... so Jet Ice came to the rescue by basically making us in-ice logos, in the form of rings. Very cool.
We should also point out that due to the size of the rink these are nine-foot rings, not the usual 12. Hey, I already mentioned that things would be done differently in Brasil!
Up early and back to the rink on day three, to lay down as many floods as possible to level the surface. The hotel breakfast doesn’t exactly live up to Gui’s selections but, naturally, this was rectified a bit later with lunch later while waiting for flood number two to freeze.
As the Ginga,brasilis crew works away at getting the rest of the environment ready for the Neutrogena promotion, the venue is actually beginning to look like a curling rink... check out The Curling News Twitter feed for a great photo of how well things are coming along.
After 13 hours of flooding we finally managed to get out of the mall, and out for a long-awaited cold one and, hopefully, a quick nap before Brian and Hollie arrived from Rio.
Turns out the place we went to for a beer boasted about 500 different brands from around the world, as well as Brasil vs USA futebol on a big screen. Uh oh.
As you can probably guess, the much-needed nap did not happen and once the game was over we met up with the curling instructors to hear their stories from Rio and to go over the plans for the next few days.
Next up: the first stones were thrown – who would get the honours? – and the star of the promotion, Linn Githmark, arrives from Norway... and the anticipated media circus will be underway. Ate mais amigos.