It is HOT here. All I can say is I'm glad we came a week and a half early. The heat is so draining, it's tough to get through even one training session at a time. So far we've been getting to the courts at 7 AM to beat the heat, which is draining on its own. By the time we get back home, all we want to do is sleep. Even blog writing seems tedious, but I'll power through it, don't you worry.
The heat is to be expected. I do, after all, play beach volleyball, the hottest sport on earth (Until someone invents volcano ball or something to that effect). It's just a little difficult to adapt when coming from when we're overjoyed about it hitting 20 degrees so that we can finally play outside. But adapt we shall. We've been training the last few days with Pedro and Ricardo, a few younger Brazilian players, and Renato "Geor" Gomes and Jorge "Gia" Terceiro who finished 4th at the last Summer Olympics in Beijing. They're actually Brazilians who play for the country of Georgia in order to give themselves a better shot at qualifying for international tournaments due to the very strong showing by all Brazilian teams. The two other Brazilian teams at the Olympics finished 2nd and 3rd. With such a strong training group helping us along, Jessi and I should be ready to do some damage come the qualifier on Wednesday.
Now lets talk about Brazil itself. Joao Pessoa anyhow. As long as there's shade, its a very neat place to be. Such an interesting culture here. Anywhere you look along the beach, you can find people playing either beach football (soccer), or beach volleyball. Almost everyone there has a beach jersey, and when practicing, there is always at least one person shagging to keep the practice running smoothly. I can only dream of that in Canada. At Ashbridges Bay in Toronto, if a ball rolls, someone needs to go get it, or it's bound to get stolen. It's funny considering Brazil's rate of crime is so much higher than in Canada. If you get thirsty, no problem, there's a coconut stand on every corner. Apparently coconut water has 3x the eloctrolytes of Gatorade, so it's the perfect sports drink and I've made very certain I have learned enough Portuguese to order as many as possible.
It's the people that are the most interesting. Everyone seems to be up with the sun at 5AM, and long past when it gets dark at 5PM. The coconut stands stay open 24hours for all I know. Jessi and I haven't really partaken in the party life, even when Pedro invites us to join him at the Casino. Or tells about his friend being set up with a prostitute. Apparently that's a normal thing for them. Such aspects are pretty shocking, though I'm sure there are parts of any culture that would make me check my ears, blink my eyes, maybe drop my jaw a little. Whatever it is that goes on here, they seem to play good volleyball, so I respect them for it. And I likely won't ever do everything Brazilians do, but some day, hopefully in the near future, I'll be as good as they are at the world's hottest sport.