Lane markers appear to exist only as vague suggestions and there is a strange assortment of jury-rigged vehicles that have no business being on the road. The bonus is that our brave and reckless Uber drivers get us to the equestrian venue in La Molina much faster than we had anticipated. In a single trip one of my drivers narrowly missed hitting 30 cars, a bus, two dogs, and several pedestrians including a blind man with a cane trying to cross the street. I wish the latter the best of luck surviving any length of time in this city.
I am extremely impressed with the competition facilities at the Army Equitation Centre. The property is large and the natural terrain and footing appear to be optimum, arenas are spacious with fabulous European footing, the equine accommodations appear to be very nice, and the press facilities are great (this is actually the first time ever that I have taken a locker, as at most events there are just not enough and I know the photogs need them far more than I do.) The staff and volunteers are exceptionally friendly and helpful – even those who don’t speak much or any English will do their best to make things happen, or find someone else who can.
The same sentiment has been echoed by everyone I have spoken to who say they are being treated royally. I even polled some customers at one of the food vendors near the stadium and got a unanimous thumbs up. Plus the food is very reasonable, unlike at many past major Games where food has been scare and expensive – 10 Peruvian soles for a hot ham and cheese on a croissant is about $4 Canadian. Local foods are also available for the more adventurous.
The Canadians seem quite confident in medaling at these Games, which seems like a very achievable goal in all three disciplines. Heading into dressage day 1, the US is down to a team of three, as one of their horses was injured in transit. Watching the warm-ups yesterday, most which were not surprisingly horses I have never seen perform before (and just eight of the 38 entries are Big Tour combinations), it is apparent there are a number who could pose a threat.
Off to Dressage – GO CANADA!