It hasn't happened to me so soon during my past 7 Olympics. I usually call it ‘Train Wreck’ day. The day when it all comes undone and it arrives at the station unannounced around Day 10 11 or 12.
This time the train ran off the rails on Day 0, the day of the Opening Ceremony.
I woke up reasonably well after having a decent night sleep. My room is OK, comfortable and clean, and the Media Village is set amongst beautiful mountains and Brazilian rainforest.
But today didn’t feel quite right. My gut and my mind began the day on spin cycle.
So far, I have put up with the exposed cabling and wiring in my apartment. The fridge that almost topples when you open it. The toilet seat that isn't actually attached to the toilet (zen meditation potty training skills required). The shanks of wood under my bed that stops it from collapsing. The kitchenette window that consists of only a sheet of fly-screen and gaffa-taped to the window frame. And I really don’t mind the unknown local rooster that crows at all times of the night.
I kinda expected this. No-one is perfect even at the not so affordable price of $US300 per night.
I do my early morning social media read of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The nicest guy on the planet and one of the best Aussie sports snappers has $40000 of camera gear stolen from his feet in a 10sec organised gang distraction technique in an Ipanema cafe. He didn't deserve that.
Cameras stolen from Newspaper offices by thieves ‘accredited’ into the Main Press Centre.
TV screens in the MPC warning us to watch out for thieves. Replays of video security footage from an accredited Media Hotel where the hotel receptionist, the foyer security guard, a distraction accomplice, the thief, and a waiting cab driver play a well rehearsed ballet of deception and theft.
More footage of Security Guards openly walking up and stealing unattended camera bags from the Field of Play at Football Games played so far.
This time it wasn't media hype prior to the Games. It was for real. This is becoming a B grade horror movie unravelling a plot I didn’t want to watch.
Dear Brazil, you are about to flush your sexy reputation down a toilet that has no seat on it. You are about to blow it in front of the whole world. A real shame. I have many wonderful wonderful Brazilian friends, and they don’t deserve it either. The world is watching you. Don't you get it ?
I feel sick to the stomach, my brain hurts, and I haven’t been to Breakfast yet.
I get to Breakfast, and part of my $US300 a night is a poor mans lazy arse B-grade breakfast. An Italian journalist who has been here a week today losses it with the staff.
Boil in the bag Scrambled eggs. But the staff wont even scramble them. So it’s plastic Egg cake.
Bread (no toaster). Jam. Butter. Ham and Cheese. Watered down Orange juice thats tastes like Citronella (if it keeps the Mosquitos away then I’m all for it).
Fruit salad that consists of only sliced banana and a solitary sad green grape.
He’s been eating it for a week. That’s the buffet offering every day. We have 18 days to go. I try to weigh up if even I can take another 2.5 weeks of the same exact food. Nope, ain’t going to happen.
Then I get to breaking point. Waiting in the security queue into the MPC, (25 minutes not bad), and journalist Antoine from Italy is listening to music on his ipod in front of me. Seriously dude, please enjoy your music, but competition grade Air Guitar for 20 minutes !!! WTF !!!! This is not Eurovision, this is the Olympic Games.
I was so close to slapping him on the back of the head, but I refrained. 16 days of competition are left, I cant peak on the violence too early.
The rest of my day was a muddle and blur. I was worried about my wallet. My passport. My camera equipment back at the Hotel. My Mac laptop. My credit cards. I couldn't trust anyone that was in the Media Centre. In fact I wasn't to trust anyone at all.
The train ran off the rails and slammed hard into all of my logic.
I began despising everything Olympic. Five rings was five too many.
I despised the whole media circus.
I despised all the other photographers and their egos except the Kiwis and Aussies snappers.
I despised the fact that a sporting event needs an infinite zoo of armed forces handling insanely sized rifles the size of my ego.
I despised the tan coloured media photo jacket that I now have to wear for the next 16 days of competition. (let me take time and send love kisses to Maria who asked me what my favourite number was, answer = 9, and she found me a bib number that had a 9 in it, #photobib2129).
I despised the fact that the TV telecast back home will make this look like the perfectly orchestrated colourful peace-loving environmental stage show, but no, things are not quite right.
So with the worst mood shoved in all of the pockets of my horrid media vest, I return back to my Media Village room, only to find a truck travelling through the Village pumping out a heavy fog of insecticide onto all the buildings and through our kitchenette flyscreen windows. My day hits an all-time low. Mosquitos were not my problem anymore. They wouldn't dare bite me because we’ve all been sniffing in all this poison.
I always expect that this day comes around every 4 years. The fact that it came so soon, has me worried. Tomorrow is the 4x100 relay day and Mack’s 400m swim. I need to be happy, so very grateful I am here, and ready to do a sexy samba with my Nikon.
I came home early to sleep it off and wake up in a better mood.
When I arrived to the village, all the staff were in the carpark and watching a mini big screen. They were playing drums, singing in unison, and dirty dancing while still dressed in their cleaning and kitchen staff uniforms. Brazil is about to party.
Maybe, just maybe, they are about to prove me wrong.