Angola leads the African Optimist Championships after Day 2. All the results here: http://2017africans.optiworld.org/uploaded_files/Document_6299_20170702202705_en.pdf
تحياتي لهذه الأرض القديمة التي كانت الحضارة الأولى لاختراع البيرة وأول من حظره (غير معقول جدا).
Friday 3.30 am signaled 2 events.
The first was the end of Eid, which is the post Ramadan celebrations. Now I actually love the sound of a mosque at the beginning or end of the day, but around 20 started up at once and woke the entire hostel up. Some of them were in tune, but the nearest three had deep baritones that sounded like a lovesick goat interbred with a cat!
The second was the arrival of the much feared but anticipated Egyptian Enteritis. No one at breakfast was owning up much but on the way to the regatta center, when the translator got the bus to stop outside a pharmacy, everyone jumped off and ordered the same anti-gippo medicine. In fact there were locals from the street buying the same thing, so somethings going around. Claire, Wendy, me, and the Tanzanians were affected, but seemed to be OK. What really makes us nervous is that the regatta center is based amongst several restaurants and has one toilet that is jealously supervised by a cleaning lady who insists on spring cleaning the place between users. And there is usually a queue. During yesterday’s race, several coaches were seen jumping off their boats for a special little swim.
And then it was the opening ceremony. And.., the Egyptians pulled off a very special occasion. I sent the photos last night, so you should have an idea of what it was like. And I have managed to compress the video down to 37 Mb which is the maximum allowed here. The shirts were a major hit – well done Axel. We were completely swamped by entire families wanting to take selfies with us and it all got rather jolly. We held babies, posed with moms, dads and children, gave out SA flags and I daresay we were the most popular team there. There was high security with lots of police and navy boats patrolling around. Each team had a chaperone provided by the local sea scouts and it was all very well done.
And then onto today’s racing. We knew it was going to be difficult with light winds and a short choppy swell – completely the opposite conditions the team has trained so hard in. The Egyptian are all but one local from Alexandria. The Angolans have exactly these conditions at Luanda as do the Algerians. The Angolans are starting to look VERY good with 3 outstanding sailors in the mix. There is a theme of lots of full time pro coaches who are regularly sent to Europe on courses, or recognised coaches visiting them. It is something we are going to have to look at if we are to stay abreast of the rest of the Oppie world.
Richard and I spent the day aboard a very old motor yacht with a seasick Egyptian TV crew, which was hilarious, but we had to abandon the last race as they couldn’t take any more. “iinani ‘amut – iinani ‘amut – la ‘akthiru, yrja hifz li”.
Anyway – you have the results and photos from the day – more tomorrow, so I will sign off
لا يزال هناك النبيذ، ولكن لدينا عدد قليل من الخيوط! ما سلامة،
Download Results Day 1: http://2017africans.optiworld.org/uploaded_files/Document_6292_20170701202954_en.pdf
تحية من مدينة اللامع الإسكندر الأكبر، منزل كليوباترا، مكان المنارة الأولى، وحيث أننا لا تزال لا يمكن العثور على أي النبيذ!
Today was a small milestone in that we finalised all the accounts with the organisers (with a tiny surplus!), and the team manged to get on the water. The days have seemed to have fallen into a routine of Breakfast, Bus to the Watersports Centre, and at 4.30pm – back to the hostel. I managed to wrap up all the accounts with the organisers, which meant that we could get the coach boat and the kids could get on the water with their boats. The sailing conditions are are a little tricky with between 9 and 12 knots, but with a short chop that is typical of the Eastern Med. However by the afternoon session most of the team seemed to be getting the hang of things.
Teams are arriving thick and fast now and the whole atmosphere of the event seems to be taking on a life. Many kids and adults know each other from Angola last year and from previous ‘African’ and other events. Nellie, the Tanzanian manager (who is actually from the Seychelles), is now on her tenth African Champs, so I am really the new kid on the block.
The regatta is being held at the Montaza Watersports Club, which is situated in the Elmontaza Gardens, which is home to the Palace of Montazah. All of this was founded by the last Ottoman governor of Egypt in the late 1800s and was used as his summer lodge. Every day at 10am, the bus deposits us at the bridge to the club and fetches us at 4.30pm. The traffic is chaotic, and how the bus driver threads a such a large vehicle through the mayhem is beyond me. That said, as unorganised as the traffic is here, there seems to be very little agro and when the bus is busy with a 16 point turn, everyone becomes an expert and helps to guide the bus out of it’s predicament. Yesterday, a pedestrian got bumped on the head from behind by the passenger side mirror, and then proceeded to help realign it to the driver’s satisfaction.
Back to the sailing. Out team looks very slick in their white sun-tops and we are ready to go. Just the practice race and opening ceremony tomorrow and then it’s showtime!
All for now,
Greetings from Egypt after a relatively smooth transit from Cape Town. We collected the Wiederholdts and Bryan’s Gran in Jhb and boarded Egyptair for the onward flight to Cairo.
NO WINE onboard EgyptAir! Richard had a good laugh at me until he discovered no beer either. In fact, a few investigations reveal that there seems to be very little alcohol in Egypt altogether. Anyway, I digress. We were met by a very eficient official who helped us with immigration and baggage etc and then to the organised bus for the 3 hour journey to Alexandria. We checked into the Maritime Academy and met up with Chiara and Coach Claire (who had flown out a day ahead).
After lunch we were then bussed through the bustle of Alexandria in the midday heat to the Montazah Watersports Centre where met with the organisers and were issued with the boats. Did I mention that it’s hot? There were problems with 2 of the boats with rough bottoms, so Richard found a young chap with an even younger assistant to give the boats a rub down and polish. In the meantime the 20 odd Egyptian team were measuring their boats and Team RSA had a chance to mingle and to get to know some of the local kids.
Although Alexandria comes across as a huge delapidated seaside city, everyone here is impeccably polite and helpful, so things are tending to get done quite quickly. Our measurement (by a very dapper Irish gentleman) is scheduled for tomorrow morning and then the rest of the teams should start arriving. Hopefully we will be able to get on the water before then. We were bussed back to the Maritime Academy Accommodation with the Egyptian team and ad few friendships are already forming.
The event is on street posters all over town and to the team’s delight, they were asked to pose several times with some local tourists for some selfies. So a good first day. The food and accommodation is great, Team SA is happy and looking forward to tomorrow.