Friday, July 30, 2010

See You In Veracruz in 4 Years

I'm outa here.

Special thanks for Joe and Dustin from Spruce Meadows for helping me out here.

The next Central American & Carribean Games is in Veracruz, Mexico, in 2014.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Schedule Change!!

Since San Juan's daily mid-afternoon deluges (along with their accompanying lightning and thunder show) have wreaked havoc on the jumping classes, the Ground Jury has rescheduled Friday's Individual Championship from late afternoon to the morning. First round is @9:30, 2nd @ 11. The field is down to 24 competitors.

Therefore, if my plans for shipping the equipment out do not hit any major snafus, I should be able to fly out of here Saturday instead of Sunday.

Normally, shipping stuff out (some via Air Freight, some via Fed Ex) is only a matter of finding the air freight terminal, driving over there at a reasonable hour, and plunking the stuff down. However, in San Juan, things are a little different. Many businesses are closed Fri-Sat-Sun. Even more common is being closed Sat-Sun-Mon.

This country doesn't seem to take work too seriously.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sometimes It's Not Oppressively Hot : When It's Pouring

There are occasional moments in Puerto Rico, in July, when the weather is not deathly hot and suffocating. Unfortunately, those moments are when it's raining buckets.

The site got a direct lightning hit yesterday.

There's about 4"-6" of water on the jumping surface at this point.

The Ground Jury watches in amazement. It was less like a rain storm, and more like a spigot in the sky. Thunder, lightning, raining too hard to see or hear much.

Joe is Brazilian, so he's apparently impervious to heat. I have heard not one complaint about the weather from him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

There's Hot. And Then There's FUCKING Hot.

To call Puerto Rico in July Africa-hot is a fair claim.

The good news is that scoring & timing is in an air-conditioned tent. The bad news is that the judges claim they can't see properly through the clear plastic side of the tent, so they draw the tent side back during classes - thus letting all the A/C flow out.


The clear plastic looks pretty clear to me. But hey, I'm not a judge.
The finish of the 3-Day Eventing Showjumping phase.

I couldn't find a Daktronics board or a video wall to rent locally, so I'm using 3 D-Lines boards.
3-Day Eventing participants walk the course.
Ooops. Forgot to put the ladder away.
Despite the fact that equestrian is the most expensive sport in the Central American Games to produce, not having it for a Pan Am or Central American Games is out of the question due to the importance of equestrian sports to the participating countries' military forces. Many Central and South American countries still train their officers on horseback.

There were 4 or 5 military officers in the 3-Day Eventing, including a General. A Sergeant finished 2nd.
A better view of the D-Lines (and the ladder).
Joe and Dustin, from Spruce Meadows., are my crew here. Notice the slight fuzziness of this photo. I had just walked out of one of the air-conditioned tents into the inferno, and the humidity in the air instantly fogged my camera lens.
This is Guillermo. He's San Juan's District Attorney. I'm told he's a major bad-ass in his professional life, and is known throughout the country. He's sort of the Elliot Spitzer of Puerto Rico, minus Spitzer's hooker scandal. He has taken a week off to help manage the equestrian venue. He has been very helpful to the scoring & timing crew.

Great guy. Until you break a law, evidently.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Anybody Got A Set of Touchpads?

Today started off dry........almost sunny. Then.........all hell broke loose.

Can somebody please ship me a set of swimming touchpads? Easier to hold a swim meet here than an equestrian event.
This is a jump for Sunday's Eventing X-C. At the moment, it looks a bit like a dock.

Must have rained 3" in half an hour. It wasn't even rain, it was more like a waterfall from the sky.

A photo from The Fred out at the velodrome in Aguadilla. Things apparently aren't much better over there. Looks like they had quite a bit more wind than we did.

Aguadilla is about two hours from the equestrian venue. Equestrian and velo are the only sports not being held in Mayaguez.

The little red dot is approximately the location of Julio Enrique Monagas Park, the equestrian venue.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rain Rain Rain Horses Horses Horses

The rain continues to fall here at the Central American and Carribean Games in Puerto Rico.

The main arena is pretty much under water. Today the cross-country course walk-through for the Eventing competitors was canceled, because much of the course is inaccessible due to flooding. If you can't ride an X-C course ON A HORSE, then it's really, REALLY flooded.

Tomorrow the dressage starts. Fortunately, the ROC didn't have enough money left to hire us to collect the dressage scores electronically, so keeping 5 laptops running out in a flooded arena isn't my problem.

I also was unable to locate a video wall to rent locally, so I'm using 3 ALGE D-Line displays. That also proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the archway built by the ROC is keeping the D-Lines way up above the muck, and a portable video wall would no doubt be slowly sinking into the sand, well past the axles on the trailer.

Although you can't see it from this angle, the whole structure is no longer quite level. One side is sinking into the muck a little faster than the other. Not too obvious, yet. All the trailers also are no longer level, as they are sinking at uneven rates, too.

Like the banners? My idea. I had them made by Speedy Graphics in Kahului. I thought they would be a nice touch. Lots of nice comments from the ROC about the banners.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More On the Worst Airports

My words from a few posts ago regarding LHR proved prescient.

I actually disagree with a few of these.

I really don't mind LAX, as long as you don't have to switch airlines. Switching airlines usually means you have to go out to the curb, take a bus, and come back through security (ugh.), performing yet another useless TS Fucking A barefoot kabuki dance. I connect through LAX on AA at least twice a month. The AA terminal is pretty small, all AA gates are covered by maybe 300 meters. It has a nice Admirals Club, which is never more than a 2 minute walk from any gate.

LAX gets a bad rap.

I really don't mind Frankfurt, either.

Charles DeGaulle...well, for starters, it's in France. Home to the biggest bunch of assholes in one country on the entire planet. Duh.

Monday, July 19, 2010

More on Smoothie King

According to Smoothie King's web site, there is also a SK in DFW's "C" Concourse, across from C14. I'll be at DFW in a few hours, but my flight arrives at 5AM and my connex leaves at 5:45AM, so I'll have to go smoothie-less.

They don't open until 9.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Smoothie King, "D" Concourse, DFW

I fly an average of about 120,000 to 150,000 miles a year. That's roughly equivalent to flying round trip LAX-London at least a dozen times. I shake my head ruefully whenever anyone politely inquires “did you have a nice flight?”. To me, there are two types of flights: flights that suck and flights that crash. And THAT's in first class.

When you travel as much as I do, the airports, restaurants, and hotels blend together into a gray miasma of mind-numbing mediocrity.

There are, however, a few places and things that make road trips a little more pleasant. As well, there are a long list of places that just plain suck. Heathrow is the first place that comes to mind when I think about places that suck. It is THE WORST airport I regularly fly through, although I've certainly experienced others way worse (Cairo and Moscow Shermetyevo come to mind. YECCCCH). Unfortunately, within the AA/BA system, Heathrow is difficult to avoid. One of the few ways to avoid Heathrow is to fly through Madrid on Iberia, which sucks equally, but differently, as compared to connecting to British Air via Heathrow.

Staying with friends, rather than in a hotel, is a nice treat. You get to catch up with friends, have an occasional home-cooked meal, and have a little fun. Staying with the The Coopers in Calgary, The Fletchers in Sydney, and The Clarks in NY is something to look forward to.

Munich (MUC) is a rare bright spot, as far as airports go. A nice selection of airport hotels, a huuuuuge shopping mall immediately adjacent, a major Deutsche Bahn train station within the complex, and several restaurants which would be worth going to even if you didn't have a flight to catch.

I fly through DFW about four times a month. I've always liked DFW. There are 3 different Admirals Clubs. They have a great train system, Skylink. The Admirals Club in “D” Concourse is big enough for the Yankees to hold batting practice therein. And not one but two Hyatts, right in the airport.

This year I've also discovered a place called Smoothie King, one gate down from the “D” Admirals Club (across from Gate D22), which makes absolutely fantastic smoothies. Today I arrived at “D” and had to make a beeline for “C”, but before I boarded a Skylink to C, I stopped at Smoothie King and grabbed an XL Peanut Chocolate smoothie, which made my day.

Meadows On The Green

The old monochrome amber video wall from the Clock Tower has been moved to MOG, now that the Clock Tower has a really nice full-color wall. Actually, I shouldn't refer to this amber display as a "video wall", because it only displays about 4 shades of monochrome. It's really just a matrix scoreboard with 1980's technology.

This is what it looked like up on the Clock Tower, last year.

The Clock Tower now sports a full-color VW known as CHINA3, which has really enhanced the presentation in the International Arena. There are 3 other video walls in the International Arena, which is fairly humongous and has about 6 or 7 sides.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Bruce

Jessica's here, and is jumping pretty well, but The Boss is not.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Back at Spruce Meadows.....

Back at Spruce Meadows for The North American. Stay tuned, interesting things are bound to happen.