It’s getting like Groundhog Day now. Another midnight departure on the Rio to Sao Paulo bus. Another attempt to listen to the new album by The Horrors on my iPod – this time I get to track six! I wake up shivering again. I don’t know if it is because of the temperature outside and or the air conditioning.
The next thing I know we are at Sao Paulo… (AGAIN!) Today I’m traveling with Ian, a Scotsman. The rest of my English dudes are not hardcore enough to travel back down here again.
This time we take the Sao Paulo Metro to save the cost of another taxi. The game does not kick off for another ten hours, I feel pretty confident that we will make kick off! Travel writers report horrendous tales of danger on the Sao Paulo Metro, but safety in numbers, I find it totally fine – in fact it’s great. 80p to get to the stadium instead of the normal £20.00 taxi.
The rest of the day is spent doing computer admin, office work, trying to arrange photographers back home to do jobs, booking more travel, doing more research etc. It feels like I have done a full days work before I decide to grab my cameras and do some more fans mid afternoon.
But like every game at this FIFA World Cup, the majority of fans come from the home nation.
Time to get Baggy Bird out again… I can only just about say “Thank You” in Korean but say “Kam Shabm Nida” or however you pronounce it to the young girl who picks up Baggy Bird and starts to pose with him. My favourite image is this one.
Some of them grumpy as they are not in the starting line-up.
Perhaps if Belgium had of worn their normal red kit it would have made a better image. Knowing Belgium were the away team for this fixture, I looked forward to getting South Korea in their famous red and blue strip.
Nice images were there to be had, but sadly yet again, not many run of the mill football pictures like tackles or headers. Thankfully, again, (yes it is like groundhog day) others feel the same which does wonders for mental spirits.
Another player gets sent off, but yet again lots of photographers including myself simply had no idea of the happening!
From now on, it is knockout football. Someone has to win. Extra-time and penalties – bring it on! The tournament started off with a bang. The latter games have been even more boring than a dire pre-season friendly.
We say more goodbye’s to colleagues going home. Some of them Japanese, more English and now some Korean photographers that I have got to know over the years.
We also sadly hear more tales of more robberies over the past few days. English photographers from the media centre having their bags taken by others loitering with accreditation around their necks, CCTV not capturing their faces due to them wearing caps which cover their faces.
One fan from the crowd got onto the pitch with a South Africa FIFA 2010 Photo Bib and a Boxing Accreditation around his neck! Thankfully an eagle-eyed FIFA official got him marched off quickly.
Another English photographer caught a guy trying to swap bags.
Another has the boot of his car hire car opened and has equipment taken. We hear stories of media people traveling alone and putting equipment in the boot of taxi cars, upon getting out to retrieve their bags sadly see the taxi shoot off at high-speed.
A Japanese photographer putting all his equipment after a night game in the hold of the media bus returning him back to his hotel. He gets off at stop two – but sadly none of his bags were there to greet him, obviously taken by someone at the first stop.
No wonder our insurance premiums have gone through the roof.
We are starting to fear the final. Most of us have traveled here to get a picture of a player lifting the infamous gold FIFA World Cup Trophy. Sadly in the back of our minds, we feel that others will be lifting our belongings as we are doing our jobs.
Still no internet in our apartment. Grumbles will progress into punches and mega refund demands if it is not sorted out soon.
My heath : I can no longer talk. Some may suggest that is a good thing, but my voice has disappeared.
Other colleagues look terrible and very run down. I even suggest that they take a day off and get healthy for the more important games later in the week.
A rare quick bite to eat with some English colleagues who we have not seen for sometimes after the game was great. Very quickly though we were back in another taxi back to the Sao Paulo Bus Station. It continues to surprise us however. We discover a quaint book shop, but if I purchased everything I saw that I thought was great, I’d need a new house. We see replacement Panini stickers – stickers to cover up the players who never made it into the final squad, but made it in to the Panini sticker book.
I find some extra strength paracetamols. They help me thought the night.
I wake up shivering again.
At 8AM we pull into the Rio Bus Terminal
Taxi drivers take liberties in wanting to charge a pre-paid rate of 130 for a 30 minute drive up the road to our apartment. The cheapest we have had is 45, its normally around 60. The taxi driver stands in front of his car with his arms folded looking at our equipment in his boot. We are so tired and can’t be bothered to argue. Negotiations result in a 90 cab ride.
With still no internet, I can’t monitor my online accounts and so I spend two hours flat out asleep on the beach on a £2 rental deck chair. Photographs however make it look nicer than it really is. Yes it is so clean, but again the sun is weak. It’s bright, sunny but not summer strength sun. By 3pm the sun has died and drops out of the sky at 5pm. The solstice passed nearly a week ago now, it is still winter here. Baggy Bird has some factor 30 but I’m OK.
My body craves fuel, not the shit junk food I wrongly often eat at home for comfort food. Banana Soy Juice, orange juice, anything with vitamins in are purchased from the local store. I so wished that I had of brought my jucing machine with me ! The vegetable and fruit produce is nothing short of sensational and about 80% cheaper than the Sainsburys that I have up the road back home.
For the first time I put on the TV and find a film on HBO. It’s about JFK. It’s nice to relax and take my mind of travel, the want to kill our host and not having any bank cards still. That kills 2 hours. It’s then time to get in another taxi and get another bus for another game to cover.
I used to utterly despise Chris Kamara for when he broke the jaw of Shrewsbury Town player Jim Melrose during his playing days. He is loved on Sky Sports News but becomes an instant hero to me when I find out that he chased a Brazilian robber in the street.
All I ask for is it not to rain, to be healthy, not get anything robbed and to get some great sellable pictures. Thankfully I’m doing OK. I need live material to get a quick return for my outlay. The pension pot will hopefully grow with long-term archive material, but there is always that worry of not being able to pay the bills!
Before I know it I will be driving in the Mercedes to Paris, Dortmund and Munich again covering the UEFA Champions League mixed with going to Carlisle on a cold Tuesday night to cover Shrewsbury Town.