Well, after a truly excellent flight with TAM airlines, I am safely ensconced in the Hotel Transamerica in Sao Paulo, with a view of the city from the window, and a very comfortable room. I landed at 05.10 (bit early in the day for me, but never mind) and whizzed through customs control and baggage, then it was about an hour through quite heavy traffic to get to the hotel. My room was ready despite the ungodly hour, so I was able to unpack, shower, change and go down and have some breakfast. yes they did serve it on the plane but I really can't wake up and eat immediately, so I had passed on that one, and was glad to have it at the hotel. It was a fabulous buffet, but I stuck to a roll and jam this morning.
I met up with Harvey (IT Manager), Tomas and Calle (Scoring team), Maurizio (Operations Director), Jean-Claude Beineix and his wife Odile and other members of the "working team" and we went off to have a look around the facilities here - the playing rooms look excellent as far as I can tell, and I am sure the offices will be fine although we couldn't see most of them as there were other conferences in progress.
Then back up to my room to check on my email etc - there is free internet throughout the hotel - wireless everywhere and a DSL cable in the bedrooms which is brilliant ! So I worked until lunchtime when I went down to meet up with my "partner in crime" and great working colleague, Carol who had arrived with her son, Mark and also with Ernesto d'Orsi, a past President of the WBF, a member of the Executive Council and - most important of all - the On Site Organiser of the Championship and a dear friend and colleague. We all had lunch together in the hotel buffet-restaurant - a really great lunch, where I was able to have the local dish of Feijoada - a black bean stew with different meats that is really delicious! Google Feijoada and you will find a full description and various recipes.
Next came some work with Calle to try and sort out who will play with who in the different teams so that he can make the line-ups easier for the Captains to register, and back to the room to clear the last of my email.
Now it is 6.15pm local time, though my head is telling me it is later - it is 10.15pm back in England, but I am sure I will get used to it quickly, it is only a four hour difference after all. Anyway, it is time to stop and relax with a book for a bit before going down to meet Jose Damiani, the WBF President, when he arrives from France, then probably room service for a "light bite" and an early night as no doubt we will be up and running big time tomorrow.
Watch this space ! I will try and keep you updated as we go along ...