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Grand Prix of Brazil 2005
Saturday Day 5 (Back to the track)

I had a great meal with friends last night at what is referred to as BBQ.

It was a "Cafeteria" style, the waiter brings drinks and we all go to the salad bar. Once we finished the salad waiters would keep coming over with different meats on big skewers and slice pieces off onto the plate. It was really good, but I was tired and it showed, so my friends took me back to the Hotel after dinner, but not without showing me where the museum was. I will have to go there sometime.

Anyway, back to today: It really looks like it's going to rain! :( But this could make the race really good if it rains half way through qualifying. :)

I caught the Taxi across the street again, and as the driver sits down he says "Abla Espaniol?" "Sie Pokito" (Now you do realize this is phonetic spelling) :) He suddenly starts talking so fast I have no idea what he's talking about. I tell him slower, slower, he slows his driving but carries on talking as fast. :) I tell him No! No! drive rapido, ABLA slower! He laughs and drives at the normal speed, but I still don't understand what he's talking about. I try for a while and get some of it, but it's too fragmented. So back to a silent ride to the track.

At least today I know where I'm going and I could tell the driver Gate 7. Unfortunately since yesterday the Police had closed off a bunch of streets to traffic, which meant I could not get near gate 7 with the Taxi.

I was going to get him to stop approximately where the gate was, only a couple of blocks away. But we were in the middle lane. The Driver, "Jose" had it all under control though.!?! I look at the meter it is only on $39.00 Reais. No Problem! Except the traffic is not moving much.

We get to a break in the median and Jose asks if he can go through as I had a ticket and needed to get there. :) The Policeman just gestured to keep going as he bends over and looks in the rear window at me waiving my ticket at him. That didn't work either!

We drive all around the outside of the circuit back to where the street we want is closed. Jose stops and talks with another Policeman and I hold my ticket up to the window. We are about 300 yards from gate 7. Ah! success! The Policeman opens the barrier to let us through but sends us back the way we had just come from! The meter is now at $45.00 Reais.

We arrive at the other end of the street we want, where the "Cop" (He is no longer entitled to be called a Policeman!) would not let us through. Turned right and pulled up right outside gate 7. Meter reads $47.00 Reais. I give Jose $50.00 Reais and say "Muto Obrigado!" He is ecstatic about a 3 Reais tip and gives me his business card with his cell phone number on it, saying "You call!"

I have to swipe my ticket to get in the main gate today, but they are not quite ready. Within 5 minutes they let me in. I decided to try and go over to the stands on the front straight, but they have an electronic gate to get in them as well and it will not accept my ticket, but there is no jumping over it as the Security People  stand next to them all the time. Bummer! So I head back down the hill under the bridge to my Orange tree.

I arrived there to be greeted by all the security. I'm the first one there again at about 7:30. It's just a couple of minutes and they are ready to let me in. They all say "BonGea!" and I return the greeting. I feel like someone special as I go through the gate and a few of the security want to shake my hand and usher me to the food stand. :) Where the same two girls (Liliana and Adriana) are setting up as before.

Adriana says "BonGea" and Liliana says, hesitantly "Good Morning" and starts to laugh. Fabio waves and motions to go to the other end where he is already making my espresso. :) I get a breakfast sweet pastry as well. Now the guys that know a little English want to try and use is. Probably because, if this Gringo is willing to make a fool of himself trying to speak Portuguese, it would not matter if they screwed up their English. So there we are, a little motley crew of about 4 to 6 on and off chatting about where everyone is from and been and drinking more espresso.

The crew decide they better actually help in setting up so they can be open for the other Fans. :)

I decide to mark my territory in the Stand by placing my back-pack on the seat I wanted, with my jacket strapped to the back-pack. I have to keep moving around just so I would claim the right seat for viewing when I decided to go back to it.

The seat I finished up with had all the views, this is the stand after the Senna S's and the white tent is the Formula 1 Village I spoke of earlier, and the food stand with, from left to right, Fabio 2, Adriana, a Good guy! (can't remember his name always put his thumbs up!) And this was one of my favorite security people. She would look up and smile all the time, then when I took this picture she put on her serious face, then looked up and laughed! The only English she would speak was No! :)

The Heli-pad was just next to the Stand and the Official FIA choppers would come and go all day from this platform, which is where a lot of team containers are stored under it. Below that is where the track workers had a place to go and relax at lunchtime.

I then went to position myself at the highest point, closest to the chain link fence I could get without causing trouble or being asked to move. This would allow me to get some good shots during the free practice and qualifying. Plus I was right next to the food stand. The stand is not too busy this early and they all seem rather board.

Formula Renault cars started out the day and there were a few with a really nice Fluorescent Red, I wanted some pictures just to see how the color would turn out, so I could compare to the McLaren colors of the 70's in photographs. In actual fact they turned out pretty good. That one was just plane red.

A little more espresso before the F1 cars hit the track for their last practice and qualifying. I think I have the camera adjusted a little better because I did not delete as many as yesterday. The clouds have dissipated somewhat and the sun is beginning to come out, so no qualifying spoiler!

I wanted to take some different pictures today, more unusual, from the rear BAR, Renault and Red Bull, and rear side of Kimi, Ralf, Taku, Juan, shots and a little fun with Minardi and Renault. Plus these guys need a mention. They are there to help and put themselves risk to help drivers.

I have not given a break between the practice and qualifying, but the TV guys were getting ready flying around getting ready for Qualifying.

Everyone seems to have their setups pretty well handled and they are driving faster and faster, picking their breaking points later and later. Toyota seems to have solved their problem of front end twitch coming into the curves in anger. I can see the loading and unloading of the cars as they go around these curves with the change of elevation and some banking. Here DC and I got it right! So did JV, Massa and Ralf.

They are all getting to the limits and making some mistakes, but not too many. And yes there were actually other spectators, not just me!

Yesterday Michael had the high mirrors on both sides today he has the left one low, which is how he has been racing lately. And if that pole had not got in the way this shot of JV and Kimi would have been quite good. Finally I just like the way this shot looks Yes it's out of focus, but I like it!:)

Qualifying over and not much else happening except everyone in the stands crowds around the 4 TV's to listen to the interviews after. Not that it really matter as the volume is not turned up! But it was interesting to watch everyone trying to lip read :) I wonder what language they were lip reading in! :) I'm going to make my way back to the Hotel now. But first I must stop by my Familia at the food stand.

(Before I left for Brazil I had thought about getting another 256MB compact flash card, just in case. All I could find in Costco was a 1 Meg card for approx. $85.00. I thought that was too big an I only wanted to spend about $40.00 on a 256. So I never bought one.)

I approach Fabio and ask if he knows the best place to get another flash card for my camera as I only had enough for 12 more pictures. He tells me there are all sorts of places that sell "off-product" cards very cheaply, but there is no guarantee with them. So he tells me about a shopping center called "Shop Paulista" and gives me directions, then decides they were wrong and gives me new ones. I thanked him, said my cheerio's to them all saying "Asta Manyana". And head off for a Taxi.

I get to the street and it is just a parking lot coming to Interlagos, nothing leaving. All because the roads were closed in all the wrong places. There were plenty of empty Taxi's, but they had no way to get across the median and I sure was not going to them to sit in traffic. So I decided I should just walk to where there were no road closures.

Luckily for me the walk is all down hill, but it is quite warm and humid. I strut off down the road, back-pack strapped on, jacket strapped on the back-pack and retracted Mono-pod in hand. (If I get into a bad situation my mono-pod would be my protection.) I think the Police thought I was carrying a "Club", because everyone I walked passed gave it quite a look. There were a couple of places that could have been a problem, but the Police already had that in hand and had officers posted around those areas.

I have to admit it was quite a walk and I figured I would have to get across that river before the traffic would be better. The river was as I suspected, carrying most of the sewage. The bridge across it was about 150 yards with approximately 2 foot wide space to walk across. I met someone halfway and we had to do some climbing to get past each other.

About another half mile down the road there was an intersection where a cab could turn around and pick me up. I saw a couple of empty Taxi's and gestured at them to come over to me. One did spot me and zipped right across the street and picked me up. When I told him I wanted to go to the Maksoud Plaza, he looked as if he had no idea where that was. So I tell him "Aveneda Paulista" I realize the look he gives me is because Aveneda Paulista is one long Avenue. Duh! So I get my Hotel book out and show him the address. Now we have it...Big smile from the driver, probably because he has not wasted his time and got a fairly decent fare.

It was a nice easy trip and a $38.00 Reais one. I was really happy so I gave him $45.00.

After I had cleaned up, I decided I was going to find "Shop Paulista" before it got dark. Just to check the directions I asked at the front desk. The girl said "Oh yes! It's only 3 blocks. Go to Aveneda Paulista and turn left. You can't miss it!" She doesn't know me! :) However, it was the opposite way to what Fabio told me.

I get to Paulista and turn left. There are a lot of people in the street, walking, sitting waiting for busses, sleeping in closed down building doorways. I come up to a building which must be a theatre of arts and there are quite a few people around it. Out in front is a statue of a Cow stood on his back leg, wearing a blue suit and a red tie. Full size mind you! I had noticed other Cow statues all over the city, all different. They were the work of one artist, I found out, who positioned them all over. Another I remember was painted in a Buckskin color with old cave drawings painted on it and hand prints like American Indians would put on their horses.

I carry on for two blocks and come across what looks like a shopping center, but does not say "Shop Paulista" anywhere, so I keep going. After 4 blocks I'm thinking maybe Fabio was right and it was the other way?!? I keep going anyway, just one more block, if it's not there I'll turn around.

End of the 5th block is a major intersection with 4 or 5 roads coming together and to the left around the corner.....there it is "SHOP PAULISTA" I turn the corner and this BIG BANG! CRUNCH! and THUD! almost stopped my heartbeat. I turned around to see three cars had tried to occupy the space of one all at the same time and would you believe it....in the middle of the intersection! As luck would have, though the little car that came from the street I was about to cross, was going so fast he took all three of them out of the intersection into a 2 foot high wall on a corner. It was pretty nasty though, from the sound of it.

I went into the shopping center and immediately found a camera shop. I went in and asked if anyone spoke English, because I didn't even have these questions in Spanish. No! was the resounding answer. Back to sign language and English words of one syllable. Holding an invisible camera, I point at the space and say "Digital" "Camera" then motion to plug something in it and say "Card" "Flash Card". The light comes on in the salesman's head as he raises his hand with index finger pointed up. The international sign for "Eureka!" or "I've got it!" He goes over to a cupboard on the wall and gets a Sony card...No say I...Mass Grande...he pulls out two others, but both are wrong...so I say Mass Grande again followed by "Scan Disc". "Ah! his head drops No!" Then he proceeds to tell me about another shop that would probably have one and pointed in the air. I got "Print Color" out of it, and because he pointed up I figured he meant upstairs. I walked to the door and pointed to the stairs, he nods.

Up the stairs I go. I find the store "Print Color" and have the same kind of communication with the girl there, only she is smiling about it. She finally says "Ah! Chip!" so I nod and off she goes and comes back with the same three the other store showed me. "No. Mass Grande" as I form a 2 inch square with my hands. Agian pointing to the ceiling...she then opens the cupboard we were standing at and pulls out a "256MB Compact flash card". I look at the price $225.00 Reais! That is going to be more than $100.00US! (I should have bought that 1 Gig card at Costco!) "Do you have smaller "Pokito?" She tilts her head to one side and shruggs. I say "Cien Beynti Ocho!" She smiles having no idea what I said. I grab a piece of paper and write 1 2 8 and show her. Ah! off she goes and comes back with one..It's $145.00 Reais! So I buy the 256. :)

On my way out of the shopping center I stop by the other camera shop and poke my head in the door and waive my little paper bag and say "Obrigado!" big smiles and thumbs up from them!

Across the street the police have arrived, the ambulance is only about 250 yards away, with sirens blaring and lights aglow! Going absolutely nowhere, as it is stuck in the traffic that cannot and will not move out of the way, because the police have stopped the traffic from going passed the accident. I had walked the 5 blocks back and looked before I turned the corner.....the ambulance was still stuck in the traffic! I hope no one was seriously injured!

Back at the Hotel I stop at the Bar and buy a couple of Bohemia and take them to my room to kick back and relax for a while before going to bed. But I'm set for taking pictures now! Good Night!


Tomorrow will be Race day! :) click!