Dusk is falling in Alicante and this is the time to recapture the day, respond to an average 60 emails from various offices and to the odd private mail that reaches me in the race village.
There is not much time for contemplation with the builders still adding some finishing touches to the media center that is constantly growing and improving. And while my working day here starts before 7.30 a.m. I can be sure to meet some member from Team Russia or other crews already on their way back from the gym as soon as I am getting closer to the village.
We have rented a flat in order to save on accomodation that provides the additional benefit of taking my very rusty Spanish to new heights. So within three days I was able to learn the following phrases: ¿Por qué no funcionan las llaves? Why do these keys do NOT work?, ¿Podríamos por favor tener agua en el grifo? (Could we please get some water in the sink?), ¿Qué pasa con la luz (What happened to the light (during blackout), and ¿Va a funcinar alguna vez este ascensor? (does this lift ever work? (answer: no)) For most other questions I already know the answer which usually turns out to be a shrug followed by a not too convincing “mañana”.
However, the closer I get to the race village the better it gets and if it was not for the incredible helpful staff of the media center and of the team from Alicante 2008 /2009, I would not know where we would be. But I know that I would already be floating dead in the harbour, belly up, without our Spanish campaign assistant Zaida. She has been bridging cultural gaps, running the pavillion, organising volunteers and sorting out food orders for Team Russia in order to repay some of the favours they are constantly doing us.
Everyone is frantically working, decisions need to be taken on the spot and there are very few moments of calm before dozens of kids rush in the pavillon, briefly stopped in its tracks by the sheer beauty of the large black and white whale pictures on display of American artist Bryant Austin. But not for long.
There are Orca pictures to be drawn, fotos to be taken and a quiz to be completed in order to get their dolphin diploma, leaving them with a neat little business card as a junior expert on whales and dolphins.
If it was not for the kitchen and the great cooking of Ben and Ian from Team Russia, the volunteers would be starved by now. We have had approximately 4000 people in the exhibition and we are expecting similar numbers everyday day come October and the start of the in port race.
Until then, lifesize orcas have to be build and press packs need to be filled before we can take advantage of the close proximity to a sea which is unknown to most the home of nine different species of whales and dolphins. I am only hoping that in the weeks to come I will find some time to do some exercise before some well intended volunteer tries to drag me back into the ocean in order to save the one (largely unknown) common campaign belly whale indigenous to Alicante.