WEG Day 2 where is Henri le Chat?

23 Aug

DSC_0041Getting ready for Opening Ceremonies



Nine zillion unbelievable pieces of horseflesh..close up, they all look amazing—larger than life.  They fill every corner,every inch of every warm-up arena


The tale of the shuttle from the hotel.

“There is no shuttle’  I am told by the hotel.  I realize I have no euros for a taxi, and run around asking about shuttles and am told there is a shuttle by one. When I go to the shuttle area,however, I am told there are none to my hotel.

Desperate, I find a taxi who will take me for US $.

Whereupon I arrive at my hotel, followed in by 3 official FEI shuttles.

Next day, I cadge a ride with judge.

Edith , the single ray of pure sunshine in the FEI press department, drives me back to the hotel.

Next day,  standing right outside the hotel, thinking if only I had a Gauloise to hang from my lower lip like all the drivers,I try to look important and distracted.  Finally, a driver guy pulls up asks Ornano?. I say mmm,he opens door to magic shuttle ride,I get in and he goes back inside.

i say a small prayer I will not be ignominiously ejected  ,outed by the zealots that run hotel front desk– and off we go.

We arrive at D’Ornano, I get out,he hands me my bags—and I realize I am on the other side of the complex,with a long way to go and 3 heavy albeit small bags. Yay rollers.

I take maybe 10 steps and see a familiar face.

Sjef Janssen looking remarkably slim and trim. I say sorry,he shrugs…I wonder for a moment if we can talk,but then we are at schooling arenas and I can feel his attention refocusing as he looks for rider, accepts hellos ,etc. He takes a moment to tell me how to get back to tunnel.

I am thrilled when he says goodbye,see you,to my back as I trundle past him.

After 2 wrong turns (so these are the FEI dressage horse barns!!!) I find the tunnel and drag the bags down the long communication-cable-strewn path, then up the interminable stone steps, out on to the promenade, and around and around and around…through the white tent, back to Medialand!


I plug in phone-check.

Plug in computer—nada.

All the quick fixes: try other plug outlets.

Other plugs.

On off. Sleep back on restart.

Open charger blow into everything.’etc etc etc

No green light.

Someone suggests I take tram bus into town. I have no euros.

Finally, Edith again to the rescue loans me her charger.

Et voila.

I call friends who will try to find one for me.

Two hours later,the calls come in–Nada.



World famous sport photographer Arnd Bronkhorst is sitting one row away, we make polite conversation. He of course asks if I take photos..i tell him it is a bit of a joke but yes,have new toy Nikon…he smiles patronizing.


I go out to see if I can find any more horses schooling.

I go the same way I’ve been going,get as far as main arena and see entertainment opening ceremony horses rushing around, mad Cossacks on their back..whip out camera and say useful stuff to self.

Work with me baby.

I snap off 10,12 15 shots.

Satisfied, I turn off camera and realize I never took off lens cap.

I carry on down the horrid steps, through the tunnel and security sprouts up every few feet.

I show my camera,he points me to spot.

But the sun is in my eyes,even though this time I remember to take off lens cap.

I ask if I may go to other side of arena, he says ok.

I get to corner of arena to turn left,a security officer sprouts up,a young woman, tells me Non!

I explain.


Finally, I say ok and she says non, and points me to the OUTSIDE and tells me to walk around the outside of the grounds to go back.

After a few moments of unpleasant conversation, me speaking in the spanchglish I suddenly find myself in possession of,

I nod my head at her and turn around and start back the way I came.

She radios ahead to the two guy security squad and they pretend they cannot hear her as I wave and pass them and go down the tunnel.


Yayyy,I am back at the media center.

Did I mention the computer charger is dead? The FEI press dept aka Edith,loans me hers.

This afternoon, with help, I go to bank ATM,get euros,get in a cab and go to a shop and buy a new one.

For lots of euros.

For which I will need an adapter when I get home.

It is days since using amazon, perhaps will get online for nostalgia’s sake and order an adapter delivered to home.


Holding my breath, I plug everything in (with help) and voila.green light comes on.


Now 3:30, only umpteen hours until opening ceremonies about which I care this much.


Naturally, there is no way to actually go see horses.

Am feeling like Henri le chat.

The point of coming here is to celebrate the horse in sport.

The partnership, the majesty bla blah.

But the one thing none of us may do is go watch the horses.


So very little to report other than we have sudden rainstorms—short but very intense—and this could easily affect performances.

And these are so far,every day at different times.

There is sun, the sky goes dark and-wauw! The heavens open.

Five,ten minutes max,later, the rain stops, the clouds roll away and we are back to sun.

Sure,these are all top sport athletes,used to everything, but still difficult to warm up in sun


The hierarchical nature of  FEI events are rather like the New York subway guy of a few years ago.

The guy would stand near a bunch of commuters,look them over,and point at one, saying in measured tones,

“ You…are…in.”

Then he would turn to the next,measure him or her and say,


No inflection, no glee,no power trip, no regret.


That is the FEI,  except there is great glee,no regret and amazing euro-trash condescension to each hierarchical decision.

Truly ridiculous.

Like the shuttles, as people try not to catch anyone’s (me) eye as they scuttle to their cars and plump down on a back seat.

Even the drivers feel the need to avert their eye lest they be tainted.

And the ridiculousness of going each day to watch horses school—of being there this morning and could have stayed as long as I wanted—but deciding to come set up in press room and then return.

Bad Decision.

Anyway got a few photos.







One Response to “WEG Day 2 where is Henri le Chat?”

  1. halfpass August 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I STILL don’t get this ridiculous nonsense about access to the CDI warm ups….scratching my head. It certainly doesn’t sound media friendly. Lita, you better run. They need you over at the FEI…

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