Just the other day, the last day we made the l.5 hour trek up to the Fortezza, during the l.5 hour trek back Gord said, “No more media. We’re closing down the show. That’s it, it’s the end.” He was tired, he was driving and he was fed up. He hadn’t had a day of rest since after Christmas; and the weather was warm, nothing to be done about the paintings against the walls, they were, simply, changing. The mostra looked and felt different. Gord loved the variety and strange patterns and shapes the process was giving the paintings -- that’s what ice painting is all about -- freezing and melting, paint moving along the crystal structure of the ice, a link to the melting polar opposites, but -- will anyone ‘get it’? Every time someone came up to do a story, it was up early, hours driving up, preparing the ice, cleaning it, (people have been walking on the paintings!) and then time in the cold church for the interviews. Two interviews for CBC hadn’t even aired yet -- and then, last straw, the lights went out on one bank. How could anyone even see the paintings now? So he said “No”. Okay, okay I said. No more. We’ll close early and go to Milan to see an opera at La Scala. We’ll visit with Margaret and we’ll just let that busy Torino have all its tourists and Olympic goers. They’ll get their medals without us. We’ve done what we came to do, we’ve had our successes. Enough is enough. Because I want you to know, going back into that cold environment after over a month of that stress when we’ve just now licked our colds and flu is not something done easily.
So then we got a call. Art Sutherland had recommended a broadcaster friend who owns an ice curling rink in Japan. A man who appreciates ice. He said, “Hello, it’s me, can I come to see the show? Friday would be good, eleven o’clock, how’s that?” And then Barbara Papuzzi informed us, somewhat gleefully, that she had a bus load of ten journalists who wanted to see the show on Sunday. And family arrive on Sunday. They haven’t seen the show either.
So here we go again. Gord had a rest and something to eat and then he looked at the situation one more time.
And now we're stuck in a blizzard on the road to back to Torino. Bumper to bumper, stand still and inch. On the day all outdoor Olympic events have been cancelled because of the weather. The flakes are huge. It's minus 2. Everyone arrives in Torino tonight, Jaz and Erik from Venice, Gord's brother and nephew Mike and Conor, Lori and Jason from Florence. And Even though my neck is stiff from holding my head at the wrong angle on a forced march up from the Super G yesterday at Sestriere Borgata, today was a good day. Brian Coxford from Global TV and his cameraman Sergio came to do a follow up story. Rai TV shot footage of the exhibit and wanted info in Italian. And Barbara? She and her mythic group of journalists never showed up. Because of the snowstorm.
Buses and cars going up towards Sestriere are being stopped for chains. The wet flakes on the windshield are the size of a dime. It's a winterland of soft snow and red brake lights snaking down the winding road. My phone just shivered, someone has gone ape sending me text messages today and there is not now, nor has there ever been a special insert to tell me how to retrieve one. I can barely use a cell phone -- don't be sending me email and text messages on this thing!
We're going 15 k/hour. This must be one of those mandatory Olympic experiences like the one we had yesterday - free tickets to the Super G, 110 euros each and we thought we were lucky. Until we were trudging down the steep 1.2 km path to the stands, which supposedly hold 8,500 people! We weren't the only ones late, but we worked up a sweat stepping around many others on the steep path. We pressed on up the metal stands about 5 stories off the ground and were not more than ten minutes in our seats when the sign on the board and voices in 3 languages announded that the race was postponed for an hour and a half due to weather. We had been saving ourselves for lunch and decided to hike back up to the town. An hour later, after a slog in the beige smush, again people on all sides moving step by step en masse -- and we are on our way OUT of a crazy-busy Sestriere. We were so traumatized by it all we skipped the 2nd set of tickets -- to curling!