27 October 2013

2013 La Carrera Panamericana: Day 0 Prequalification Outside of Veracruz (photos to follow)

Day 0 arrived and we got up early to get out to the start of the 5 km speed stage to watch everyone.  It was a long commute through morning rush hour traffic in Veracruz; it took us maybe 1-1/2 hours to get out there.  We stopped at two speed bumps a couple of hundred yards before the start, which was cool because everyone had to stop next to us for the topes (speed bumps) and we could cheer them on and get photos.

A school was in front of the topes and some of the kids were outside but most were behind the gate, lined up watching the cars for over an hour and shouting and being funny and unruly.  I asked the kids that were out, “Estan en el carcel?”  (Are they in jail?) And they all laughed.  I asked, “Ninos malos?” (Bad kids?) And they laughed again and said, yes, they are the bad kids and we are the good kids!  A group of about 15 young teenaged boys swarmed around me, practicing their English and one by one, asking to pose in a photograph with me, then giggling.  One asked me if I was on Facebook and I am, but I can’t be easily found on there and for the first time I felt kind of bad about it!  I gave him our hero card and pointed to the website and hopefully he will see his picture on here.

It seemed like Day 0 would be pretty easy since it was a small morning speed stage, but the commute was long and we were gone about 3 hours.  But the car is ready and we felt we had nothing to do for the rest of the day.  Wrong.  At 1pm we had to be in the WTC for a group picture, then the Service Crew meeting was at 3pm, then we wanted to sneak in dinner before the parade downtown and the 7pm driver’s meeting/party.  Ugh.  Then they changed the parade to an earlier time so we had to leave at 4pm, drive 20 minutes downtown, sit there for an hour and come back.  Neither Stewie or Geezer wanted to go to the Dog and Pony Show and I was ecstatic to get on my new suit and ride in the car with Rene for the first time in 6 years.  Too fun!!!  The car is so amazing and powerful and well built!  

We had fun downtown right on the docks, socializing with other drivers and signing autographs and talking to locals even though the wind was gusting to about 60 mph.  The hour we were supposed to be there turned into 2.5 hours and we were hot, windblown and tired.  Not a good idea the night before the race starts.  Drivers and navigators were getting anxious to leave and we were realizing that we weren’t going to get our shrimp dinner tonight. Boo.  

Once it got dark we heard that we were waiting for the governor to show up and he’d be there in 10 minutes.  Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.  I entertained myself by opening the top of my suit and running backwards down the street using it like a sail.  Dang, we were getting giddy.  Asked Rene and El Fer what chupalo meant and they both laughed hard and then Rene told me it means Suck it.  Jajajaja  So now everything is chupalo this and chupalo that.

Finally we were able to line up and go through the starting arch one at a time while Lalo announced our names and Rene got to say Hola Veracruz or something like that into the microphone and we roared off the platform and headed back to the hotel just in time for the driver’s meeting.  Okay, so that was a stupid 4 hour round trip, what the hell?  I was extra grateful Rene and I went since we are not in the car and Geezer and Stewie were able to have some downtime and get dinner at their favorite place, Vips (think Perkins – yuk). 

Back at the hotel I was determined to get shrimp so instead of one more mall meal I ate in the hotel and had a plate of wonderful camarones con ajo (shrimp with butter and garlic) and rice and mama was happy!  Yum!   Geezer joined me on his way to the driver’s meeting and we had a nice chat, just the two of us.  I told him he was burning through cash like a drunken sailor and he laughed.

At the driver’s meeting it was the normal pomp and circumstance.  Rene got there earlier and tried to get a drink and they told him if he didn’t have a seat or a glass that he couldn’t get a drink.  WTF.  So he finally got a seat and a drink and when I got there I walked up to a service table, grabbed a bottle of tequila and set it in front of him.  He said, “There aren’t any glasses and don’t put that here; I’ll get in trouble!”  I laughed and found a glass and drank some tequila.  Later I was holding my tequila and a waiter bumped me and spilled a good amount of tequila down into my cleavage. Nice. 

Back at the hotel Rene and I had drinks with El Fer, Gerie (AKA Yeri) and Steve Strupp.  I love these evenings.  Yeri made a mistake and left to meet with his mechanic and said we could sign the drinks to his room.  Thanks, Yeri, hee hee!

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