Sunflash, revenge, so long (day 355)

Doesn’t paradise just suck? I hate it myself.

So here I am in Rimini (a seaside resort on the Adriatic coast in the north of Italy). I am sitting on my thermarest chair (spot the shameless plug), in the sunshine, watching my favourite game in the whole world (Ultimate, that is). Atlanta are playing Cota in one of the men’s semi-finals.

A thousand of my closest friends have come along to sit in the stands with me and cheer Cota (the local favourites). Sadly for them, I think Atlanta are going to win.

Paganello (that is the name of the Ultimate tournament) is justly one of the most famous Ultimate tournaments in the world. It is more like a festival than just a tournament.

Sure, there is lots of Ultimate to play. But there is just so much other stuff. I can’t even begin to describe it. If Ultimate is your religion, then Paganello is your Mecca.

The off-field action centres on a set of tents (providing everything you could possibly want, and more), set up in the sand (white, warm in the day, freezing at night), baked by the sun (unexpected, but excellent), filled with shops (get that paganello merchandise here), surrounded by the world freestyle champs (these guys are seriously good with a disc), and a bunch of stages (catch bands, jugglers and performers of all types), with 1500 players from all around the world wandering about.

It is just crazy. I never seem to have a spare moment. From the second I get up and struggle downstairs to breakfast, til the moment my head hits the pillow at night. There are games to play, parties to get to, restaurants to try out, bands to dance to, beers to be drunk, and so much other stuff it just beggars the imagination.

It is a little cold, admittedly. But then it is only April. And the sun is out. I have even got a little colour (my tan is losing much of its former glory, sad to say) today. And, despite the seaside location, it is a little cold for swimming too. But that is just a state of mind, isn’t it? And I have given up my fear of cold water, as long-term followers of my diary will already know. I can add one to my list of seas I have swum in.

The trip here was kinda eventful. It was all lining up so well (pile into (cold, but still excellent) combi van for night in austria on the way to Rimini). But things went downhill a little after the van decided it would rather not go to Austria, overheated (which might have had something to do with having no water in it, I think), went bang, and smoked a lot. No real problem. Thanks for the lift Thomas. Although it did force me to spend 8 hours in gruelling torture travelling with the stinky jewess Heidi.

That last sentence might not be entirely accurate. We actually played some two-a-side Ultimate at a gas station in northern Italy somewhere. That was not so gruelling.

Thrillride (the team I am playing for) is 7 and 1 (we have won 7 and lost 1, for you non-sports people). We have two games left. A semi-final, and either the final (if we win), or the 3/4 playoff (if we do not).

We are a little lucky to be in the semis actually, since we only got in by one point on points differential. It was funny to lose the last game, and then realise that the team we just lost to would not go through to semis. Such are draws. I do not pretend to understand them.

I still do not know how I am getting to Pasticciotto (next tournament – think heel of the boot). Still, there is plenty of time. Fate will provide.