Friday, June 12, 2015

USA D3 Volleyball - Incredible hospitality and great food!

Days 3 and 4 have been full of great competition, great food, and opportunities to explore Brazilian culture. Here is Caitlyn's perspective on the last couple of days! 

"After a late night in Valinhos, everyone was looking forward to finally getting a full night's rest! Wednesday morning we woke up to a traditional Brazilian buffet breakfast- eggs, meats, cheese, fresh fruit and a array of pastries and donut-like temptations. We had the morning off from volleyball so most of us headed to the Carrefour, a Brazilian style Walmart complete with a Subway, chocolate shop, bakery, and fast-food restaurant called Pimpas. It was fun to see the different types of fruit in the produce section, and I was surprised how many American brands (like Oreos) they sold. However, there were a few major differences: pipoca, pronounced pee-poh-kah, their version of popcorn reminds me more of an edible version of styrofoam packing peanuts and most of the bottle water sold is actually carbonated bottled water (a few of our players learned this the hard way). The rest of the morning was spent lounging at the hotel pool bonding before our next match.

At 4pm, we loaded the motor coach and headed to the Balaó, an echoing dome arena, to play Jundiai's U22 professional teams. The hospitality in Jundiai was incredible! They played our National Anthem before the match, provided professional refs, a professional photographer, and the fan atmosphere was exciting. The minute we walked into the Balaó we felt like celebrities because everyone, including the families that traveled with us, was constantly being asked to take photos with fans! My favorite part of Brazil (besides the food) has been the people! Post-match, the Brazilian players always ask us to trade our college or USA t-shirts for their jerseys or warmup shirts- I even received a Brazilian flag in exchange for one of my extra shirts. The look on their faces when we agree to exchange is priceless and sometimes they thank us with a hug or kiss on the cheek! After our matches in Jundiai we had the most incredible dinner at a local family-style restaurant called O Bom da Picanha II. They served us salad, breaded corn and potatoes, chicken, steak, and of course dessert. This is a good time to mention that I've been in a permanent food coma the entire trip.

Thursday, we departed our hotel in Jundiai and traveled about an hour and a half to our next match in Piracicaba. All of the gyms we have played in have been so different and unique. Piracicaba's was older then Valinhos and Jundiai's and was shaped like a barrel or airplane hanger and was in conjunction with a professional soccer stadium that we also got to visit. The Piracicaba women's volleyball team was comprised of 12 of the most athletic looking 22 to 28 year-olds I've ever seen! They were talented yet classy and I was proud of how our team really stepped up to the challenge. After the match we were once again approached to trade T-shirts, spandex, and even socks with the Piracicaba players. I think this is a tradition we should bring back to the states! After the match we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a fancy place called Burger King :-) The menu was virtually identical to ours back home, except with a different assortment of Brazilian sodas.

Last night we traveled three hours to San Josè dos Campõs and checked into our overnight hotel, which really is more like an apartment with a separate living room, kitchen, and two balconies that overlooked the city. Before we went to sleep we had a little time to explore a local mall and have dinner in its giant food court. We were given $50R (about $15US) to choose whatever we wanted. I played it safe and went with a create-your-own pasta place that Leo (our Brazilian guide/interpreter/foodie/BFF) recommended. Many members of our group indulged in Ovaltine-flavored milkshakes from Bob's Burgers. I'm not a huge chocolate person so I went with gelato to deepen my food coma.

This morning we woke up really early to travel to Rio de Janeiro! It's about a four hour ride depending on traffic. I'm currently sitting on our motor coach and almost everyone is resting up for a big day of site seeing. I am looking forward to visiting Sugarloaf today and hopefully seeing a few stadiums as Rio prepares to host the Olympics next summer! Tchau!"


  1. Coach and Caitlyn, Thanks so much for your blog - it's fascinating to hear of your travel adventures! (And who doesn't have room on their roster for a 6'7" MB???) Thanks for the updates - can't wait for your next ones! Give our love to our girls - I'm pretty partial to Debbie and MC!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the blog! Due to slow internet, I didn't see this until today. It was such a great trip for all of us!

  2. Hey! I just wanted you to know that I featured your recipe on my blog!