It’s not yet 7pm and I’m sitting in a grove of trees on a hillside overlooking the sea. Below me on the beach I can hear the excited voices of people enjoying an evening splash. Everywhere around me is the evening shout of hundreds of horny cicadas.
The catering tent is open, although it serves food pretty early – until half six for dinner. Will lent me his sealable tupperware, so I loaded it up with fregola and took it hot in a random direction, seawards. Hunger, the waning light and blisters from my new sandals led me to stopping where I am. I’ve wolfed down the fregola. They are Sardinian roasted pasta nibs. They work out like a risotto. They are all safely in my belly so I’m sitting awhile, listening to the sunset cicadas and writing this.
Extreme-E have come to this particular venue before, last year, their first year in existence. “It’s weird isn’t it, rocking up somewhere and knowing where everything is. I’m not sure I like it,” says one of the lads I picked up this morning. I can see that. I love the newness that this recurring job has brought into my life. Going to strange places and saying yes. It’s easier the second time. I’ve had two good venues. By all accounts Chili will be harder, up in the barren north. If I go. And then Uruguay will be perhaps easier again… For now though I’m just thinking about this one as it’s what is in front of us all.
All the inflatable tents are up. Catering is up. The structure of the main site is mostly done. They’re flagging the race track. I’ve been helping put up signs, but then I had to jump into a pick-up and drive an hour to this guy called Aldo’s house in order to get a huge rented air conditioning unit and bring it into the medical tent. The inflatable tents look like they’ve come out of Dune, but they get very very hot. If somebody gets heatstroke, they need to be cool in the medical centre. Most other tents will be without such luxury, because the whole operation exists in order to pioneer offroad electric car racing with a focus on gender equality and sustainability. I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve got tangled up in this year. I love this work. The hours can be weird, but the community is great.
It’s getting dark and I need to do some clambering in bare feet to get back to the car. A few days ago I lost my bearings at about this time and walked through thick scrub in circles for about an hour before I oriented myself. I completely failed to panic as I was listening to the cricket on BBC Sports Extra. There’s no cricket to keep me company tonight, so I’m gonna head back up the cliff before it gets dark. Bye bye lovely grove.
And hello car.
I’m back at the hotel. Shower and early bed. No big old beachy gathering tonight for me. I just fancy an early night.