En route from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo
Doubles Vision - The Happy Islander & The Worried Viking
by Johan Brunstrom and Jean-Julien Rojer|
Hello once again everybody, it’s the tandem of Brunstrom/Rojer blogging to you from an airplane going from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo. We are here looking back on the crazy schedule that we have played so far this year and wanted to share some of it with you. Last time we talked about the importance of us both making sacrifices for the better of our team/relationship. When we sit down to plan our schedules together this is exactly what we find ourselves doing since we both would like to play closer to home.
So where do we start the year? The answer: South America (Sao Paolo, Brazil to be exact) with one happy islander and one worried Viking.
Probably goes without saying but I was the one pulling for South America when we were discussing our schedule. I wanted to play there in the beginning of the year being that it’s closer to home (Curacao). When I ran this idea by Brunny he looked at me as if I was crazy. I was telling him all the positive things of playing in South America (sunny, beaches, good food) but for some reason he didn’t seem to agree with me; he had more of a worried look on his face. Then I come to find out that the Swede has never made a trip to South America before, further explaining the look of wanting mommy by his side.
After being bombarded with questions of whether it was safe or not and whether we can leave our passports/wallets in the room or not, we finally made the trip to Brazil in the first week of January. Brunny looked like a walking ATM machine in South America being that he was the tallest one there and has blond hair with clear eyes. I never would have imagined that he would be so famous and loved as he was in S. A. Everybody wanted a piece of him: the taxi drivers, the people on the streets selling jewelry - everybody seemed to warm up to him. We ended up playing five tournaments in three different countries in South America: Brazil, Chile, and Colombia.
Okay, I had never been to South America. Sure, my original plan was not to spend the first two months of the year there. I’m not going to lie; I had some stereotypes popping up in my head when I thought about traveling in S.A. Ideally, my reaction would have been a mix of excitement for a new challenge and the opportunity to embrace a new culture. Realistically, I was a slightly less enthusiastic, more like cautiously curious of how Juls ended up being the way he is :) While Juls was trying to brainwash me about great weather, unbelievable food and beaches, I asked him jokingly (with a little bit of truth behind it), what the purpose of having these things would be if you are risking your health/safety. I finally surrendered and thought to myself that those beaches better be good.
In the end I found it quite funny how the “locals” seemed to whine and complain about things more than I did. Complaints about the hotel not being good enough, not having warm water, and no internet. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up there but he seemed more paranoid and worried walking the streets than I was, always looking over his shoulder imagining things. One time walking the streets in Chile at night, a dog ran up and barked right next to where we were walking and I have never seen a person ready to abandon a friend as quick as he was.
We didn’t have the results that we had hoped for during our trip to S.A. We celebrated one challenger title in Chile, but we lost early in the bigger, more important tournaments. We did not play badly, but it was a combination of playing against seeded opponents and a bit of bad luck. However, it was still good to be close to home and see many of my friends in these countries. I ate some of my favorite foods that I don’t get to eat that often and enjoyed the tropical weather. I was now rejuvenated and was ready for the next trip
Sometimes when you lose, you really win!! The tennis didn’t go so well but as far as experiences go, it was well worth it. I got to see some incredible sites and was shown some local traditions by Juls. We went to a Churrascaria (all you can eat meat restaurant) in Brazil, where I tried chicken hearts for the first time. We also caught some waves on the beach in Bahia, Brazil. I ate some Ceviche in Chile (mixed seafood bowl) and also had fruits sold from the streets in Colombia (this is traditionally eaten with salt and lemon).
I hope you guys enjoyed our S.A. adventure. We made it home safe from the trip and the stereotypes proved to be wrong. Well, we still have a few hours to go on this 7 hr flight to Tokyo on our current trip, so we will try to get some sleep now. Wish us Luck!! Ciaooo