places i have been

updated 8/5/01

Feet's European Odyssey 2001 - Part II

On my second day in Italy I gave up trying to connect to the internet with my laptop - the hotel phone system and my modem just couldn't seem to communicate. In a way it ws a relief; trying to post updates after a long day on the sand pile starts feeling like a major chore when I would rather be relxing over a cold one with the other sculptors.
Midway through the 4-day contest we had made it half way down the largest (approx. 9' tall) form and I had made some good progress on my "doomsday machine." Though I was heartily sick of carving butterflies, I thought we had it happening.... but Carl (my team mate) was less than thrilled with the way Mother Earth was shaping up. Was his unhappiness with the piece in any way responsible for the disaster that confronted us the next morning? He sure seemed to think so --

Sunday Morning
We arrived at the site yesterday to find a pile of unorganized sand where the main part of our sculpture used to be. Carl reckons it was the heavy clump of hair, severely undercut, that brought the thing down. Since we had not yet stripped the bottom form, we were able to do a new pound up on top of it in record time - about an hour. By noon we were nearly down to where we had been before the collapse and both agreed that the replacement piece had more grace, flow and dynamics then the first one. Two of the other teams experienced collapses as well - this sand does not seem to be quite as wonderful as everyone thought it was.
Today is the final day and we have much ground to cover. At the moment we look like we are doing two separate sculptures and so making them relate to each other is the top priority.

the machine

"Doomsday Machine" - in progress.

Below: Mama Terra II takes shape - that's me carving at the right in what may be the last photo I will ever have of that pith helmet...


Dutch recovery

Above: the Dutch team's recovery

Right: Waiting for the afternoon start, keeping cool in the water tubs (from left - Carl, Lars, Martin and Roberto)

I felt especially bad for the Dutch team. They had attempted very difficult piece - a huge abstract featuring a monstrous gravity-defying arch that seemed suspended in space. Their comeback piece was was remarkable as well, though lacking the size impact of the first sculpture.
Because there had been so many collapses on Saturday, the event organizers suggested that we might want to forego Sunday's lunch break and work right through until judging time, adding two hours to the carving day. The idea was put to a vote and - luckily for us, as it turned out - all the sculptors agreed.

cooling off

Cervia street

I used my lunch break on Saturday to go in search of a net cafe -- which also gave me a chance to see a little bit more of Cervia. I had no time to look at the mountain of e-mail that I was sure had accumulated in my in-box - I was more concerned with how I was going to get back to London in time for my Thursday morning flight back to Houston and what kind of fun I could have on the way. I had purchased a limited Eurail pass that was valid in France, Italy, and the Benelux nations (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) - which somewhat limited my options. One of the Dutch teams - Lars and Martin - suggested I meet them in Amsterdam and that sounded like a grand idea. While on the web, I discovered that I could make it from Milan to Amsterdam in about 14 hours which would put me in Holland sometime Tues. morning if I left Cervia on Monday.

left - Cervia in the summertime

Waiting for the Results to be announced....

from India

Manas Kumar from India...


Sudarsan Pattanaik (India) and Pavel Zadaniouk & Alex Diakov from Russia


And now a word from our sponsor... Santal - the active drink! (You would be amazed how carrot and orange juices can be combined into something so yummy!!! (Carl and Daniel Doyle - Ireland)

Santal Dancers

The Santal Dancers - maybe the local equivelent of the Bud Girls???


in the stands - the dj gets everyone dancing in a frenzy of anticipation

Sunday Evening
USA Wins!
It has been a long time indeed since I came home with a 1st place trophy - and it is Carl's first, ever. Yes we are thrilled with victory -- made all the sweeter by the amazing sculptures created by our worthy opponents. I was especially surprised that we were able to beat the Russian team's piece, a beautiful (and anatomically correct) Europa and the bull which took second place as well as People's Choice. We were the only team to use all the extra time and made an amazing recovery from yesterday's disaster.
I believe I am ready for that cold beer, now....

the winners!

mama terra

"Mother Nature, Inc. "(Mama Terra, Inc.) - by Carl Jara and sandy feet (USA)
A statement on how corporate and political interests have enchained and taken over control of our planet and its natural resources. Mother Nature extends her hands upward in a swirling DNA double spiral of butterflies - a beautiful image contrasted by the machinery and computer stuff that is controlling her. (see more pictures of this sculpture here.)

next installment: celebration ensues... and the journey home (with a quick stop in Holland!) - click here!

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