So our travel day began at 2 A.M on Tuesday, when we woke up and drove to Miami Airport. In an attempt to try to begin getting ourselves adjusted to China time, we had to make ourselves stay awake on the van ride over to Miami (an hour and a half), as well as our first flight to Chicago. So we blasted some music on the car ride (a lot of Adele, Taylor Swift, and even some Disney sing-a-longs.. sorry Bryce and Sean!). Once we got to Chicago, we had about an hour and a half layover, so me, Haley, Claire and Alex went to a breakfast place to enjoy one last American meal before we left. The flight over went smoothly, and I was actually able to sleep a total of 6 or 7 hours! I almost slept through the first meal though, so by the time I woke up they only had the vegetarian option left.. I’m not really sure what it was, some combination of cheese and veggies wrapped in a pastry-ish thing..but I have to say, it wasn’t too bad.. I thought of you Kir.
Anyway, we got to Shanghai International Airport around 1:30, where we were greeted by Chinese students who are volunteers working for the World Championships. They were really helpful in escorting us quickly through customs and then to get our luggage. Our translator, Claire, was also really helpful! We then had about an hour and a half bus ride to our hotel, Royal Tulips on the Beach. The hotel is super nice, and I’m rooming with Haley again! All of the open water athletes are required to stay at this hotel, as well as eat all meals here.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of food, but was pleasantly surprised, especially by breakfast, where they had omlettes, fantastic banana bread, muffins, toast.. as well as fried rice, tomatoes, lo mein.. and then a few things that we were unsure of. However, I did try some new things, including a doughy pastry filled with some type of sweet jelly/jam, which was called “reception”. After the meals, we usually head to the team room to get some extra protein and food we’re used to.. today’s after lunch included quite a few spoonfuls of good old Jif.
We’ve gone out on the course three times now, and had some good practices! The course is a 2,500 meter loop, with big orange buoys every 100 meters, so we are able to do many different sets utilizing different buoys/distances, etc. In addition, there is a practice course that is a 250 meter loop. The water has been discoloring our suits a little bit. They’re now red, brown and blue, rather than red, white and blue, haha. But a little muck isn’t going to hurt anyone...besides that, everything has been great! The security at the hotel (and everywhere) is pretty intense – we all have credentials that have to be scanned to get into the hotel and race venue. Our bags also have to go through screenings upon entering and exiting each time – really similar to airport security! Each floor of the hotel also has a security guard.
Well, its about time to head to dinner, so that’s all for now! I believe it’s Thursday morning back in the U.S., so good luck to Rose who is swimming the mile today at Sectionals!! OH, also thanks to Jess, because Giron (my pig pillow pal) was a total life saver on the flight over! And lastly, thanks to Ryan (my brother) for posting these blog entries for me.. I can’t get onto the blog site here because it’s blocked! As well as Facebook and Twitter. I guess it’ll be good detox for me..Missing everyone back in the States, but loving it here in China so far!!