2016 May 16
Today was a welcome reprieve from out hectic schedule of the last few days. The only thing on the agenda is a bus ride to Jianshan City. Waking up early does not seem to be a problem here and today is no exception. If I am awake and in my room, I keep the door open. I never know when one of the players, or Robert will need me for something. I packed last night, so I was just reading when I decided to go to breakfast well before our scheduled time. There was only one person in there and it was a Cheer Squad girl. More of our group trickled in slowly and by the time I was done eating pretty much everyone who was going to eat breakfast had arrived.
I decided to walk across the street to see the awesome hotel next door. It is the Sheridan Huzhou. Google it. It’s an amazing oval building overlooking a marina. Steve Weingarten, LaSalle Univ., joined me and we had a great time walking around. We just strolled in like we owned the place, took an elevator to the 25th floor, walked out onto a balcony and enjoyed the amazing views. On the apron of the property was some shopping, but it was too early for the places to be open. We took some pictures and ventured back to the hotel. By 9:15, we were all on the bus and on the road.
The ride seemed quick, about 2 hours, and our new hotel seemed like a palace. It has an elevator inside…oOoOo. After checking in, getting the laundry out into the hallway, and eating lunch, the guys were free to spend the day as they pleased. I stayed in and relaxed. I thought I was going to watch some sports or a movie, but napping turned out to be the winner. Dinner was the usual offerings and several of us decided we would walk around afterward to see what was close by. But before the walk, PEAK Athletics had delivered a box of goodies for us: sneakers, wrist bands, socks, etc. When free merchandise is involved it always looks like a feeding frenzy. I carefully organized it into piles easily consumed by the players. This went pretty smoothly and I think each player got what they wanted. Unfortunately, PEAK underestimated how many large size (15 and up) shoes we needed. The guys didn’t seem to mind as they took a smaller size pair in anticipation of using them as gifts. It was good to see a positive spin on what may have turned into a problem.
There were 5 of us all together on the walk. Tyler, Kyle, Jordan, and Aly Ahmed (CSU-Bakersfield). We just walked about a half mile down one side of the street and back up the other. It’s nice to spend time with the players casually. No expectations, no pressure. We drew some attention as not only Americans, but tall Americans. Most people just watched, a few were brave enough to come over and ask for pictures. We went into a clothing store that sold Galvin Kline, yup Galvin, and Chanel, yup just one “n”. We couldn’t stop laughing. Toward the end we slipped into a market and picked up some fruit. I almost had my first successful haggling purchase for a suitcase. I am going to need one soon to carry the freebies I have been getting on the trip. But alas, we could not find a happy medium, so it will have to wait.
As we were checking out, we saw a cooler with beer, Budweiser beer at that. Aly told me that he would buy the beer he owed me from an ill-advised bet he made me earlier. He bragged about a patented move he likes and I said I didn’t think it would work. When we got back to the hotel, Aly and I spent the next couple hours talking. He was drinking beer and eating fruit and I was drinking beer and enjoying the cigar I brought from home. It was a very relaxing end to the day