(Rhea, a JDHS grad and current Seattle University senior, is on a USBA All-Star team touring China).
Updated from Wednesday, May 2.
From our hotel rooms, submerged in the city, we have heard many different noises at all times of the day and night. One of those noises is a continuous chorus of car horns. To us, it seems as though they honk for no apparent reason except maybe as a way to say hello as they pass by each other. I did however learn a little more about the art of “horn honking” on our drive from the Fuling to our current city, Zhongxian.
We drove for a total of about three hours and I’d say during about 50% of the drive there a horn was being honked. Whether it was our bus driver or the other drivers on the road, there was a total of about an hour and a half of car honking! (I’m really not exaggerating. I tried to count so I would have a more accurate number but decided to stop when I got to 75.) I learned that they honk when they see a car, want to pass the car, while they pass the car, and after they pass the car or when someone or something is in the road. Besides the car honking, the driving itself was action packed and fast paced. There was absolutely no slowing down for anything in the road. We swerved around cars, buses, parked trucks, people, animals, and even a police car with their lights flashing. To make matters worse, we were doing all of this on a road with two lanes, and a lot of curves as we made our way up and down the hills. Luckily, we were still able to enjoy the scenery of rural and country land and made it to Zhongxian in one piece.
Also, since my last blog I have learned even more about the infamous thought-to-be marching band protestors. These groups are actually not protestors at all. They are groups of advertisers working for various stores that march the streets passing out fliers, coupons and holding signs to advertise for their store. I thought they may be special to Fuling but they’re not. Luckily for me, they are here in Zhongxian as well and continue to serve as my alarm clock around 7 every morning.
As for basketball, the whole reason we are on this trip, the games have been going well. We finished 2-1 in Fuling, beating Australia and New Zealand 77-47 and 73-42 respectively, and losing to China 58-56. The China game was a great experience. The crowd was in full force and very loud to the point of making it hard to hear the whistle at times. The game was close and extremely physical the entire time, with China pulling ahead with about 30 seconds left. It was a lot of fun and we are excited to have another opportunity to play them again.
Currently we are in the Zhongxian District, which is another district of Chongqing. Last night was our first game of the three game series. After another opening ceremony similar to the one before our first game, we played New Zealand following the China-Australia game. We played very well as a team and won 83-36. Everyone contributed a lot and it was a lot of fun. Today we are preparing for our rematch with China tonight.
This district seems slightly larger than the previous one; which is nice. The not so nice part is not having any TV channels in English. We have found some entertaining Chinese game shows that occasionally come on and yesterday we were able to watch an NBA playoff game. Besides that, there isn’t much on TV. Add that to having no access to social media, no YouTube, and a message saying, “sorry, Netflix hasn’t come to this part of the world yet” when you attempt to watch a movie or show online, and you’ve got the great opportunity to explore other activities and take full advantage of the Chinese experience. To say the least, we have started to become pretty creative with activities to pass time at the hotel. A lot of team bonding, card games, making up other games, mingling with other teams and some study time and our days are quite complete. For example, a couple of us bought some toy racquets, a small ball and a birdie from a street vendor, and we have had some fun with those. The creativity really came into the spotlight when the racquet broke. Very disappointed and desperate to find a solution, I used some floss to sew through the racquet netting around the frame and did a pretty fine repair job if I do say so myself. The racquet is back in action and the games can continue on- sometimes it’s the little things!
We are off to shootaround to prepare for our game against China. Hope to have a couple more wins and a few more exciting stories to share in a few days!