Sept. 17, 2009

On this our eighth day in New Zealand we’ve been having quite the fun time. Our captors here have been treating us quite well, it’s probably because…. Oh wait, we’re in Denmark for the world championships!

This day wasn’t so bad. B Rupp and I got up at 8am and went to breakfast. After breakfast we ended up getting talked into going for a quick trip downtown with coach Chandler that would take “no longer than an hour… max!” Said walk started around 9am. When downtown we ended having a pretty good time. I’m glad I remembered to bring my camera (pictures already in the gallery) because there are some interesting things to look at downtown. I previously mentioned the prices in this country being extremely high, for proof I took a few shots of “sale prices” on a few items that I saw while we were walking around. We walked along the creek/stream/canal that flows through downtown and after walking through a mall (no, the canal did not run through the mall) we headed down towards the harbor. We stumbled upon a bike rack and coach Chandler happened to be inquisitive enough to read the sign on the bikes that said they were FREE! It was pretty cool, if you put a 20kr (I hope that’s actually the abrev. for the money here) piece in this box it will unlock the bike and when you return it you will get your money back. While on the bikes (is anyone paying attention to the list of activities and the probable elapsed time?) we rode down to the harbor and towards a beach. We never made it to the beach (time constraints) but we did take a peak at some jelly fish that were swimming next to the docks where some yachts were and we stopped in on a couple fish shops that were pretty cool as well.

Long story short, we made it back from our “hour long walk” by 12:25 or so. We had just enough time to go to the bathroom, pack a bag, check one or two emails and hit the bus for practice. For practice we had a few short goes on the feet and a couple mins of work in par tarre. Nothing too crazy but enough to get the heart rate up and get a good sweat going. During practice coach Momir asked me how I was feeling, so I told him that my legs were a bit tired from the “hour long walk” I had earlier (exaggerating the point by saying coach Chandler made us ride sprints up hill). He didn’t like that too much at first, but laughed about it later.

After practice Brandon and I went back downtown for a little bit just to check the place out during the evening. There were a few more people mulling around but we gathered that with our two trips today we were probably there outside of the prime daytime hours for the town (somewhere between noon and 5pm). We did have kebabs but they were disappointing and don’t deserve much more mention that that.

When the day finally wound down I made a few skype calls and grabbed some photos that Chas has been taking (already posted in the gallery with appropriate credits) to get a slightly different perspective in my gallery. Now it’s time for me to watch my latest addiction, The Wire, that I convinced a buddy to borrow to me for this trip. It’s no 24 but it’s extremely engaging.

As I’ve mentioned a few times above, I’ve added a few more photos to the gallery. Also, I have a short video of Jake Fisher doing a front flip off a spring board yesterday that I’m trying to upload to this post. If I feel like taking the time I’ll upload it and stick it in this post. Well, if you actually read this post before you watched the video you should take a gander at his impressive aerial acrobatics below. Sorry about the format, If I get around to it I’ll make it so you don’t have to download it and can simply stream it instead. MOV01843

I hope you enjoyed this installment.

Sept. 16, 2009

With our first full day in Denmark complete, we’ve got our rhythm down and our schedule established.

It turns out that even though the exchange rate here is 5kr to $1, I would have to say that this is one of the most expensive countries I’ve been to yet. When in a new country I like to use the “basket of goods” approach to see how everything compares to home. My typical measuring stick/basket includes a bottle of water, a snickers bar (probably the best candy bar on the planet), a McDonald combo meal, and a bottle of peach flavored Nestea. As it stands so far I’ve paid (using the 5kr to $1 rough conversion) both $3 and $5.5 for two different 1L bottles of Nestea, I couldn’t bring myself (we’ll see how long that lasts) to pay $2.50 for a snickers bar in a grocery store, and I haven’t had to buy water (the drinking water seems drinkable) or go to McDonalds (which is about 5 kilometers from our hotel). I was going to buy a Coke instead of the Nestea but it was just as expensive so I stuck with the Nestea. I’m glad to have a training partner like B Rupp (Brandon Rupp) because he was nice enough to bring me a huge bag of pistachio nuts; especially because he went and picked it up while he had to wait a day to get here with the flight cancellations. Also, lucky for me, I had two snickers packed away in my bag that are helping me to satisfy my hunger and avoid paying $2.50 a piece to do so.

Even though things are rather expensive here, things are going smoothly. Everyone is here and almost everyone has their luggage (I finally received mine about an hour before our workout today). We took a walk to the store just before practice to stretch the legs a bit and get some stuff for sandwiches. The town is really clean and everyone I’ve spoken with speaks pretty plain English. Apart from seeing the signs that aren’t in English, I could easily forget that I’m in a foreign country. For practice today we just warmed up and rolled around a bit to get all the traveling out of our systems. It was just what I needed to help me adjust. After practice we came back to the hotel and some of us had a quick sauna before we had a team dinner. I think a few of us were in sync at dinner because we brought our cameras and snapped a couple pictures (some of which I have posted in the gallery). After dinner some went into town to peak around a bit. I went to see A Rod (Rod Rodriguez, our trainer for the trip) to make sure I’m in good working order for next weekend. Now most of us are back in our rooms and winding down for the night. Our first full day is complete and we’re one day closer to the dance.

Selected pics from the day (more in the gallery):
Kitchen in the wrestling room In the wrestling room At dinner