It’s 3:30am, alarm goes off. 3:32 another alarm. 3:35 my 3rd alarm. 3:40 I’m finally up, but still laying in bed trying to brace myself for the travel day that lies ahead. As well as lingering thoughts of my three set loss the day before. I brush my teeth quickly and I’m on my way out. Fog covers the city of Gwangju completely. The taxi driver honking his horn every time he passes an intersection to make sure no one else passes through. I was told by the hotel that getting to the bus station would take 20 minutes. I arrived at the bus terminal in 10 minutes. The taxi driver dropped me off and I was just thinking about how I could have had 10 more min of sleep. And also how dangerous the drive was considering that you could not see 10 feet ahead. I patiently waited for 30 min until it was time to leave.
Four hours to the airport….yep you heard correct. Four hours. The first thing I noticed when boarding the bus, no bathroom. I’m getting the two water bottles out of my bag and thinking this is probably a bad idea. Okay, maybe I won’t drink any water as I munch down on a power bar. Luckily, the bus driver makes a pit stop at the middle point. But with no announcement, he just leaves the bus. Unsure of how much time I have to go to the bathroom and maybe pick up a snack, I run like the wind to the bathroom and only have time to pick up a bag of almonds.
I get to the airport with good time. Three hours before my flight to China. As a foreigner I think China may be one of the tougher countries to travel to and to understand the culture. The Chinese people can be a bit rude and brash at times. Why? I’m not so sure. So as soon as I arrive to the gate before boarding the plane I feel an instant Chinese presence. People yelling at each other, people cutting you in the boarding line, and people bumping into you. It can be a zoo. A short 2 hour flight to my destination, Nanjing. Very manageable. It’s already been a 12 hour day and now I need to grab a taxi to take me to the tennis courts. It’s a one hour taxi ride plus 30 min of the taxi driver not knowing the exact location.
At this point in the day I’m starting to get delirious with lack of sleep and food. But somehow you need to muster up enough energy to get a short tennis practice in. Usually I like to drop my luggage off at the hotel first, but this time I have no choice. I finish practice at 5:30pm. A tournament shuttle bus is supposed to arrive at 6pm to take players to the hotel. Bus arrives at 6:30. Pretty much starving at this point. A couple of us players manage to find a place to eat after checking in. For those of you who have had authentic Chinese food (not Orange Chicken or General Tso’s chicken) know just how much Chinese love to grease up and put tons of oil in their food. Great way to end the day!
You can find me here for the week…
Well somewhere on that map 😉