Then something hit me. It was Saturday morning. The team was scheduled to leave Sunday morning. Eff. I had ONE day to pack up my entire apartment. Since I won't be going back to my apartment before I head home for my week break and then head straight to Austria, I had to separate my stuff into things I was leaving in Cali, things I had to take to Austria, and things I needed for Pan Am Games. And all the things I needed for Austria and Pan Am (which ended up being two overweight suitcases) would leave with me Sunday morning. Let the stressing begin! After a full day of packing and organizing, I got my apartment cleaned out and I was ready for the trip!
We were scheduled to leave the gym on a bus to LAX at 5:30 the next morning. The bus didn't show up til 6:00. Perfect. Great start to the day of traveling. We got to the airport and checked in and got to the gate right in time for the start of boarding. The lady at the desk announced, "We will now begin boarding first class passengers and members of the elite miles club. Also we will be boarding the US Women's Volleyball team at this time." Awesome! So we walked right up to the front of the always annoying boarding line (decked out in our USA gear) and walked right onto the plane. Little did we know that we would eventually spend a ridiculous amount of time on this very plane. We were supposed to fly into Houston, what should've been a three hour flight. We first sat on the runway at LAX for 45 minutes because they wanted to let some weather blow over in Houston. So we took off and got to Houston right on time, however the bad weather decided to hang around. As we started our decent, we experienced THE WORST TURBULANCE I HAVE EVER BEEN IN. It was awful! Like I literally thought I was gonna throw up it was so bad. We get to an elevation where we could possible be landed in like 5 minutes. I'm freaking out at this point because we are almost on the ground and we are still getting tossed around sooooooo badly. Then, out of nowhere the plane shoots upward and we start climbing back up. We then circled around and tried the same entrance over again with the same result. We were in this AWFUL turbulance for about 45 minutes. I literally (not exageratting) almost started crying. It was horrible. The pilot then came on the speaker system and told us that the cross winds were too bad and they didn't feel comfortable trying to land in these conditions and that we would be proceeding to San Antonio instead. After landing in San Antonio, the pilot told us that we would just be gassing up and getting a few more supplies while the bad clouds blew over Houston. We sat on that runway for maybe an hour and a half. Another hour flight back to Houston (which was successful) and that all added up to 8 HOURS on the same plane for what should've been a three hour flight. Can you say torturous?
However, it was soon made up to us because we headed to our Hilton hotel (in my opinion the best hotel ever!) and started our processing for the tournament during which we got a bunch of new Nike gear (including a new pair of shoes and a dufflebag/suitcase). Also, we got another surprise that I didn't know about. We all got to pick out a brand new pair of Oakleys sunglasses for free! It was awesome! And we got an amazing dinner after that and an even more amazing bed to sleep in that night (yeah that's where my priorities lie :)
The next morning was another early morning. We left the hotel at 6:30 A.M. and headed back to the Houston airport to catch our flight to Guadalajara. This flight went just as planned and we arrived in Mexico around noon. We went through customs and headed to the apartments we were staying in. They are brand new apartments and there are five of us to an apartment (kind of like how our apartments in Anaheim were set up). We went and got a work out in that night at the weight room here at the apartments. The weight room is so much nicer than I expected and even had exactly what I needed....SPIN BIKES! I got a great spin workout in. It felt good to sweat and get some of the jet lag out. We showered after that and headed to the dining hall for dinner. The food is....well.....let's just say I don't think I'll ever feel satisfied after eating a meal here. But, good news...they have fridges FULL of Pepsi at every meal! Therefore, I'm not complaining about the meals here :) After dinner we walked around and checked out the rest of The Village (thats what we call the area where the apartments are located). There is an international zone that has a bunch of different restaurants and lounges. There is even a Burger King and a Dominoes there! Yeah definitely will be hitting that up before I leave here!
Today we got two good practices there and tomorrow will be the same, I think. Here are some pictures I've taken so far. It's a pretty cool environment. It feels like a mini Olympics :)
The stadium where the Opening Ceremonies will take place.
A stage/concert area that's in the international zone. A few different music groups have performed so far.
The front of the stage.
More to come! So far I'm having a great time and trying to enjoy every moment! My very first international competition and I'm gonna make it a memorable one :) Talk to you again soon!