Friday, 11 April 2014

2014 Pan American Racquetball Championships

I'm back into posting about tournaments! This series will follow mine and Team Canada's shenanigans at the 2014 Pan American Racquetball Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia being held April 11-19, 2014. Hope you enjoy!

Well it’s been a fairly eventful 36 hours. Most of it was pretty uninteresting though so I’ll get you caught up point form:

Tuesday April 8:

4:10am – awoke following a 3hr “sleep”. Wanting to get work done as well as enjoy an evening with my wife AND get packed for a 2 week trip worked out to a later evening than I expected.

5:40am – following a drive through breakfast at Tim Hortons and an uneventful check in, my first flight took off for Toronto.

10:54am – a 3.5hr nap later I landed in Toronto. I had an almost 4 hour layover so I was in no rush when I grabbed a snack and found a spot to plug in my laptop and enjoy some Netflix while I ate. After about an hour I packed up and headed to my gate where the next leg of my journey to Miami would begin. My teammate Jen Saunders met up with me about an hour before departure and we were able to chat a bit before boarding.

2:45pm – The plane departed for Miami and while I had hopes of visiting with Jen a bit on the plane once we were in the air, I fell asleep immediately after takeoff and didn’t awake again until just before we began our descent.

6:05pm – We landed in Miami. Jen had been in this airport many times and more recently than I, so she knew a good spot to grab a bite. Since we were both in the mood for a burger, we made our way over to “The Counter”. For those unfamiliar, “The Counter” is a fully customizable burger restaurant. You choose your bun, your meat, your toppings, and your side(s). My order consisted of an all beef patty with standard hamburger bun, lettuce, pickles, and peppers for toppings. I also got a garlic aoli to go on top, with a side of fries and a milkshake to drink. It was a great meal to start a great trip! After eating, we headed to our departure gate where Cal Smith, Jack McBride, and Coby Iwasaa met up with us shortly before our departure for Bolivia.

11:00pm – the second last flight leg we had departed Miami for La Paz, Bolivia. This was a red eye flight that would arrive the next morning so we received the benefit of a meal and movie during the trip. I did eat the meal, although it was nothing to write home about, and slept the rest of the flight.

Wednesday April 9:

5:35am – we arrived in La Paz, Bolivia. Our flight would continue on to Santa Cruz in about an hour, but we had to land and let off about half the passengers for whom La Paz was their final destination. Once they had deplaned, the crew swept through the plan quickly to prep for our next leg.

6:40am – we departed La Paz for Santa Cruz. This last leg was the shortest and while I was excited to be in Bolivia, that feeling was completely overshadowed by the overwhelming exhaustion and stiffness that had by now permeated my entire body. I literally wanted nothing more than a bed and some decent sleep.

8:00am – we finally arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, our final destination! Of course our journey wasn’t quite over as we had to deplane, clear Bolivian customs, collect our luggage and find the local group who would be transporting us to our hotel. Luckily this process, while time-consuming, wasn’t especially difficult, and we were boarded onto the bus and on our way to the hotel in about an hour.

10:00am – after arriving at the hotel we were of course told that our rooms wouldn’t be ready until the afternoon so we got luggage tags for our bags and went to test out the hotel restaurant.

10:30am – after walking around to two different eating establishments on the premises, we were directed back to the first as the people who told us it was closed were mistaken… ugh… we were finally able to sit down and order but having been up since 5am it felt more like lunch than breakfast so I ordered a club sandwich. What I was presented with vaguely resembled a club as it did have the requisite 3 slices of bread, but never before have I been presented with a sandwich claiming to be a club with roast beef in it. I was too hungry to argue though, so I quietly scarfed down the misfit sandwich without complaint.

12:00pm – after we finished eating we decided, having no other options really, to head back to the lobby and check on the status of our rooms. The rooms were still not ready to go so we all found places to sit down in the lobby. As luck would have it I found what must have been the most comfortable couch in all of Bolivia as I was passed out on it within minutes. I awoke hours later to Coby poking my shoulder and softly informing me that our rooms were finally ready.

3ish pm? – I’m not entirely sure of the time here because we got into the room and unpacked but were greeted by beds in each of the three rooms housed within so without exaggerating too much I was again asleep within minutes.

6/7pm – I awoke several hours later feeling moderately better. My body was still not happy with the way I had treated it the last day and a half, but at least now that we had what resembled a home I could settle in. Coby and I headed back down to the SOHO restaurant, meeting up with Jen and Cal down there to grab some dinner before retreating back to the room. I’m not completely sure how, but I did manage to fall asleep before midnight and hoped that this meant my body wouldn’t be feeling the effects too much the next day.

Thanks for reading so far! I’ll update on the next couple of days tomorrow, including our first practices on the court as well as a virtual tour of the villa we’re staying in and pictures of the unfinished club! Opening ceremonies are tonight and I’ll have a post about those in the next couple of days. Cheers for now!

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