Saturday, December 15, 2007


Peter Nowak and other members of the delegation attended the Official Reception dinner last night, which was hosted by Guangzhou Mayor Mr. Zhang Guangning. In attendance were officials from the Chineese Football Association, the Guangzhou Football association, the Local Organizing Committe, and the head coach of the Chinese U23s. All together, there were 20 people exchanging gifts and stories. A few highlights (have you noticed we are fond of lists on this trip?):

a) The 12-course meal was simply fantastic. At the risk of sounding obvious, Chinese food is MUCH better here than at home. The Cantonese style is to use less thick sauce and maintain more original flavor of the food. Very tasty.

2) One delicacy the U.S. delegation had not eaten before - sea horse. Once we got over the mental block, we can report that it tastes ... crunchy.

3) The Chinese tradition is for each official to go around the table and make an individual toast to the other guests. If you review the guest list from above, you'll see that's a lot of toasts.

4) The Mayor and the head of the Sports Commission are huge NBA fans, as are many of the Chinese we have met. Milwaukee Bucs forward Yi Jianlian is from this province. They have been invited as guests of the NBA to the 2008 All-Star Game in New Orleans.

The pleasantries over, we're now only five hours away from getting down to business. Once again, the Chinese media and fans are placing big pressure on their team to get a victory.

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