Sunday, December 9, 2007


So, welcome to the Benny and Sacha ... ah, just kidding. It's Sacha's blog coming to you live from Changsha. It's 8:08 p.m. here on Sunday night, and we've just finished dinner. The food so far has been fantastic. I must say my favorite so far has been the 'noodle' guy. He's making homemade noodles right in front of us, and the technique he uses to braid and separate the dough is pretty cool. Hunter Freeman watched him work for about 10 minutes and never even got soup.

The trip was fairly long. It was a 13 hour flight to Beijing from Los Angeles - fortunately I spent 10 hours of it in Sleepytown. During the layover in Beijing, Charlie Davies, Robbie Rogers and I desperately wanted to get noodles, but we couldn't find a good option and it turned out the layover was more like a quick hustle through the airport, so no dice. The only other thing of note was the temperature - it's really cold in Beijing at the moment. Another two hour flight to Changsha, where we were greeted by the local sports authorities and members of the hotel staff. First time I've ever been handed a bouquet of roses. Hopefully the photo with the 'rose ladies' comes out. The bus ride to the hotel took about 30 minutes, and when I walked into the lobby, the first image that came to mind is the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The dome in the lobby is painted like the Sistine Chapel, and there are frescoes all over the walls. Really not what you would expect on your first trip to China; nonetheless, this place is pretty sweet.

We went to the stadium complex in the afternoon for a quick kick around. We trained on the field adjacent to the stadium and it's in great shape. There were about 30 people watching the session, including a handful of journalists. I did my first interview over here, and was a little surprised how much the press knew about the roster, the team's results this year and our upcoming schedule. I guess everybody reads! (you're welcome, communications staff.)

We had a solid week of training in L.A., and I think the group is excited to be here. Not just because it's our first trip to China, but there is a genuine sense that the competition for spots on the qualifying roster are up for grabs. In many ways, it feels like the start of an adventure.

Well, time to crash. Coach Nowak is giving us the option of sleeping in tomorrow morning, and I think I'll take him up on it. Check back in later this week and I'll give you the goods on the trip.



Brice said...

make us proud sacha! Glad to hear how well everything is over there. Have fun and a great game!

natalie said...

you should go solo and make your own podcast ;)

blahblah said...

So, welcome to the Benny and Sacha ...