29 May 2014

Visiting Sica in Jiujiang

At the start of May, I went to visit Sica in Jiujiang, who was there with the American women's basketball team. Getting there required trips by taxi, plane, bus, train, and subway. Also, there was a fight with a guy who tried to take me in his fake taxi. All the trouble was worth it.

Nice Hotel Room photo 2014-05-02130434_zps189eb8b3.jpg
When I first walked into Sica's hotel room, I thought, "This is nicer than our place in Shanghai," and right after I thought that, she said, "This is the worst hotel so far." Ha.

Dog Like Kota photo 2014-05-02105557_zpsa7c4798a.jpg
We went for a walk and saw this very calm dog that looked just like Kota but a bit lighter.

We also walked back into a park and found a temple-looking thing on a hill, so we went into it and saw some adults doing tai chi while a little girl with the cutest white puppy danced around. I got to hold the puppy. It was fun to try to use my meager Mandarin skills with the people there. Later, a guy asked if he could take a picture of us, but I told him no thanks. I was happily surprised that he even asked.

First Blonde Haircut photo 2014-05-01185316_zps4df0cf95.jpg
Sica mentioned she needed a trim, so we walked into a salon with all guys and I did my best to translate that she just wanted a little bit off and that we only had 45 minutes. The workers were amused at trying to communicate with me. When they asked why we were in Jiujiang, I tried to explain by saying that Sica was a doctor for basketball people. Ha. When I used Google Translate for "athletic trainer," they then thought she helped them work out and get strong—I hope someone comes up with a better title for Sica's job soon. I asked the guy who did the trimming if he'd cut blonde hair before and he said it was the first time. He did a good job. I think the total was like 20 kuai, which is a little more than three bucks. Nice.

Athletic Trainer Taping photo 2014-05-01200157_zps4fd38ddd.jpg
It was awesome to watch Sica get the athletes ready for the game. I even got to help out by putting Gatorade powder in water, writing names on bottles and towels, and switching out the towels and water bottles as the team rotated.

Apparently Jiujiang really wants to have the Olympics there and the city has already built the arenas and is working on the athlete housing! The sports arena where the competition was played had Olympic rings in front of it. I don't know if that's allowed if you haven't actually been granted the Olympics . . .

Chinese Cheerleaders photo 2014-05-01201615-2_zpsf6312557.jpg
I think male cheerleaders are cool. I was surprised that they had their stomachs hanging out, though. I guess consistency is good?

This is the Chinese team (in red) and the American team (in white) warming up. A lot of the Chinese players had horrible haircuts—the same ones that girls in middle school are required to have at a lot of schools.

Coach Lecturing photo 2014-05-01211912_zpsed1e8261.jpg
The game was so much more fascinating when you kind of know the players and when you get to hear what the coach says. I was amazed when he gave pre-game and half-time lectures. He used all sorts of lingo I didn't know and showed that he had paid close attention to the other team.

Other Athletic Trainer Duties photo 2014-05-01222759_zps09d6d0dc.jpg
The U.S. team won the entire championship. A part of Sica's job that most people don't know about is taking pictures. :) Apparently the Chinese women were taken out of regular school several years ago and they are in a sports school where they train full-time. You'd think they would have won.

Tallest U.S. and Chinese Players photo 2014-05-01224201-2_zps90e440d3.jpg
These are the two tallest players, I think. People flocked to take a picture of #7 because she is part Taiwanese (I think that's right; I do know for sure that she speaks Mandarin), gorgeous, friendly, and clearly talented.

There is Pizza in Jiujiang photo 2014-05-02111930_zps1370e37a.jpg
The translator kept telling us on the way back to the hotel that there's no pizza in Jiujiang, and the coach was so sick of hearing no as the answer to everything that he goaded him on, saying, "If we find out that there is pizza, will you pay for it?" and the translator agreed. So I googled it and looked it up on Dianping and showed them the results on my phone. That's when the translator (who looked like Kermit the Frog and who was very adept at jumping into pictures where he shouldn't be) backpedaled and said he thought the coach meant Pizza Hut. So the next day when we were walking around and found this cute little cafe with pizza, we had to take a picture.

Luckily, the bus taking the team to the airport in Nanchang had extra seats and I was able to catch a ride.

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