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(Photo upload still not working, sorry…)

We got up nice and early this morning to have our team meeting.  Then Katie, Tyler, Jacob, and I ran off to McDonald’s for some bizarre Chinese fast food.  (It was also one of the only places open that wasn’t hotel food.)  When we got back, our team bus failed to arrive, so we got to walk as an entire team with hockey equipment through the busy streets, into the crowded subway, and onto the train line to Jordan.  Our team was seriously struggling at getting anywhere as a group, or at getting through the turnstiles with equipment, and even taking the train in the correct direction…but we eventually made it to the rink.  We were also mostly sporting Team USA clothing and were the focus of many local photos and surely subsequent Instagram posts. #omgthey’resocool

The walk was hot.  And it just got hotter.  And we started skating for our 2.5 hour session and I felt like I had a fever, my face got so hot.  We started by skating really hard laps, then some drills, and finally we had a water break and scrimmaged.  Oh, and we had a GoPro selfie session in uniforms.  That was interesting.  The Swedish team came on right about then and probably wondered what kind of team used practice time for selfies.  Anyway, we scrimmaged for a little more before packing it up and handing the ice over.  The team looks fairly decent, actually.  We ended up combining three collapsed teams, so we have 2 youth team members, 4 women, and 8 men I believe – 1 of each category being a goalie.  Our team is pretty diverse, and we were lucky enough to recruit a Pro/NHL player and his brother.  We have another practice tomorrow, then games start on Wednesday.  We have the first game of the whole Cup so we’ll see how it goes.

After practice, we all went back to the hotel to shower and meet up for lunch.  After walking briefly, the group started heading towards a pasta joint.  This is where we divided.  Half of us did NOT want to come to China to eat Italian.  So I followed assistant coach Mr. Weedman, his son Carl, Jacob, Tyler, Katie, our female goalie Sarah, and two men’s players (John and who we are now nicknaming “Bear”) over to the Ladies Market.  We tried to find the Tim Ho Wan dim sum place and a local even pulled out his phone to no avail.  Turns out the place has closed, but we ended up choosing a Sichuan place that filed the store where the other place was.  This lunch was pretty amazing.  We had beers all the way around and everyone ordered something new.  We even got a platter of thousand year old eggs and everyone who hadn’t tasted them before got to taste the yellow and green (local) ones.  We were passing dishes back and forth, tasting everything on the table.  There was a lot of laughing and we were the focus of the waitstaff’s entertainment for quite some time.  We even confirmed “mh-goi” and “do-jeh” proper usages.

After the lunch, we walked back to the Ladies Market and wandered through blocks of crowded shops.  Jacob and I weren’t too amused by buying random little trinkets, but there were some real things for good prices.  I did buy a small gift for a friend but didn’t bother haggling because it wasn’t much to begin with.  Jacob and I then wandered into a mall to find a bathroom and bought some stuff at Starbucks.  (I got some spearmint drink I haven’t seen in any other Starbucks before.)  We wandered the mall and noticed how absolutely tiny the stores were, like little boxes in a shoe closet.  When we returned to the end of the Ladies Market, the other kids hadn’t even reached the end of the half we had walked.  Mr. Weedman had already walked to the end with us and was planning to walk to the far end so we went looking for him.  We walked the whole stretch of the market and never saw him.  We knew the others were taking their time buying a bunch of stuff so we decided to pull out our maps and do something else before the sun went down.

It was about 4pm so we didn’t have too much time.  We decided to run into the station, transfer to another line, then take the East Rail up into the New Territories which border mainland China.  We stopped in Sha Tin and wandered up the hillside to the 10,000 Buddhas temple.  We literally ran up about 1/2 mile of stairs (even after my practice AND walking around the markets all day) to try to make it in the doors before close.  We managed to make it into the monastery and walk around.  There were Buddhas EVERYWHERE.  We looked for Amah Rock among the mountains from the view.  It felt like the China you see on wall art in restaurants.  It was much more rural and peaceful than Hong Kong city.

We swatted mosquitos on our way back down the mountain and caught the line all the way to the end of the rail.  We got out and walked back to the hotel then decided to take a nap.  Katie and Tyler were already napping when we got back.  Then Tyler’s dad called and they went to get dinner with him, so we decided to try Gaylord’s again for Indian food.  It was open this time and we shared some Saag Paneer.  From the restaurant, we wandered along the shoreline of Victoria Harbor and took photos of the impressive lights on the skyline.  Some skyscrapers were lit up to look like “Season’s Greetings” cards.  We got to see some live music and sculptures and even a bell in a tower before heading back for the night.  Practice again in the morning!