Road Trip to Baishan City: famous for its natural mineral water...

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Well, where to begin...I spent the better part of two hours trying to retrieve the previous reflections and had to rewrite the first part of it, as my Word skills and saving wires got crossed and there was no Jay Arnold (my wonderful Co-Director along with Coach Guy Perry of FSLT) around to "save" me, let alone my document...That really bummed me out, to say the least, but I stayed with it and finished a pretty good "blogit"...haven't heard that word, so I guess I'll use it for now...

Bus Ride: my guy, the Bussey is one dynamic creature of God...He is so brave, I couldn't believe the cars, people, carts, dump trucks, buses and whatever else that was in front of him this morning, that he passed...I had sit in my "this is where Head Coach sit..." seat, which I now call "Headache Coach" seat...anyway, back to Bussey, he's about 40 years old, short, great smile and I mean no fear...I hadn't noticed how tall he was until this morning when he got off the bus first at another "rest stop" and noticed that he had "bowed legs"...which meant that indeed he does "have" Brass ones, for adults who understand me here...

Our trip was not going to allow me to close my eyes for a minute as he played something in "B-minor" (remember the 5,000 beeps he used the day before?) the entire 4 and a half hours to this North Eastern city...we're not far from the North Korean border, and yes, it's safe, I did not see one mushroom cloud from afar on this clear and beautiful day in Baishan...The redevelopment that is going on in cities like this one is a sight to behold, new high rises for people wanting to move into the city with their lives...interesting contrast: beautiful countryside, acres and acres of grapes, corn, rice fields and sunflowers at season's end, yet the tranquility and peace of mind removed from urban life beckons their children today and NOT their parents...which means that in 25 years, China will be faced with a crisis related to where do we find the workers for the fields? Mark it down...it's coming sooner than you think...I counted 14 cranes in this 200.000 city, and I'm not talking of the Whooping variety at all here...The infrastructure of apartment buildings mostly is outlined by these icons as reminders of progress where having electricity 50 years ago was difficult to predict...Baishan, check it out...

Along the way: I saw one bird fly across the street so fast, not high, but figured it had a better chance to 'live' flying low than high, I guess...As we approached Baishan, I could not believe the large and I mean large NUMBER of Lady Bugs that became an abstract work of art on our Bussey's windshield...Seriously, I've never seen so many Lady Bugs in my life...coupled with some large moths also, you know, yellow in pastel hues they were across the glass...then after about 10 mins. of making our way through their maze, they were gone, none to be seen and in 5 mins. we were in the city limits...Now, good people, we've all driven I-5 and dotted our windshields with some interesting bugs, I'm sure, but let me tell you something here, imagine having a 60"x12foot window absorbing impact objects at 60mph in the mountains...I shoulda taken picture...tomorrow for sure...

Arrival and Lunch: well, my stomach was calm and Dr. Pepto's advice carried over well this morning before I left on this trip as I had nothing to eat or drink...so I felt I could "try" the boiled broccoli and French fries, not a lot, but enough to give me something to down...There was however one problem that occurred that I am sure WON'T happen again as long as I am coach...We, meaning myself, DuJuan and Steve, two Americans on team with me, were put into private room with our translator, Joe Guan, actually my personal assistant that has been great and so helpful to me this past week...That really bothered me completely, as I did not like us being separated from the team, and Joe says that usually that's the custom here, the Chinese players eat in one room and the Americans eat in the other...I told him never again...we're a team, we practice together, play together, travel together, win together, lose together and we will EAT together...He totally agreed with me and passed this on to the Asst. Coach, YoYo for me, and Pancake, the other translator...I think it was also a 'way' for them to get out of a short "meeting" after eating to listen to my thoughts on what we need to focus upon tonight in the game...So, I get them all at 5:00, when they sit down again and "snack" on something before the game...I'll take 10 mins. and go over some adjustments that we'll make based upon the replay of the game I finished watching on our trip up here...I only had to watch 2 qtrs., otherwise, my "plyos" would be kickin in again and I didn't want Bussey to stop along the road at a "Rest Area" for MY needs...Post game will follow tomorrow...

Hope y'all enjoy my adventures, I'm having a great experience and want to share it with friends and family when I can...Coach tom

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