Yuling, China – The NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars have finally made it to Yuling, China. The flights were fine with no delays or problems. The trip took most of us more than 40 hours from the time we left our homes.
First there were domestic flights to LAX. Then a 4-6 hour layover. Then a 15 hour flight to Guangzhou. Then a three hour layover. Then a five hour fight to Urumqi. Then a two hour layover. Then, finally, a one hour flight to Yuling.
Our hotel is very nice with a good selection of food at our buffets. There even is some pizza (there was peach pizza among the lunch selections). Yuling is about 60 km from the Kazakhstan border. There are giant mountains around it and the city is in a valley. To the south is a huge desert. The weather is moderate by China standards and cools off at night because of the mountains. The main language is a Turkish derivative with Arabic script.
Last night we were treated to a dinner with the local dignitaries including the Vice-Mayor and the top sports and basketball officials. This morning we had our first practice. The local arena is brand new and our tournament will be the first games played there, The arena seats about 5,000.
The local time is different here. There really is a two hour difference from Beijing but the government wants to maintain a consistent time zone throughout the country. It seems like everything is scheduled at Beijing time but it stays lighter out an extra two hours. As if things aren’t confusing enough.
Our first game is against Lithuania tonight at 9pm. We will be headed over there before the first game between Canada and China to take part in the opening ceremonies. Lithuania will be a tough test for us tonight as we’ve only had one team practice. They are a professional team that finished 6th of 15 teams in their league. We’ll report late tonight on the results of the game.
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