Saturday 19th Sept – 3.30pm – Santiago, Chile
Well we made it this far. Three hours flight to Auckland followed by an 11 hour flight to Santiago. And I’m running on virtually no sleep. I mean, I dozed on the plane but not really. Both legs of the flight have been smooth sailing, pretty much no turbulence which I’m all about. From what I could see of Chile as we flew into it, it’s beautiful. Snow capped mountain ranges, and not just big Hills like we have in Australia, but actual mountains. Only problem is, we are here on a layover for twelve hours which is horrible. We have no WiFi, no local currency and no bottled water and we’re trying to to just sleep it out so we aren’t completely out of pattern when we arrive in Cali. Oh, and funnily enough, the one day we are in Chile, and it’s apparently a Commerce holiday so all the shops are closed. I’m so tired as I write this, the keyboard is swirling around. I’m sitting in the departure lounge with Evie, Amy and Nicole, which is probably where we’ll live until midnight when we board. We’re two hours into our layover, only ten more to go!
Monday 21st Sept – 7:26am – Cali, Colombia
Holy crap the last 48 hours were quite possibly the most exhausting ones of my life. We did end up going to a restaurant called Ruby Tuesday and had some awesome guacamole but as you can see, I’ve missed Sunday entirely. We ended up in Chile for 15.5 hours! Our flight just kept getting delayed over and over! We played so much Cards Against Humanity. Luckily we also had a bit of a nap and eventually they gave us food cards so we could go to Starbucks and get something to eat and some water. When our flight to Bogota finally boarded there were cheering throughout the land. Literally. Loads of people on our flight were verbalising their anger at being delayed and finally, their joy at being able to leave. But our delay of course meant that we were going to miss our intended flight to Cali. And we had no idea when our new one would be or if we would even make it to the opening ceremony. Luckily, the airline was on it and got us on the next flight and gave us more food cards so we could eat breakfast in Bogota.
Our flight to Cali was the quickest flight ever. I swear as soon as we had reached altitude we were descending again which was a blessing after all the crap we had been through.
So we finally hit the ground in Cali, all our baggage arrived safely and we’re greeted by Nigel the Team Manager and Stephanie, our lovely volunteer guide person. The mini bus ride to the hotel was crazy rough, if felt like a Rollercoaster, but it turns out that’s just how driving is in Colombia. A wild ride indeed. We checked into the hotel, found the rest of our team and got ready for a quick walk around the shops to get moving and buy some groceries and lunch before heading back the the rooms to get ready for the opening ceremony.
We made it. I was worried we wouldn’t but we did. The venue was surrounded by armed guards which was interning to see but they were all smiles and were wanting pictures with people, however we didn’t get any because lets face it, our parents probably don’t want to see us posed next to dudes with huge rifles.
There was so much media at the venue and you felt like a mini celebrity which was cool, we ended up throwing clip on koalas at people too which is the great Australian gimmicks we all secretly love.
After opening, we legged it out of there, got a crazy taxi ride back to the hotel so we could crash, which we did. I was up bright and early this morning so I thought I’d do an update here.
Today we have our first roll around at the practice rink, which will be interesting, and then I guess we’ll just play it by ear.
I’ll check back when I can but things will probably start to get quite busy now.