Argentina 2009:Opening Day of the Trip

Christian Krenk ’10

Hey,

We have all made it to Argentina!  I still can’t believe I am saying that.  I’ve never been out of the country before, so I’m soaking in as much as I can about Buenos Aires.  Although I’m really excited to be in Argentina, I suppose I should first talk about when the trip actually began at the Chicago airport.

When we all met at the airport, we weren’t as noisy and talkative as we usually were.  We didn’t all become suddenly shy around each other, but instead the silence was from our anticipation to get to Argentina, and the realization that this trip that we’ve been talking about for so long was actually happening.  We made it through Chicago security with ease and were on our way to Atlanta.

I wish I could say that our time in Atlanta was as uneventful as our time in Chicago, but that would be a lie.  When our plane arrived in Atlanta, we weren’t able to unboard the plane until 20 minutes behind the scheduled time.  Coach G was getting increasingly worried with each passing minute that we would not be able to make it to our transfer flight in time, so once we were able to unboard the plane, Coach G had us speedwalk to our other flight.  As we snaked our way through the Atlanta airport, one of the players ended up getting separated from the rest of the team.  Since we were all in a rush, the rest of us didn’t even notice until we did the head count at the gate prior to boarding the plane for Buenos Aires.  When Coach G noticed the one missing, he had the rest of us board the plane as he went to search for the lost player.

While the rest of us were waiting on the plane, we were now becoming increasingly worried with each moment that passed without sight of Coach G.  However, Coach G found the lost player and was able to board the plane with a few minutes to spare.  It was my first time flying international, and it was an experience I would enjoy doing again sometime (to my parents — please read that statement seriously!).  The food served on the plane was actually pretty decent, but I fell asleep soon after dinner to try to keep myself on a regular sleep cycle.  

I awoke at 4:15 a.m..  When I looked at the flight map, it said I was over La Paz, Bolivia…with only 2 more hours until Argentina!  I was so excited that I didn’t feel the effects of a poor night’s sleep (however, I’m feeling those effects now as I write this!).  When we landed in Argentina, it took us about an hour to find all of our bags at baggage claim.  We quickly went through customs and met our trip organizers.  The main leader is Sergio, and he is a really cool guy whose biggest concern is making sure we get the most out of this trip as possible.  

On our way to the Hotel Republica, we passed by the national team’s training grounds.  The grounds had about eight full fields and an impressive indoor facility.  It’s also clear that Lionel Messi is the national hero, as he is on billboards everywhere endorsing products.  I’ll leave you with some of the differences I have noticed between Buenos Aires and America.  First, I have seen only a handful of SUV’s in BA.  The primary mode of transportation seems to be either a small compact car, van, bus or small motorbike.  There are also small newspaper/magazine and gadget stands about every 50 yards along the streets.  There are no Targets or Wal-marts, and the only American fast-food chains in existence here are McDonald’s or Burger King.  

Well, time for me to get away from the computer and head out to practice!  Hasta luego!

Christian Krenk #18

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