STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford sophomore Inky Ajanaku is touring China with the Pac-12 all-star team. In this edition of her blog, Inky's Chinese Adventure, she talks about the team's stay in Huaian City.
Hey Stanford fans!
We recently left the Huaian Guest House and are heading to Beijing for the second half of our tournament. We played three matches in Huaian City, and one of them ended up being a rematch against the team I played in my first collegiate home match last September- Jiangsu. Although we lost, I feel like we are getting better each match, and I am really excited about the talent we have on this team.
In between matches we had a good amount of time for sightseeing and exploring. The second day we took a taxi bike-cart to the nearest Starbucks. Although we thought we were on the verge of a fatal crash nearly every moment of the ride, seeing the city from the back of a bike-cart was, no doubt, the best way to travel.
When we got to Starbucks we were so happy to finally get consistent wifi and actually have some American drinks. Although the Starbucks was still pretty similar to the ones back home, we also saw our share of squid ink sandwiches and red bean frappucinos. At the end of the night we had the opening ceremonies and dinner with the head of the states and tournament commissioner at a very nice government building.
The third day, we had a packed schedule. We woke up to a full day of sightseeing. We were first taken to meet the person responsible for putting on our tournament. He is apparently one of the richest men in Huaian, and owns the biggest construction company in all of China. We met him in his mansion which was surrounded by an apartment community built by his Evergrande construction company. When we walked up to the house there were many armed guards and photographers following us as we made our way up the stairs to sign the autograph book.
We were then entertained by a group of three women playing ancient Chinese instruments. As the men finished up their speeches, they invited us up to try our hand at the instruments. I personally thought I sounded amazing on the guitar/ piano looking instrument, but looking back on it, I am pretty sure I got more laughs than applause.
After that we went to tour the old prime minister's estate, which was surrounded by beautiful gardens and ancient Chinese architecture. On our last night in Huaian City, the Pac-12 treated us all to full body massages. Led there by our favorite translator, Chen, we were all taken up to the sixth floor of this nice massage parlor where we were separated into rooms of three. After an hour and a half of the super relaxing massages, we all headed back to our hotel to pack up to leave for Beijing at 5 a.m.!
Talk to you all soon from Beijing!