The Beak Blog
By Laura Geissert #10
Day 1: December 26-27, 2012 - Vancouver to Puerto Rico
December 26, 2012, at 7:30pm, a group of 13 people met at the US Airways desk at SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Washington. The Kwantlen Polytechnic University women’s basketball team along with their coaches was now on their way to an exciting and enriching cultural and educational experience in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Upon arriving at the check in desk, the girls learned that they had to pay a $25 baggage fee. After several complaints, as a group we were ready to check through security. Since the team has spent so much time and energy fundraising, the mood was energetic and we were excited to begin the long journey to Puerto Rico. As soon as the initial excitement calmed down, the girls soon realized that waiting at a gate is not the most interesting place to be for three hours. At the gate the team was bored so we all began watching movies, listening to music and beginning their most favorite activity of eating food! Because it was a night flight, leaving at 10:25 p.m. most of us were able to sleep a bit on the flight towards Charlotte, North Carolina. At 6:30 a.m., the group landed in Charlotte and began their two and a half hour layover in the airport: sitting, waiting, and eating.
The next flight was shorter than the first, only two and a half hours till we would reach our final destination of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Once everyone stepped off of the plane to get their baggage, the coaches realized that their bag did not make all the way to San Juan because it was transferred to the wrong plane in Charlotte. The coaches were told that their baggage would be delivered to our hotel upon its arrival later that night! The group then boarded a school bus and headed to the hotel and straight to the pool. Everyone went swimming and tried to get the first tan in without wasting any time at all, but unfortunately it started raining as soon as everyone got to the pool. After waiting and wishing that the sun would soon come out (which it never did) the girls went back to their hotel room to take a shower and get changed for dinner. As a team, we had dinner at a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant. Only a few of us were brave enough to branch out and try the foreign food, instead seven out of the 11 girls on the trip chose to eat Cheeseburger, a solid North American meal. After team dinner and ice cream, we walked back to the hotel for a team meeting. Once the meeting was over everyone went straight to bed. It was an eventful first day in Puerto Rico and the group was excited for more to come!
Day 2: December 28, 2012:By Amber Kavanagh #11
We had our first game today, but there was a mix up. The gym we were supposed to play in got doubled booked, so Peter (our tour guide) phoned around and we were able to play in the local YMCA. We walked into the YMCA and the floors were terrible due to the fact that they can’t have wooden floors because of the humid climate. Plus, the gym has walls that are opened to the outside, so the hot humid weather is what you have to breathe in. To top it all off - no air conditioning.
We started to play and we didn’t have a good start, but after a while we picked it up and by the half we were winning by double digits. Coming back from half, they started zone pressing us. We couldn’t break their press with turn over after turn over. Eventually, they reached our score and passed it and we couldn’t get back. We then lost by 6, with a terrible taste in our mouths because we could have won that game if we could just set up our simple break.
Day 3: December 29, 2012:
By Amber Kavanagh #11
Today we went to Old San Juan and explored the city; it was breath taking. We visited the war forts and walked around the city. It reminded me of the movies of Europe, stoned roads and colourful houses. It was like we were in a different world.
As we walked around we stopped at souvenir shops and bought little things for our family and friends. Then we walked down by the water where the cruises parked and we also saw the parliament building and the statues of each president from the USA. We then stopped at a frozen yogurt place like menchies, where we picked our favourite yogurt and our three favourite toppings. It was delicious!! After all this we had to play in our second game.
Our start was terrible - we were down 15 to 0, but as we found the pace of the game we ended up being tied with the team [Metropolitana]. Unfortunately at the end we lost by 4, but unlike the other game we lost with a good feeling of effort and hard work.
Day 4: December 30, 2012:
By Taryn Christian - #12
Today the Eagles rose and shone at 5:55am and rushed to the lobby where they were able to say goodbye to a beloved Eagle and leader.. Jessica, who headed back to Van City to spend New Years with her family. The very tired birds flew back to bed for a few hours of much needed rest to be ready for the busy day ahead of them. Today we had the opportunity to challenge the University of Puerto Rico, who is the second best team on the island. A we prepared for the game we knew it would be the toughest competition we had seen thus far on our Caribbean adventure. We ended up loosing by four points, and being very impressed by our valiant effort and fight towards the loss, knowing that there are many positives we can take out of the game. This evening we dined at a restaurant called 'Made In Puerto Rico' where we enjoyed ethnic Puerto Rican delicacy. It was a huge improvement for the eagles because every single one of us feasted on something other than a hamburger. We were serenaded by a Puerto Rican fellow who sang in both Spanish and English. As I enjoyed good food and great company, I reflected on getting to know these girls better and having the opportunity to bond and grow with them throughout our adventure in Puerto Rico and into the second half of our season.
Day 5: December 31, 2012:
By Cassie Micona - #8
The last day of 2012 and day 5 of our Puerto Rico adventure began with a free hotel breakfast consisting of bagels, waffles, yoghurt and fruit. The weather was not in our favor as the forecast called for rain all day. For the first time on the trip we weren’t concerned with the weather and working on our tans - light rain works when you are spending your day exploring the Caribbean rainforest. We travelled in mini vans for about an hour from our hotel through the city and then into the rainforest. Our first stop was a beautiful roadside waterfall. The entire team got out to take pictures with the waterfall but Christina, Jeanneine and I were feeling extra adventurous so we decided to climb the slippery rocks beside the waterfall to get a better shot with the picturesque background. Our next stop on our or rainforest adventure was a lookout point on to the many hills and valleys of the Caribbean rainforest. We climbed what felt like the ultimate stair climber to reach the top of the lookout point. It was a beautiful view once the clouds decided to clear. The final stop was my personal favorite and I think I can speak for everyone that it was one of the best parts of the trip. We climbed a mountain in a grouse grind-like trail up and down hills through the rainforest in the hot Puerto Rican climate. When we reached our final destination there was a large beautiful waterfall waiting for us. Almost the entire team decided to swim in the waterfall and that moment was defiantly something to remember. The water was colder than expected but it was defiantly worth it after the hike. We hiked back down the mountain energized and refreshed from the water. We left the rainforest and headed to what is said to be the most beautiful beach in all of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately it was still raining but most of us decided to go swimming in the ocean regardless of the absent sun. Despite the rain we had a lot of fun at the beach, Jeanneine, Sam, Christina, Laura, Taryn, Dan, Emily and I swam in the ocean while Oxanna searched for shells for her mom and I can’t forget Christina and Dan getting attacked by fire ants on the walk to the beach. When we returned to the hotel we had a relaxing afternoon with most people having naps to prepare for staying up till midnight for the New Year. We spent our last few hours of 2012 at a nearby restaurant surrounded by locals and Spanish music. We ate good food and played pool together as a team. I’m so glad I got to spend the New Year with my 11 best friends (Jessica was there in spirit) and two great coaches. Our adventure today was defiantly a great way to end 2012 and open our minds to new places and great things!
Day 6: January 1, 2013:By Christina Brown #9
The first day of 2013, which was also our last day in Puerto Rico, was spent in true island style. A few of us woke up early to take advantage of our last free breakfast and catch as much sun time as possible. The others woke up and eventually joined us all at the pool. The majority of the day was spent tanning, or burning in some cases, and just relaxing as a group. We had become accustomed to what is referred to as “island time”; we were care free and had no real plans. Dinner got pushed from 6 o’clock to 7 and eventually at 7:30 the group headed to the restaurant. After dinner at a local pasta shop, we headed back to the hotel to pack our bags and mentally prepare ourselves for our full day of travel that would start at 5:30am the next morning. We all did this in different ways; I chose to sleep right away and for some reason had the bright idea that it would be smart just to pack my bag in the morning. Just a small word of advice...packing your bags at 5 in the morning is never a good idea; your roommates will hate you. Our last day could not have been spent any better. The weather turned out beautiful and after a relaxing week in paradise we were ready to get back in the swing of things back home.
Day 7: January 2, 2013:
By Laura Geissert #10
Our last day of the trip began very early in the morning. We left the hotel at 5:30 a.m. to go to the airport because our flight to Charlotte was scheduled to depart at 7:30 a.m. Unfortunately, there was not enough space in the vans to transport all of us along with our baggage at the same time, so some of the girls were earlier to the airport than others, which comes into the story later. Once the first group arrived at the airport, everyone started to check-in their bags and (once again) complained about the $25 baggage fee. Since the second group was still on their way, the girls who were already checked in decided to go through security, because this normally takes a while. This turned out to be a good idea because when the second group arrived at security they were at the end of a really long line. As a result of the long line, they were some of the last people to board the flight to Charlotte. With the flight being so early, most of the girls did not really sleep a lot the night before, so they slept almost the whole time on the plane to Charlotte. Once in Charlotte, the worst part of the whole trip began: an eight hour layover at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport! The first few hours everyone kept themselves busy with eating and spending the last money they had left. But, as time passed by, everyone met at the gate and started to read and/or watch movies. Nevertheless, not the whole time was wasted, because the coaches decided to have individual meetings with the girls, which scared some girls more than others, but all in all everyone was satisfied with their meeting. The flight back to SeaTac Airport was really long. Only a few girls were able to sleep, most girls talked about the trip or watched movies. The plane arrived in Seattle at 9 p.m. and this time (luckily) everyone got their bag immediately.
Even though everyone was tired, the girls had to tell their parents, who picked them up, a short overview about the entire trip. But, in fairness, the only thing the girls had in mind was “Only two more hours in the car, till I am finally in my own bed…” It was a very good and eventful trip for everyone which created memories that will last a lifetime.