Friday, March 27, 2009

If it's Friday, I must be in Amman (part 1)...

AMMAN, Jordan--Sorry for not posting recently, as I have been preoccupied with my position as a media assistant to USA Track & Field in its coverage of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships here in Amman,

The flight from Seattle to Amman on Tuesday afternoon was surprisingly uneventful, via Paris. The Air France flight from Seattle to Paris went fairly smooth, with no hiccups.

In fact, the flight from Paris to Amman went well, as well as clearing customs. However, the ride from the airport to the Arena Space Hotel was quite an adventure,

It appeared that the bus driver got lost or received bad directions in dropping other people off at their destinations, including several staff members of the IAAF.

The real comedy began when I was dropped off at the Arena Hotel (notice I said Arena Hotel). After what I thought was checking in to the hotel, I realized that I was in the wrong hotel, and tried to flag down the local organizing committee volunteer that was riding to let them know them know I was in the wrong hotel…only problem was that the volunteer and the bus driver were long gone.

Fortunately, thanks to a local who happened to get wrong directions to the hotel I was going to, this gentleman gave me a ride to the Arena Space, of which I was grateful for, considering I was on the move for 20-something hours, and was feeling a bit cranky.

Get to the hotel to find out that I’d missed dinner at the hotel, but junior women’s team leader Francie Larrieu Smith, a five-time US Olympian bailed me out with a PowerBar and some Craysins. That, plus a quick walk to the convenience store netted me a bag of Cheetos, proving that once and for all, PowerBars and Cheetos are the meal of champions.

After taking a sleeping pill around 11:30 pm, I figured life was good and I’d sleep well…

I didn’t count on getting blasted out of bed at 430 am with the sound of prayer call from the nearby mosque. To compound matters, after hearing the sound (and saying a few expletives), I realized I was still hungry. Considering that breakfast wasn’t for another two and a half hours, I proceeded to devour the rest of the Cheetos.

My first full day was rather uneventful, with a light run on Thursday at the Al Hussein Youth City sports complex trails with Francie, who still has the wheels of a 35-year old! As we ran, I saw numerous Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Australian runners zip past us like we were standing still!

Afterwards, a group of athletes, parents and I took a cab ride to see the Roman Amphitheatre ruins in the city. Here I am at the ruins!

In part 2, I’ll talk about the cross country course!

It’s almost bed time, so I’ll finish this post in the morning!

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