Postcards from the Road ... Sue Bird checks in from Salamanca, Spain

August 9, 2004

I got a lot of sleep on the way over here from New York. I don't know about anybody else, but I slept the entire plane trip from New York to London and then London to Madrid. And I slept the entire bus ride, which was close to three hours, after that. During our layover I didn't sleep though. I played with Jordan (Jackson, Sheryl Swoopes' son) the whole time, all the good card games like Go Fish and War, got those in. But we all had fun on the way over. Some played cards, some were sleeping, some watched movies. I sleep a ton on these trips though. Pretty boring, I know.

I Slept Through This
For those players awake on the bus ride, a statue of a bull dressed as a hospital worker pushing a wheelchair awaits.

After our bus ride to Salamanca we checked in and realized that it had been 21 and a half hours since we pulled away from our hotel in New York. Talk about a long travel day. We had a little food, then headed off to practice. It was somewhat hard because everyone was kind of tight, but it was good for all of us to get out, get moving and loosen up a little. It got me even more tired for that night so I slept some more.

After practice we enjoyed some fine Spanish cuisine. It started off with a ‘salad bar.' Nothing like the ones back home. First of all, there was no plexiglass. There were lettuce and tomatoes, of course. But they also had shaved carrots, shaved beets and another shaved vegetable that nobody knew ... white asparagus, hearts of palm, totally healthy. No cheese or croutons here! Then they brought out the pasta, which was raviolis with spicy meat in them. We thought this was dinner. They also brought out bowls of a red sauce and a white sauce. We thought this was to put on the pasta. But no, the pasta was just the second course. Next came steak and french fries. That's when we all realized that it wasn't a red sauce after all, but the ketchup for our fries!

Then we went to bed. Of course.

The food's been good, either fish or steak or chicken. The fries have been bangin, which is always a good thing. And then we have orange Fanta. That's been a team favorite ever since Cuba.

My layover Go Fish partners joke around before a practice.  

We haven't been able to see too much here in Salamanca. I've heard the old town is a World Heritage Site, but we're staying at a place outside of town and if you can keep your eyes open on the bus (I sleep a lot, remember), you can see a little bit. Spain is a beautiful country and we're out in some rolling hills with farms around us. We've seen some interesting sights. There's obviously a McDonald's, they're everywhere, some broken down cars here and there, and then there are the new luxury houses going up. A little bit of everything. We haven't done anything except ride the bus to and from the hotel, which is pretty cool. It's like it was built on a fortress on top of a hill that's built up with castle walls. It's hard to explain. Trust me on this one though.

Thank goodness for our translators Pee Wee (Shannon Johnson) and Diana (Taurasi) and also Ruth (Riley) a little bit. Especially Pee Wee and Diana though. If your steak's not done enough they send it back for you. If you need another plate of rice they are more than happy to order that for you.

The gym is like a million degrees. It's really hot out here, everybody's sweating like crazy. The ball ... your hands are sweaty so the ball is slippery. That's why we have all those turnovers. Just in case anyone at home is wondering! It is really warm in here, but it's a good atmosphere.

I think tonight's game is going to prepare us for the heat of Athens, as well as the competition. Spain's in our pool and they'll definitely have the hometown crowd tonight. This will be great for us.

I can't believe that two days from now we'll be going through U.S. team processing. It still seems so far away, even though it's only two days. It feels almost surreal for me.

Oh well, I have to go and get ready for tonight's game against Spain.




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