Kute and Kuddly Koalas!
Sunday morning seemed to come very quickly, and I’m pleased to say that, despite being a bit tired from our epic days of travel and koala-watching, we all seem to be making the slow adjustment to the time difference. Justin says he was tired all day not necessarily because of the time change. He blames it on the 6:30am wake-up call!
We’ve also figured out a way to calculate what time it is at home: add seven hours to Sydney time, and subtract a whole day. Kind of fun to think about, and should help us all avoid waking up friends and family with phone calls at inappropriate times.
The morning started with breakfast at 7am. Team Canada will, daily, take over half of the hostel’s cafe, with 26 climbers, and 30 odd coaches, parents, chaperones, and siblings.
Head Coach Andrew Wilson kicked off the day by congratulating all the climbers on their hard work and dedication, and reminding them how special it is for them to be here. Despite there being lots of “first-timers” on this national team, there is definitely a clear sense of team emerging.
It was pretty fun to be in the venue, and watch the hive of activity. There were coaches from France, Germany and somewhere in Eastern Europe (couldn’t recognize the language) checking in. Organizers were labelling tapes containing the national anthems of the more than 30 countries who are expected to participate. (By the way, not sure how many countries ARE participating. The people I spoke with yesterday seemed fairly vague on this point…).
I think the reality of where we are sunk in today when we arrived at the competition venue. Most of the area where the comp will be held has been stripped of holds, and setting has already begun by a team of international route setters. It was screened off, and we were restricted to the gym’s “birthday party” climbing area. Still, it isn’t quite the same as our birthday party area, as you will see by the pictures (it includes a few 5.12 lead lines!). Justin and Maegan were able to stretch out and climb.
It was energizing to be in the venue, and watch the hive of activity. There were coaches from France, Germany and somewhere in Eastern Europe (couldn’t recognize the language) checking in. Organizers were labelling tapes containing the national anthems of the more than 30 countries who are expected to participate. As it was Sunday, a lot of confused birthday party kids and parents were staring and watching (and eating cake, and running around, with staff chasing them… sound familiar?). Some things are always the same, even down under.
As I write, Maegan, Justin and the rest of the team have taken over one of the hostel kitchens, and are fixing dinner for themselves and the parents/chaperones. My use of the word “fixing” can be taken in a number of ways… What they thought was enough tomato sauce to feed 60 people was actually enough KETCHUP to feed, well… I’m sure 10 litres of ketchup goes a long way…
Tomorrow is a cultural hiking trip, or ‘walkabout’, in the Blue Mountains with an aborigine elder. I’m sure the posts will become more exciting from here on in! Particularly if Maegan and I can find a way to bring a Koala back home… maybe just a baby one. They are appealing creatures – cuddly, but laid-back.
Off to eat dinner. Justin tells me they have also made salad, which seems exactly what I’m in the mood for tonight 🙂