Nic Mercer’s blog (Team Manager) was an ok first effort to say the least but lacked a little flavor and some very important information and facts in my opinion, so I've taken it upon myself to provide Australian viewers with an inside look at the Aussie Boomers Tour, creating “Bounce with Boomer Gibbo”.
We received a wonderful upgrade from Qantas for our 14hr flight across to Argentina with all players flying in comfort. One thing Nic forgot to mention is that not only did we get better seats for the whole team, but he himself must be a smooth talker or something because he also received a phone number from one of the male flight attendants. We were thankful Nic didn’t tell him he doesn’t play on that team (not that there’s anything wrong with that), because maybe without Nic chatting up the attendants we would have been sitting in the back of the plane!
After a long but comfortable flight we landed in Buenos Aires, where security isn’t the tightest I’ve ever seen. We walked off the tarmac and were greeted by a small blonde lady who I guess was meant to be some kind of security; she was collecting our Arrival Cards with all details of our stay there. She was dressed in a white polo shirt and jeans, so we assumed she had just come straight from the club after a night out on the town. With all the security problems you could have with foreign travelers, all she was worried about was which seat Steven Weigh was sitting in. I guess he looked a little suspicious with his Helmet Head haircut… But we got through and waited to collect our bags - where of course we send the rookies to work straight away with grabbing the bags off the carousel.
An older man grabs Hammer (Assistant Coach Shane Heal) who is leading the group outside, and guides us to his bus. The man barely speaks English and has no “AUSTRALIA” sign or anything but we assume he is our driver. We follow him out to his bus, load up all the gear and start to travel to our hotel, everyone is drained and can’t wait to check in, grab a little food and go to sleep. This is where Nic left out some vital facts to the start of our trip and where it ALL begins.
Let me convert the trip back into Australian terms so it’s easy to understand. We fly into Buenos Aires international airport (ie. Sydney); we grab our bags and load up the bus to drive to Buenos Aires CBD (let’s say, Newcastle) where we think we are staying to start our trip. After arriving in “Newcastle”, the bags all get offloaded from the bus and taken into the hotel. Someone then tells us we aren’t staying in “Newcastle”, but that we have just driven an hour just to have lunch, and we are driving back to “Sydney” in 4 hours to catch another flight up to Bahia Blanca (say, Brisbane) where we are actually staying. After some soggy lettuce like salad, and spaghetti, which may as well have just been a bowl of melted down Swiss cheese, and a banana sundae/smoothie with cake bits finishing off the meal, we hit the road.
We had 2 hours to spare before the drive back to “Sydney” and the flight out to “Brisbane” so most went for a walk to a nearby shopping centre, Dave Barlow, Joe Ingles, Nate Jawai, Stevie Weigh and myself decided a quick gym workout and a shower to freshen up would be a good move. The treadmill felt like I was running on top of a foot massager but it worked up a good sweat. Now feeling fresh and clean we walked back into where we ate dinner to a herd of snoring bears. I couldn’t decide who was loudest out of Hammer, The Doc or Matty Burston
We eventually get back to the airport, fly up to “Brisbane” and drive and check into a nice hotel. Everyone dropped their bags off and came down to have dinner before some needed sleep. Finally day 1 is complete.
That’s a first installment from me, I will be back with the inside workings of a Boomers Tour hoping to provide you all with a different view of our trip.
South America Blog # 1
The Longest Monday
By Nic Mercer, Boomers Team Manager
Well it’s Tuesday morning and we’ve just got back from a walk and a team stretching session. Right now we are in Bahia Blanca in Argentina and it’s very cold. Snow was reported here last week and this morning is a clear blue sky so it’s very chilly. The town appears to be a small industrial place, so 12 very tall basketballers seem to make the locals gaze and point. The walk pretty much woke everybody up although nobody was moving too quickly for fear of snapping a toe off with frost bite. David Barlow lead us in a 30 minute team stretch which loosened us up, but luckily the 30 hour flight over here wasn’t as bad as it couldn’t’ of been.
Thanks to an empty plane and the generosity of Qantas the players were upgraded to Business Class, which is going to reduce the effects that a long flight takes on the body by at least a day. We’ve got a couple of young fellas on this tour, Matt Dellavedova and Jason Cadee. Both of them were wide eyed at the business class arrangements and fear they could have spent the entire flight checking out all the cool gadgets on the seats and TV screens rather than getting some precious sleep. This was the first time I’ve taken that flight from Australia to South America and it was a little weird following the sun across the globe. We tried to get some sleep early on in the flight to readjust to waking up and having another day when we arrived in Buenos Aires, even though it was still Monday.
After arriving in Buenos Aires we learned there had been a slight change to the schedule and instead of overnighting it in the city to fly the next day we were actually catching a plane later that night in Bahia Blanca. So as it turned out our long Monday, became even longer and one by one the fellas hit the wall. First to go was Big 7’2 Lukey Nevill and Doctor Harcourt, who both took an opportunity to crash on the floor of a hotel we temporarily stayed at. Then the young fellas who missed their sleep because of the cool gadgets hit the wall when waiting at the airport for the next flight… interesting to see people falling asleep leaning over tables while people are laughing and talking around then. Finally Joe Ingles confirmed he ‘was done’ as we were waiting for the bags in Blanca… ‘stick a fork in me’ I believe the quote was before the eye lids came down.
But back to the present, everybody is up after some much deserved sleep and feeling a little fresher thanks to recovery. We’ve got a training session planned for this afternoon and we are quite confident that our legs are going to be made of lead, but after pushing through this one it should be all down hill…
Stay tuned for the next blog from Gibbo!