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Hola. Buenos dias. And all of that good stuff! Yesterday was another interesting day in Mexico City. We began our day bright and early like usual, with a great breakfast. Then we all loaded onto the bus, which is exciting in itself, because the bus driver always feels the need to show he can drive the charter in reverse, even when its not necessary. We headed first to an outdoor market that was about an hour away to do some shopping and sightseeing.
A lot of times in America, people think they have it really bad, but when we got off the bus in center city, we learned what true poverty is all about. The first person we saw was an impoverished lady, with her son laying on her lap. They had worn out clothes and the son had no shoes. Several players, including myself and the coaches, donated some money.
On the lighter side, we began to walk through the center of the city and took pictures in front of the Palace in the middle of downtown. The city was decorated with Mexican regalia as their month of National Holidays (September) is fast approaching. There were hundreds of vendors and many of the guys on the team tried to bargain with them for gifts.
We worked our way through the market, stopping at various shops. Along the way, we saw a lot of entertainment on the street including some traditional Mexican dancing, which was really different and interesting. We continued through the streets, and all of a sudden, we saw a lady running toward us, saying in broken English "turn around". I had a video camera and wanted to get some action on tape so at first I moved in closer. I witnessed a large mob armed with sticks and clubs and a few of them started shouting at us, so we turned around and ran. We later learned this was a gang fight
After this settled down, we moved onto another section of town to do some more sightseeing. All the natives were looking at us as if we were superstars. They were calling us "Michael Jordan"-even those of us who look nothing like Michael Jordan (like Michael Haddix).
After we finished shopping we headed back to the hotel. Some of us went to the mall across the street for a quick lunch and then we went back to get some rest before the big game.
We left the hotel at 6:45 for the game with National University. When we first walked in, it seemed like a great atmosphere-almost a Division I atmosphere. There were a lot more fans than most of us expected and the way the gym was set up made it quite loud and hostile.
The game started off well and after we built a 10-0 lead, I think some of us took them for granted. But they battled back and took the lead at one point. At halftime, Coach talked to us about the importance of playing good defense and we took over the game in the third quarter by holding them to just 13 points.
Paul Williams played one of his best games, registering a double-double and Antoine and Gary played really well too-making several key shots.
After the game I had some of the most fun I have had since I've been here. We interacted with a lot of the natives and players on the other team. Most people were asking for autographs and taking our pictures--I really enjoyed getting to meet everyone.
After this, we headed back to the hotel again and showered up to prepare for our first night on the town with no curfew. I went with some of the guys to a few of the local clubs, where we learned some of the local dance steps. All and all it was a great day.
Thanks for checking in, I can't wait for the rest of the trip!