Ok, now I have been in North Carolina – and we’re living in South Carolina- for some hours and I ask myself: When will we return home? I don’t know if it is my advancing age (ok, some would laugh about that, but I already visited more than only one championship) or if the pain threshold you have to live with when in a foreign country just comes sooner or if both of it goes hand in hand.
Contrary to many predictions entering the country was no problem at all: the immigration officers were extremely friendly – even though I had to think about my answer when asked if I produced fake news or real news- and our luggage was already there when we came to the baggage claim area.
The lady working at the hire car station, however, was not that enthusiastic about her work. But after some back and forth my photographer colleagues Stefan Lafrantz, Tomas Holcbecher and were able to squeeze our luggage into the hire car. The man at the gate saw that we were just shy of dying of thirst and gave us three bottles of water. He did not understand my question what the speed limit (on the street) was. Instead he looked at the car’s speedometer, looking for an answer there. When we said “the speed limit on the road” he was no more able to give us an exact answer. Ok, doesn’t matter.
On the road we managed better than in our hotel in “Spartanburg” – or whatever you want to call it. The sign on the street said “Newly renovated rooms”. Apparently this statement can be stretched quite a bit – the only new thing we could find was the recently exchanged door lock.
But we will get used to the circumstances and the environment which also takes us some getting used to. Or at least for me. I have never been to the United States before and all the lined up McDonalds, Burger Kings and Kentucky Fried Chickens are not what I had in mind for eating dinner over the next two weeks. We also have to get used to the stifling air. Leaving the airport we had the feeling that we hit a wall, at least it feels like that. There is not much fresh air. But we will have to get used to this.
On the plane we had many interesting fellow travellers with us: The FN press, Japan’s dressage coach Christoph Koschel, the Belgian eventing riders, Swedish eventing rider Sara Algotsson-Ostholt and Faye Füllgräbe, Olympic winner Michael Jung’s partner. Michael Jung will not compete in Tryon because fischerRocana FST recently sustained an injury. And Faye? What does she do in Tryon then? She will be groom for Michi’s stable colleague, Polish Pawel Spisak because she had planned on being there anyway. Michael Jung will fly to Tryon on Tuesday in order to be of help in the cross country course.
We still have some days left to get used to the country, the people and the rooms and to have a look at the construction sites in Tryon. Currently you can find a huge number of videos showing how earth is moved under the floodlights at night and that there is a lot of wood and junk lying around – no one knows if this is construction material or rubbish. Let’s give the boys and us some more days. Currently I would sign the statement of one of my colleagues who wrote it was perhaps better to watch the event from home.