After a 14-hour flight, most of which was spent sleeping, I arrived in Australia well rested and in a chipper mood. I had to wait for my tea...

Epic Travel and Racing Adventures

After a 14-hour flight, most of which was spent sleeping, I arrived in Australia well rested and in a chipper mood. I had to wait for my teammates to arrive in the Sydney airport, followed by some struggles with lost luggage. (Their bags were sent to Sydney, Canada. Oops.)

Friday was spent getting to our super budget hotel and situating ourselves, as well as heading over to the race course for a short run.

Our hotel is bare bones: we are using a communal fridge and microwave as our only kitchen, and the bathroom in the room is about 1 square meter: a toilet and shower with no curtain. I imagine it like showering in a futuristic boat; except in a futuristic boat, I would expect some sort of drying feature so the floor isn't always wet. The furniture is from Ikea, and we have barely enough room to walk. Good thing we're spending most of our time outdoors and away from the hotel.

The race course is the exact opposite: absolutely spectacular. We are racing on the course from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. It's perfectly designed for a regatta: ample warm-up space, great viewing, running paths, plenty of spaces for boats and launching docks, and great amenities.

Saturday through Tuesday, we rowed twice a day, getting up early most days to get a few loops on the course before racing for the day started. We have also had some fun adventures around town. Although I've had to work while here, and missed the trip to downtown Sydney over the weekend, I did get to enjoy a nice sunburn from a day at Bondi Beach. Oops.

We also spent a day lounging in a cafe in Paramatta, a small town near where we are staying, using their internet to do work. And I've visited countless grocery stores and produce markets already, trying to stock up on food as cheaply as possible. (Things costs about twice as much here as they do in the U.S.)

Our first race and first weigh-in was Wednesday. The weigh-in was uneventful--the best kind. I weighed in at 56.5kg, the lightest I've ever been. Our race was an optional race for lanes, and a great chance to get out and see how we handled racing. We did some things well, and need to improve in other areas. Friday, our final, will be the true test of our speed as a boat.

Eating vegan in a foreign country has been both challenging and easy. Like in the UK, foods are incredibly well labeled as suitable for vegans. That's great, since they have all sorts of different names for the myriad of chemicals that go into foods and I don't know which ones are vegan.

At the same time, I'm not in California anymore. At a breakfast cafe, I asked whether their bread contained eggs or dairy and they told me that yes, they had gluten-free bread. They didn't seem to understand that those weren't the same thing.

We are also doing all of our cooking in a microwave, while trying to maintain weight. Oatmeal has been a staple of my diet, as well as some other easily microwaved foods: potatoes, frozen spinach and canned beans. I have also made a few tasty dishes with tofu, but it's quite expensive here. Sample dinners have included:
- Sweet potatoes with spinach, chickpeas, peanut butter and garlic
- Tofu, chickpeas, canned tomatoes and spinach
- Veggie patties on pitas with hummus, spring mix and cucumber
- Canned chili with avocado, spinach and pre-cooked rice packages

I know—I'm suffering.

I also splurged and found some vegan dark chocolate covered marzipan that I'm going to thoroughly enjoy post-Friday racing.

One more practice. One more weigh-in. One more race. So excited for this crazy adventure!

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