Bordeaux: Hot, Dusty Daytime Practicing on the Red Clay

Today Erin Boynton and I had our first practice in Bordeaux, though it was not easy! First we (and by “we” I mean “I” since Erin would sensibly have been fine with Uber) decided to buy bus tickets for the week so we could easily go back and forth to the club. A bus ticket is about 10 euros for a week and includes bus, tram and a boat;  an Uber ride 6-10+ euros each way. We found a newstand that sold weekly tickets and that was the easy part…then we had to find the bus. We finally retraced our steps back to the apartment (Erin’s idea) and found tbe bus station. But I thought the direction the bus was going was wrong so we waited for another bus about 15 minutes. Then we tried to get off at the correct stop but the bus didn’t stop there. We later found out that due to road construction or something the bus wasn’t stopping there till the end of August. So we actually got off a stop early but found the club anyway. By this time it was 11:30. So we signed up for practice courts and went to get food and towels since there are no towels provided at the club. I gave Erin a tour of the store complete with one of the wine section and foreign food section (Erin is holding maple syrup). I don’t know bus routes but I do know store layouts!

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We were assigned a court and got on 5 minutes late for our 30 minute session due to a lesson (though actually we waited for court 14, and were supposed to be on 16…it was that kind of a day). We got bumped 20 minutes later by a kids’ camp. Oh…and the court was an indoor hard court covered with a slight bit of red clay, enough to be slippery. And it was really dry. So we went to court 16 and got bumped again this time after 5 minutes. Finally we were able to hit outdoors on clay since no one seemed to want to hit in the temperatures which were approaching the upper 90s by 2:30. We had an uninterrupted hit. The courts here are drier, not as heavy and very high bouncing. My shoes were caked with red dust by the time we finished. One unusual thing here is that all the chair umpires are young, junior tennis players in general, and they call all the lines! They do a pretty good job of it too. ITF White Badges in training.

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When we finished, all the courts were open as the referee paused play due to the heat. It only resumed after 5pm, when it was still very hot but the sun wasn’t beating down as much.

We are staying in an apartment which is adequate but not as described. One problem was that we had only one set of keys. Hannah, Erin’s daughter talked to the owner and he said we could have the other set of keys, if we could break into the mailbox. Erin and Hannah managed to do that, using Erin’s surgical skills…so one problem solved.

The bus back to the apartment is down till the end of August so we all walked back, about 20 minutes for Hannah and Erin who are in the 6 foot tall range…and about 35 minutes for me since my legs are short and I couldn’t help but stop to take some photos of the interesting old buildings along the way.

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Tomorrow I am the last match on Court 9, not before 5pm…and if there’s a heat delay it could be later. So I still have a Barcelona schedule unfortunately. All the more time to eat baguettes and cheese.

Photos from Bordeaux: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ty4X78LOmIxqKDnv2

Draws: Bordeaux: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294

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