Saturday, November 28, 2009

Letter from Thailand. Women World Championship

Well, here I am, home for 6 days and finally catching my breath and doing something which I don’t like: writing.
But as captain of the women USA Petanque team, I like to give all of our Petanque friends my version of the trip to Suphanburi, Thailand where the WWC. were held.

We all got to Bangkok on different days ( John and I had a wonderful time exploring this city and surroundings for a few days prior) but managed to meet at night, at a French restaurant before going the next day to Suphanburi. This evening was by itself quite anadventure, since upon arriving there, it had relocated. After walking, asking and finally at a police station asking for a taxi, we got there. We met the others , played boules ,ate and had a wonderful time. It was very hot however even at night , we noticed.

The next day we gathered at our Hotel, John had arranged in advance for transportation from there for the whole team, which was great. Mary Albright joined us.
During the 1hr and 30 min trip some of us tried to sew the MERI logo’s on our uniforms but we finished doing this in Cynthia’s room, among lot’s of talking ! But great fun.

Arriving in advance made registration etc. easier, not cooler, since air conditioning was kept to a minimum. The rooms were cool, fortunately.
Did I mention it was hot in Thailand?
This is very important to know since John found out that we were going to play outdoors! under a steel roof, so at least no sun.

Not allowed in the “stadium” (a 15 min. ride from the Hotel) we practiced next door to it in the full sun.

By the way, the food in the Hotel was mainly Thai (I have had enough for awhile) with some continental touches . At the “opening dinner” at a nearby Hotel ( much better than ours) there was a huge buffet , but with the same kind of problems encountered at our place: we don’t speak Thai, which created some confusion when ordering etc. All part of this adventure! At least we could follow the teams drawing on a big screen and in the mean time I caught up with some faces from other countries. We recognized each other from previous years. The Petanque world is wide spread, yet so small.

Up early the next day for Cynthia’s shooting contest, we were all there to encourage her from the side lines, while John was there to set up the balls for her. We were all proud of her and afterward John was happy and I think Cynthia felt the same way.

The “Opening ceremonies” followed. Lots of speeches by the Thai delegates but also a

Wonderful show with local boys performing as an acrobatic animal (dog?) on poles and jumping from pole to pole ( difficult to explain). Another performance was a snake like dragon being run around by young men, with long sticks. Very impressive.
A big marching band was on hand and the flags of each nation were paraded. I never tire walking behind the USA flag , but I think the whole team feels the same way about that.
Just to remind you, it was very hot during all of this!

As far as the Petanque, we were fortunate to play a lot of friendly teams, no problems except the language barrier at times .The referees did a great job explaining certain procedures . The games were timed. 1 hour and 2 “maines” after that. This was new for all of us and I have to admit it took some getting used to. There is no time to catch up after a slow start and that happened quite often.

The terrain was challenging and although John tried to help us with this problem, we did not improve fast enough. ( a big thanks to John, for everything)

We had good communication and lots of fun playing together and learned a lot which will be beneficial in the future.

Despite our results I will cherish this experience ,again and I hope my teammates will do the same. We did our best ,that’s all we can do.

In the meantime we saw some great Petanque being played.

The shooting contest won by Mrs. Papon was quite impressive and the finals between

Thailand and France (which was not timed) was wonderful . Thailand won and they certainly deserved it. Watching this , I think I drank 4 bottles of water, well you know :

It was hot out there! (last time)

The “farewell” party was a dinner, with Thai dancers, singers and a band as entertainment. The exchange of gifts was done and then the dancing started. Despite the average menu, ( according to other countries also) we all had a great time, new friends were made and believe me the FPUSA can be proud of this team in many ways.
We all got along ( thanks Mia and Cynthia) and Sandra, was a great 4th player,

My thanks to Mary Albright for watching all the games (I think she suffered the most from the heat) , Susan for her support and Mark for taking pictures.

I like to thank the Maine Boules Club for their financial support, also the Boule NY and

of course our sponsor MERI, because of you this trip has been unforgettable.

What an adventure!
Wishing all of you Happy Holidays and a great 2010!

Link to the Slide Show:


Marieke Rolland,
Boca Petanque 2000 Club.