Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Honeybees European Travel Diary 

Posted by Sasha at 6:45 PM ET

New Orleans Hornets: Several members of the 2008-09 Honeybees squad traveled to Europe to perform in Marseille and Lyon, France to promote the NBA through September 1. Follow along as the girls write about their experiences overseas!

Angele's Entry
Hi Hornets fans! My name is Angele and although this trip has just begun it's already been an experience of a lifetime.

We left from the New Orleans airport on Saturday the 23rd. 3 flights and 19 hours later we arrived in Marseille, France. By the end of our journey we were so exhausted but as soon as we saw the beautiful view of Marseille from the window of the airplane our exhaustion faded away and excitement took over. When we stepped off the plane we met Agnes, our translator/life-saver, and headed to the hotel. Our first meal in France was different but exciting. We all tried ratatouille for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed our super double banana split for dessert. Don't worry, we worked off every calorie because after dinner we went straight to practice to prepare for our first performance with the NBA Jam Van in Marseille. We practiced until we couldn't go any more. Our long day was finally over.

On Monday we were excited and eager to get up because we knew it was our performance day. But before we arrived at the event location we had to squeeze in one more practice. We proceeded to the pool for a poolside rehearsal when OOps! we set off the alarm. The pool wasn't open for the day yet so we moved it to the parking lot. Our outdoor breakfast of crescents and fresh squeezed orange juice was delicious and we got a kick out of the birds that surrounded our table the whole time. Our first day at the Jam Van event was unbelievable. Once we wrapped up our work for the day we took a train ride on a tour of the city and explored the Basillica Lady of the Guard. This catholic church sits on the highest natural point Marseille and the view from the top is breathtaking. We grabbed a quick dinner and then experienced a little of the Marseille night life. We headed back to the hotel early to rest up for another exciting day.

I am so honored to be taking part in such a great experience and can't wait to see what else in store for the remainder of our trip. See you all back at the Hive!!

Trista's Entry
Bonjour! Its August, 25th an it’s our 2nd day in Marseille France. We started our day with practice and then changed into our swimsuits. The Mediterranean Sea was only minutes away so we decided to hit the beach. It was gorgeous! We caught some rays, and attempted to go into the water, but it was way too cold. None of us were brave enough to jump in and go for it. It felt like we were standing in a bucked of ice. After the beach it was time to get down to business and perform once again for Marseille! Upon arrival at the Jam Van site we first noticed a group of male fans from the day before waiting there for us with smiles on their faces and cameras in hand. We officially have groupies! We performed two more routines, signed autographs and even judged the slam dunk contest! It was AWESOME! We were very impressed with all of the creative dunks. After we managed to sneak away from our groupies, our hostess took us to the most unique and exquisite restaurant in Marseille. I would have to say this was my favorite meal so far. Sadly our trip to Marseille came to an end, but Lyon here we come!!!!

August 26th - This morning we woke up to start a whole new adventure. Off to Lyon! We arrived at the train station and low and behold…our groupies were waiting for us at the top of the escalator with flowers in hand. We were so flattered and realized we had gained a personal fan club in Marseille. It was time for us to get on the train now and sadly we had to tell our hostess goodbye. Agnes was so wonderful to us. We’ll really miss her. Getting on the train was a little stressful because none of us had ever been on a train before. Finding our seats was easy but finding enough room for the army’s worth of luggage that we had was a task in itself. What a spectacle we made trying to stuff our huge bags in such a small space. It took some real teamwork and the grace of God to get all 15 heavy suitcases off the train in 5 minutes, but we did it. Once in Lyon, we were greeted by our new hostess Clara. After we checked into the hotel we took a walk to downtown Lyon, did a little shopping, and had the best pasta ever for dinner. So far I’m impressed with Lyon and we’re just getting started.

Stay tuned for more from Adrienne! Geaux Hornets!

Adrienne's Entry
Our only full day off in Europe started with the girls and I visiting the highest point in Lyon. The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere, which was an 11 century chapel. The interior of the chapel was filled with detailed stained glass and sculptures. Surrounding the outside of the chapel was breathtaking views of the entire city of Lyon.

After leaving the highest point in the city, we walked around the old quarter of Lyon. Its pedestrian-only streets were lined with antique shops, galleries, and restaurants. One of the flower shops featured a carnivorous plant. It was one of the most unique things I have ever seen. Our hostess Clara told us not to put our finger close to the plant because the plant would bite it. I was tempted to do anyway but visions of losing a finger in France convinced me not to.

After touring the city on foot during the day we decided to see the city in a different way. We took a boat ride tour of the city at sunset. The Hermes was a boat that offered dinner and a wonderful tour of the city. The girls and I were overly excited to learn that the ship offered dinner menus in English. This was the first time in 5 days that we were able to read our own menus without any help. The ship began taking us down the Rhone river, and back up the Saone river along the Renaissance quarters of old Lyon. When the ride was complete we enjoyed the beautiful weather as we walked back to the hotel.

Martine's Entry
Hey Hornets fans!

I am sure you’re enjoying your sneak peek on our awesome trip to France. Well, it’s not over just yet!

Although it’s Friday and our trip is coming to an end, we still have lots ahead of us! At this point we are all pretty worried about Gustav and our families back at home, but we are also super excited to perform, and to see beautiful Lyon!

We got to sleep in a little this morning, which was pretty awesome since yesterday we had a long day of travel! As soon as we got up, we felt like our trip had started all over! We were so excited to be performing for a whole new crowd in Lyon. This time we met the Jam Van in a beautiful park right down the street from our hotel. It was a beautiful day and the crowd was waiting with excitement to see our performance! We performed four times that day! They couldn’t get enough! IT was A LOT OF FUN, and the parks beautiful breeze keep us smiling!

That night our tour guide wanted to show us a little nightlife in Lyon, so she took us to a boat party. It was so much fun! We danced a little and enjoyed meeting some of the locals even though communicating with them was pretty tough!

The next morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at our hotel! We were then off to perform for Lyon! We arrived to an even bigger crowd than the day before! I think our fans must have spread the 'WORD'. Another successful day at the Jam Van! That night our hostess, Clara, invited us to her Lyon apartment for dinner. It was a nice relaxing evening with our new friend. She makes a mean pizza!

I have to say Lyon was a very beautiful place with such delicious food! The crowd was amazing and the weather was perfect! I miss it already!!

Just get ready fans! The journey home was pretty interesting!! Stay Tuned!

Krista's Entry
BONJOUR HORNETS FANS! It’s August 31st, our last day in Lyon, France. After catching up on some rest, we began practice and really stepped up our final Jam Van performance in France. Our last day was unbelievable! We were told this was the largest crowd Jam Van has ever seen on a Sunday. Kids of all ages were playing two-on-two basketball with us. Later on, we judged a Slam Dunk contest and performed three energized dance routines to an excited crowd. We were honored that people were eager to communicate, take pictures with us, and wait in line for our autographs. Our new French fans made us feel so special! We went back to the hotel early to finish packing and to enjoy our last night in France despite the sadness that our trip was coming to an end.

September 1st – our travel day to go back to the United States. On this rainy morning, we departed from our hotel to get a head start on our long journey. We said our goodbyes to our hostess Clara and waited two hours for our flight to Paris. When we arrived in Paris we finally faced the reality that we were really going home! We became anxious and ecstatic to return, but hurricane Gustov’s approach made our final destination a bit of a mystery. Apprehensions were building. Will we land in Houston, Dallas, or anywhere near the gulf coast? Our trip was extended with an unexpected stay in Houston for 3 nights until it was safe to return to NOLA. What an adventure! At the end of it all, our homes and families endured minimal damage. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to visit France and honored to represent the NBA and our New Orleans Hornets. This season is going to rock! Geaux Hornets!

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