First day of the meet went smoothly. I finished third behind Russia’s Efimova and Lithuanian Ruta (new world record). Hopefully as the meets continue I will be able to get faster and faster,  sort of like a meet taper during the next world cup meets in Dubai and Doha. My backstroke was suprsingly well though. I glided into the wall.  (horrible finish) and finished 4th ( so close) The bad news, or controversial issue happened when I was walking to the bus to go to the hotel. The bus was to leave on the hour and I had ten minutes to to get to the bus. I was by myself and as I walked towards the three buses ( the one leaving first is usally the farthest) I noticed  there were two men in the last one. So I walked over and stared at them until they opened the door. Upon opening I proceeded to ask which bus was leaving first. Now they didn’t know English and I get that, because I don’t know Russian. So I had to bring out the hands. After trying to communicate they said “nyet nyet” and closed the door. So I was left standing there by myself in the cold. Now 1. Its cold, they couldn’t help me so the closed the door. 2. If I..’.who I am’, would they have helped me a little more. Food for thought. I finally got on a bus when the Sweedish team arrived. It was the first one (go figure) and a driver miraculously appeared to open the door. The good news: Before finals I went to the dinning hall to get coffee.  It was already closed and the waitress told me to go to the bar. Now if you know me, you know I very much dislike paying for something I would otherwise get free. I asked the bar lady how much was a cup of coffee and she said yes and proceeded to make it. Fearful because I didn’t have any money on me, I was met by stranger who also ordered a coffee. He was intrigued that I was a swimmer from Jamaica and more so that I am the only one from my delegation.  After telling him about the swim meet and the world cup, he told me he is a marine biologist….a french marine biologist named Benoir. He is in Russia to give a speech on his speciality, seaweed.  Anyway when the coffee came so did the bill, I told her that I will run upstairs and get the money, but Benoir said he will pay for it. I have never had someone pay for a drink for me. His generosity was uplifting and the fact that he was quite attractive helped. Suprising news: I always believed I was an adventurous person,  to an extent, not clumsy or humourous, just simply me. Today I noticed beautiful buildings about 1mile down the road from the hotel but I could not bring myself to venture out into the streets of Moscow. I am not the adventurous person I once thought I would be; walking the streets of cities and discovering hidden places.  Adventurous: nyet After the 100 breaststroke medal presentation all the medallist were throwing  their bouquet of flowers to the crowd. It looked easy enough and I wanted to be cool too, so I decided to throw mine in the crowd as well. I gave a huge swing and up it went. Straight up! It landed 2 meters infront of me.  The petals were everywhere, flowers destroyed and people shaking their heads at me. Luckly I made it the second time, though their hands were leaning down now and I only had to lift it. Suave: nyet Well you live and you learn. Tomorrow is the 50br and the 100 I.M. Getting ready for more swimming tomorrow. Until we meet again. A.Atkinson

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