View Full Version : Team USA adjusting to Asia just fine so far

07-30-2008, 04:05 PM
MACAU -- On its bus ride after arriving here at the ferry terminal, Team USA zoomed past the Wynn Resort, an exact replica of the place the team stayed at in Las Vegas.

It also passed a massive new MGM Grand, still under construction, before pulling into the entrance foyer of the Venetian, which has a Michelangelo fresco painted on the ceiling just like the Venetian back in Vegas.

Culture shock? Nah, not here in South Asia. Not yet, anyway.

About the only shock the team has probably experienced thus far is sticker shock at the food court, where the price of a Triple Fatburger is listed at $80, and where the nearby Starbucks is getting $30 for a venti-sized coffee.

Those prices, however, are in the local currency -- the pataca -- which trades at a rate of roughly 7:1 against the U.S. dollar. So we're talking about an $11 burger and a $4 cup of joe.

Each hotel room has a mini-bar stocked with Snickers bars, Sprite and Pringles, and the staff members are more likely to speak English than Portuguese, which was the language of the land for 442 years until 1999 when this former colony of Portugal was handed back to China. Since then, it has been transformed into the gambling mecca of Southeast Asia, a place where the 1.3 billion people living up in the Chinese mainland can get away for a few days of legally sanctioned, Vegas-style debauchery.

"How big this hotel is, this place is huge -- ridiculously big, and it takes some getting used to," Chris Bosh said Wednesday as Team USA continued to shake off its jet lag and prepare for its second pre-Olympic exhibition game, Thursday against Turkey at 8 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com). "Trying to walk around and tour the whole thing is impossible."

Like many of the U.S. players, Bosh had not yet been off the grounds of the mega-resort, which includes a 15,000-seat arena where the team has been working out. The Americans will play Lithuania on that court Friday night before flying to the Chinese mainland and setting up temporary shop in Shanghai, where they'll play Russia and Australia before moving on to Beijing.