2010 Cup of China Blog by Isabella Cannuscio

10CoC-glasses-ICNovember 8, 2010 (almost. Actually late late late the 7th)

Our goal was to go shopping, go to the Forbidden City, and then if we have time, go to the zoo. We only got the shopping done.


We went back to the Pearl Market, this time knowing what we wanted and what to expect. We all had a list of things to get and a list of people to get things for. After getting what we needed on the first few floors, we went back to Nancy’s so I could buy my mom black pearls, and this time we brought a few more Team USA customers with us. After that, Nancy’s husband brought us to Bobo’s. Apparently, there is a new Pearl Market and an old Pearl Market, and he took us to the old Pearl Market literally right behind the new one. Bobo’s is a well known watch shop that has high quality watches and scarves. After I bought a scarf there, we were taken to the handbag shop. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would never find this shop. It was behind some sketchy door you would never imagine was in business, and yet their shop was pretty big. They had four rooms, going from low quality to high quality (seems to be what they do here). The place was fantastic! They had a whole room of shoes…JUST shoes. Needless to say I bought four pairs, and I wasn’t the only one who bought shoes. There were also a few handbag and wallet purchases from the other rooms as well.

10CoC-rooster-ICAfter spending a good amount of time there, we went to “the place in the alley.” This has been an ongoing topic throughout the week. I kept hearing stories about the place in the alley from multiple people on the team, so I was excited to go! Sounded a little sketch, but I was open to anything with good shopping! It’s down a few back streets next to the Pearl Market. You make a few left turns, go past a rooster, then you hit a building with an unmarked door. You don’t knock, they open it for you. They have cameras monitoring the outside just in case the police come, so when they see you they let you in. It’s basically a rundown building with five or six rooms selling scarves, handbags, DVDs, sunglasses, and shoes. You can get a DVD for $1.50! I was in heaven. As sketchy as it was, the people were very nice, much nicer than the Pearl Market, and I had a really fun time!


Since we spent so much time shopping, we missed out on the Forbidden City and the zoo, but got to go to Pizza Hut! FINALLY.


After a long day of shopping and Pizza Hut — and, for some, the exhibition — Team USA went to the banquet! I’m sad to say the food was a little better than what we’ve had all week, but not very good. I think what I enjoyed the most was the apple juice, which was the best thing I’ve had all week, in addition to the peach juice of course. If they sold that in the U.S. I would buy gallons of it.


A few days ago we had to turn in our banquet tickets for tickets with numbers on them. These numbers were used to draw for prizes at the end of the banquet. At first, I never thought any of Team USA was going to win, considering it seemed like all of Team China won everything! Then the top top prizes came up. First up was a Samsung phone (they gave out about five, I think), and guess who won one?! John Coughlin! Then, after that, I think around three cameras were given out, and Mark Ladwig won one! Then, the grand prize came up, a Sony red video camera, and only one was given out. I felt like we were on a roll so far, so maybe this was a possibility. I’ve been praying for a new camera for a while, so I was really hoping for this. I kept saying 31, 31, 31, over and over again, and guess what?! It was 31!! I have never won anything in my whole life, so I am SO happy I won! New lucky number?


This has been an amazing week, and I’m upset it has to end. I feel like I just arrived! I’m really looking forward to going home, though, and seeing my family. I’m still in shock our first Grand Prix is over. I just want to thank everyone who has made this week an amazing one, and for all the support you’ve given Ian and I! Also, the whole Team has been great; it wouldn’t have been the same without all of you!


I hope everyone has enjoyed my blogs as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them! Up next, Paris!


Hopefully talk to you soon!


November 7, 2010

Today is our last day here, and I’m hoping to get everything on my to-do list done! We didn’t do much after we competed yesterday, since we wanted to cheer on Team USA! Everyone skated very well which was great to see! What I was really looking forward to seeing was the top two Chinese pair teams. Holy cow, the throw quad Wenjing Sui & Cong Han did was great! I can’t even imagine how one would go about landing that. It was amazing.  


I am very pleased with the way we skated the free dance. All I wanted to do was go out there and give it our all, which we did, so I was very excited about that! I’m still in shock that our first Grand Prix is over, and I also can’t believe I was lucky enough to be able to compete here. It’s truly been an amazing experience that I will never forget, and I am taking so much back with me.


What I was surprised to see here is that everywhere you go, there is trash on the ground. I figured since Japan is so clean, that maybe China would be similar in that way, but I was wrong. I really noticed this last night when we went to Pizza Hut for dinner — or at least tried to. We got there at 10:28 and they wouldn’t serve us, because they closed at 10:30! In the USA that would never happen, or at least at my parents’ restaurant that would never happen. One too many times have I had to work and someone came in five minutes before we closed, so I had to stay and serve them. After Pizza Hut, we tried KFC, which closes at 11. Little did we know, they apparently run out of things throughout the day and don’t restock, so they basically couldn’t serve us anything we wanted (or would ever want to eat). So we went back to the hotel and ate the same food we’ve all eaten for the past week, hooray! I was really looking forward to Pizza Hut too. =(


Tonight we have the banquet. Before that starts, I’m hoping to shop and see the Forbidden City! I’ll write one last blog after my day is over, since I’m not planning on sleeping tonight before we leave tomorrow morning.


10CoC-1106-0187-ICNovember 6, 2010

So yesterday was short dance day, which was a fun event to watch! I loved hearing the different types of music the Golden Waltz could be skated to. I was happy with the way we skated, even though the darn Golden Waltz was not our friend. We got level 1 on both segments. =( France will be better! Even with the technical mistakes, I was pleased with the way we skated. First SD at a GP done! Now, onto the free dance.


I wasn’t able to watch a lot of people skate. Unfortunately, a few teams in the SD event made some mistakes, and unfortunately one of those teams was the Hubbells. I’m positive they are going to come back in the FD and rock it though!

It was a pretty boring day other than the competition itself. I wasn’t able to watch anything other than the short dance event and part of the men’s event. Ross skated great!

List of things left to do: compete FD, go to the Beijing zoo, and get some more shopping done! I’m hoping to get that covered in these last two days I’m here!


I’m excited to cheer on the rest of Team USA since we are the first event today! First ones out, first ones done! GO TEAM USA!

November 5, 2010

 10coc-wall-icFirst up, a photo of Team USA at the Great Wall of China (see yesterday’s blog for details):


Well today is competition day, and guess what? We skate first! It’s really no surprise considering Ian and I always skate first, so we’re used to it. Our short dance is to “Piano Man”, which I love, so I’m really excited to compete it! This being our first GP, we are going to go out there and skate our best since we have absolutely no pressure and nothing to lose — a fantastic way to do it!

Yesterday we went on an adventure to the Pearl Market. It was a great experience and a lot of fun! When Ian and I went to Turkey last year, we went to the bazaar and bought a few fake bags and such, so I thought the Pearl Market would be a similar experience.

I was wrong.

At the Pearl Market there are four floors. The lowest quality is on the first floor and then the quality goes up from there. The second floor is the scariest floor in the Pearl Market. They have poor quality fake handbags, luggage, and clothes. The reason it’s so scary is because the sales people there are out for blood. They latch on to you the second you walk by, asking what type of bag you want etc. They even grab a hold of your arm and pull you into their little booth! It’s frightening! Luckily, I had Sasha (Kirsanov, our coach) with me who can bargain with them like no one’s business. It’s amazing how much we all saved because of him.

On the fourth floor they have the high quality jewelry, which was our first stop. We went into a pearl shop that is well known by American tourists who frequent Beijing. It is called Nancy’s, and the place was great! She went into great detail about fake pearls and real pearls, how you can tell the difference, and all the different qualities they have. Needless to say, we bought a few things and are going back on Sunday!

After the Pearl Market we caught a cab that took over an hour to get back (usually 20-30 min) because our cab driver got lost multiple times! He spoke no English and started yelling at us in Chinese. Thankfully we got back safe and sound!

All the short program events are today, which I’m excited to see! I hope everyone on Team USA rocks it!


November 4, 2010

Hello again!

It’s official practice day and I’m really excited! All of Team USA had an unofficial practice in the competition arena yesterday, which was great. The rink is a little warm, but I’ve definitely been in hotter rinks, and the ice felt great. From what I saw, everyone had a good first practice here in Beijing and it looks like we have a great team representing the USA!

After everyone had their unofficial practice yesterday, we all went to the Great Wall of China! The trip there was an adventure to say the least. We somehow fit 25 of us onto a small bus that probably held only 15 comfortably. Not only did we hit Beijing traffic, we also had close calls on a countless number of accidents with large trucks. Once, we were literally two inches from a truck and I thought at any second we would have been hit. We also almost hit a few pedestrians that had no idea what was coming. In addition to the driving, the bus almost broke down a few times because of the weight, which would have been interesting. Once we made it through the terrifying bus ride, we were at the Great Wall!

We went to a section where you can use a gondola to go up, and a toboggan to go down, which would have been so much fun, except for the fact that it closed at 4:30 and we arrived there at 4:32! They wouldn’t budge on letting us in, so we put our lives in danger yet again and hopped on the bus to another spot of the wall. This time, no gondola, but it was open! As we started walking up, it progressively got steeper and steeper, and the view got better and better. It was an amazing experience. You never realize how long the wall is until you see it stretch for miles and you know it goes on farther than that. We took some great team photos and some really fun ones as well!

Once the sun started to set, it was time to get on the bus yet again — this time with no traffic, so not as many near death experiences. Although, now that we have survived that bus ride, I feel like we can survive anything!


Today after practice we are going shopping, which I’m looking forward too! Hopefully I can find myself some pearls!

November 3, 2010

Hello from Beijing!

It’s currently 7:15 a.m. here, the sun is coming up, and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day! I’m here in China with my partner, Ian, our coach, Alexander, and my Grandmom, Lucille. We arrived late last night to the hotel, around 2:30 a.m., because our flight was delayed an hour in Chicago for an issue with one of the lavatories. Thank heavens they fixed that! I wouldn’t want to be on a 13-hour flight with one of the bathrooms out of order. I slept for the majority of the flight, around nine hours, which made it very difficult to sleep my first night here. I’m looking forward to a full night sleep tonight. I had three seats all to myself on the long flight, though, which was wonderful! I had a chance to lie down and stretch my legs a bit. From now on, I wouldn’t want to spend a long flight any other way.

I’m really excited to be here in Beijing! This being Ian’s and my first GP, we couldn’t have asked for a better place! I’m really looking forward to the competition and exploring the city. We found out the Great Wall isn’t too far away, so that might be something we do on Sunday! I’m mostly excited for all the shopping people keep telling me about. If it’s as great as I imagine it is, I will be getting most of my Christmas shopping done early!


We have an unofficial practice today at 1 p.m., but other than that, we have a pretty free day. So maybe we’ll start shopping today! =) I’m excited to see what’s around us, since it was pitch black when we came in last night and I didn’t get to see much.


I’m going to start my day now, with only four hours of sleep, and hope it’s enough to get me through the day!


Talk to you soon!