LA Kings forward Nic Dowd will be keeping his own blog throughout the 2017 China Games presented by O.R.G. Packaging.
In his first entry, Dowd writes about the Kings' 14-hour flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai on Sunday and their first practice at Mercedes-Benz Arena. The Kings play the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday (4:30 a.m. PT; NBCSN).
This is my first overseas trip. I've never been out of Canada or the United States and the longest flight I've taken before this one was 6 1/2 hours, when I flew from Minneapolis to Anchorage while in college.
I tried to prepare as much stuff in my bag as possible for this trip. I have my iPad and, of course, headphones are huge. I bought a book, but I only got through about 25 pages.
It felt like one of the quicker 14-hour flights. They had us on a pretty good plan. I slept for about five hours right away. I felt like every time I was awake, I was eating. Basically, I was either eating or sleeping.
There was a lot of traffic on the drive from the airport to the hotel, but there was a lot to see. There were buildings, literally as far as the eye can see.
It's something you don't get in the United States. In a lot of cities, you drive and there's the skyline and there's the city. Then there's a break. And you go to the next city. But here there are buildings for as far as you can see. It's crazy.
Our hotel is great. The hardest thing was to figure out where the power was for the light switches. You've got to put the room key in and then that turns the lights on. Dinner last night was a good cultural experience. It was not the typical Chinese food we get in the States. We got to experience that firsthand. The waiters, staff and food were awesome.
This morning, I was wide awake at 6:30 but that's not rare. I get up around that time in L.A. and then the only difference is I didn't have to let my dog out today. I've been awake for the day and I really don't feel bad.
But the time change is strange. It's just strange to keep looking at the clock. I've been talking to my wife back home and she went to bed before practice. Last night, she was waking up when I was going to bed.
We had our first practice today and the arena definitely reminded me of an NHL rink.
A massive difference is the Olympic-sized rink. I played on that in college and haven't played on it since then, so coming back to it again after four years was pretty crazy.