It’s finally here! Time to light this candle (torch). I’ve spent my last week seeing friends out in town, doing “last time for a while,” and telling lots of people “see you in March.” Writing this in the middle of what will total about 23 hours of travel. Started at 3:30am when I left my house. I connect through Detroit, where I got my spending cash-South Korean Won. They said at the desk to basically cover up the last 3 zeros for the conversion. I expect credit card use too, but wanted ready cash for sure.
Just boarded into my coach seat–but it is a window at least: which I prefer. Flight attendant announces “Duration of flight 3 hrs 52 minutes.” He did this twice. Um. No. Try 13 hrs 52 minutes!
First round of drinks. Typical beer selections, except for a Korean beer selection. My adventurous craft beer nature says “sure I’ll try that!” I think I discovered the Korean Bud Light. At least I know what not to get while there.
After a long, long time in my little window seat, finally land in Seoul. My only experience with customs is traveling to Canada. Things went smooth going through customs, and even getting my Olympic Credential validated. It was going TOO well apparently. As I wait at the carousel for my bag, a guy approaches wearing an Olympic credential and pointed to my name on a list. Language barrier moment number 1. I knew there was a driver party waiting for me already. I thought what this guy meant was, my bag was already picked up by them and just exit to where they are. Wrong. So I left the secure area without my bag. Much talking to a guard, who spoke a lot on the phone to someone…..while I tried to explain what happened (language barrier). Finally worked things out to get my bag. Two others had to do the same thing! I was happy to learn that my driving party included an interpreter. Off to the 3-5 hour drive to my accommodations.
It was a long bus ride, I think. Slept through it. It was dark anyway, so not much to see. Finally got here and into my “room.” Part of a 3 bedroom apartment obviously very newly and quickly built. An interesting lock and key system I needed to figure out to even get in. I was greeted by slippers. Can’t touch the cabinetry. Not sure what they plan to do with all these buildings after the Olympics, but they’ll sure have plenty of housing.
When I checked in, I was given a little welcome back with a handmade oriental lamp that says “Made by a citizen of Gangneung. Now off to bed. From my house to here: 27 hours!