Friday, February 9, 2018

We have touchdown...

Stepping off the plane four years ago in Moscow, on my way to Sochi, was a strange feeling, one that I am not sure can ever be matched. Knowing I was in Russia and not knowing exactly what to expect when I got off that plane made for an interesting mix of feelings.
However, as I walked through the gate four years ago and saw the smiling faces of Sochi 2014 volunteers, I knew everything was going to be alright. They guided me to the baggage area, helped me clear customs and got me to the right gate for my next flight.
Truthfully, I was kind of expecting the same thing in Korea, but the experience was a bit different. After sitting on the plane for 16 hours (14 in the air, two on the ground in Toronto), it felt good to walk again. Getting up and moving through the airport was nice. However, there were no smiling volunteers waiting to guide me through any sort of lines.
Once we went through the quarantine line (I must be OK, I passed), there was a sign for Olympic participants to get in one line for arrival while everyone else had separate lines. I went through the line and the camera took my picture and they put a tag in my passport and the woman simply said, ‘downstairs.’
Not one to argue, I went through the gate and downstairs, where the baggage carousels were located and found my flight’s corresponding carousel. Much to my relief, the bag was there so I followed the next sign to get through the customs gate.
Once through there, I found another sign that pointed me in the direction of a kiosk and there was where I met the volunteers who thankfully saved me from my pointless wandering.
They got me set up with a train ticket (actually two tickets) to Gangeung Media Village and then a very nice young woman named Erika led me through the gigantic terminal to the train station and then down to the correct platform.
The train came, I got on the train and now I’m cruising along I assume toward my media housing. It’s 8:20 p.m. here on Friday night and the opening ceremonies are about to be taking place. I wish I was there, but I am also glad to be here.

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