Monday, February 5, 2018

Flying On Top of the World

Somewhere north of Alaska
The commute from Atlanta to Seoul was smooth and easy, pretty good for my first 14.5 hour flight anywhere. I enjoyed a fair amount of sleep, three films, not a peep about the Super Bowl and two Korean-inspired meals that were delicious.

While booking passage via Delta Air Lines, it never occurred to me the flight path would progress due north from Georgia, across the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay, and up and over the North Pole (or at least pretty darn close) to follow the northern border of Alaska westward.

Also had no idea how many thousands of miles of Siberia we'd cross on a south-southeastern navigation. Who knew one could experience so much of the Arctic zones without a parka!

Upon touchdown at ICN, it was smooth sailing.

First stop: PyeongChang 2018's welcome desk to get my media accreditation laminated right there by the arrivals gate. I spotted the first international sports team -- in their red coats for Switzerland -- in line with a cadre of NBC worker bees from my flight. 

Once through customs there was another helpful team of silver-jacketed Olympic volunteers who directed me to the free shuttle from Terminal Two to the distant (several kilometers) Terminal One and its free magnetic rail line to the hotel from which I am typing. 

Tired and admittedly punchy from the long day, by 6:30 p.m. I was content to buy "dinner" at a 7-Eleven and feast on Korean beef jerky, oranges and white peach wedges (packaged in a curious clear colloidal goo) and a nice single-serve bottle of plum wine. 

Managed only one Olympic pin trade so far, cornering a Dutch speed skater for an orange team pin from The Netherlands. Also spotted a "Canada 150" pin with a postmodern artsy take on the traditional maple leaf logo (only guessing the 150 refers to the number of athletes on the 2018 Canadian Olympic Team). 

Oh, and it's perhaps worth mentioning, as we boarded in Atlanta the flight attendants paged a Mr. Lin-Manuel [family name mispronounced]. I did not spot the composer of "Hamilton" on board but hummed tunes from the Broadway show for part of the flight.

Looking forward to visiting the Seoul 1988 Olympic Park and Olympic Museum tomorrow. One happy traveler heading to bed. 

Photos by Nicholas Wolaver

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