Monday, March 20, 2017

Arrived and ready - WAMCi Daegu

In Daegu

The long flight
Flew on a 747-400, it was OK but actually less leg room than the regional 737 that I flew from Seoul. The food was ok and I had a window seat.  It was a full flight and we flew non-stop from Detroit  -due north over Canada, Hudson Bay, and the North Pole.   We then came over land in northeastern Siberia, south to China then, a slight jaunt west to avoid N. Korea then to Seoul.  We never left sunshine and I was checking out the scenery regularly.   After an hour into Canada, for the next 10 hrs I saw no visual sight of human habitation, all a frozen wilderness.   First sight of humanity were some roads and power lines in Siberia.   It's part of the world many never see.  I took this photo over the NE Siberian wilderness from the plane.
Northeastern Siberia
The Arrival
Quite a bit of confusion on the arrival.   Arriving in Seoul, not immediately clear where to transfer to domestic flights and which line to go through customs in.  Unlike Europeans, few Koreans speak good English, and most speak none.   Even some people working at information desks speak little English.   I finally found the right line for customs and domestic flights, I was able to get 50,000 Korean Won ($45) at an ATM machine which proved really helpful.   The flight to Daegu was less than an hour and filled with athletes from everywhere.   The taxi had no idea where to take me although I had an address and a map, he conferred with his associates and they advised him.   He ended up dropping me off a block away from where I was going.  The Hertz rental car company was an independent contractor who rented through Hertz but there was no Hertz sign whatsoever.   I was lucky to find the place, it took me 30 min of wandering the city streets with my luggage.  I had the correct location, but no sign.  Of course, no one in the rental car company spoke much English and they did not have an English GPS.  However, my phone GPS works, thankfully, even without phone service.    I gave the guy my hotel address and he programmed the GPS to get me there.  Helpful.   It is essentially a straight shot from the rental place to my hotel.   It really was a good location and choice.  

The Hotel
The February Boutique Hotel is a weird one.  Not a chain.   Rooms are small but have pretty much everything, and then some.   The lobby has a fake electric fireplace complete with fake firewood and an animal skin rug.  Pretty tacky.  Each room has a theme, mine is "European/Victorian"  It has a weird ceiling, faux wood, and more gadgets and things that I can't figure out what the hell they are.  It has heated tile floors, a large Jacuzzi tub and a steam room/ shower.  It has a big flat screen TV, separate monitor for a computer, charging station, aroma therapy mist machine, fridge, kettle, and even complimentary juice, water, snacks.  The toilet is about the strangest one I've seen.  It has a control unit with a hundred buttons.  Besides being a toilet, it is an electronically controlled bidet that not only will wash your ass, but will blow dry it as well.   With all these things ... glaringly absent: a clock.  No clock.  But, the bed is OK.  It's right next to a bunch of restaurants and a 7-11.  I haven't yet a feel for this city, it's in a nice setting, surrounded by mountains, reminiscent of Asheville, NC.  This city I feel is probably much safer than most American cities.  I accidentally left my car open for hours while at the track with my laptop and GPS inside.  Nothing was touched.  Still, won't do that again!

The Facility
Driving to the facility wasn't too bad except there is a toll and it's going to cost me a quarter coming an going every time.   I found it ok and parking was easy.  Almost no one rents cars here.  Upon walking into the track arena, it is just "wow".   It certainly looks like a world championship venue.   Stunningly awesome facility.   Banked Mondo, about 2000 seats, skyboxes, flags from every country, huge scoreboard TV, and the track is blue.  I like like blue.  

I had read that this track was built for an IAAF World Championship meet but because the warmup track wasn't long enough, they moved it elsewhere.  There are 2 warmup tracks, one is indoor/ outdoor and is about 130m.  The indoor warmup area is too small, 50m and pretty crowded.  Here is the indoor/outdoor track ... with a massive WMACi sign.

The outdoor part is set up like a street fair with vendors, a performance stage, and a carnival atmosphere.

Met up with my team, hung out with Ben, Marcus, Robert, Antwon, and a few others.  It's team captain Phil's birthday today.  Chatted with Shane from Ireland, Roland and Andreas from Germany, Toru from Japan, Rudy from Australia.  These are 2 of my stiffest competitors in the 200m (they both beat me in Perth).   I stayed to watch their 60m prelims.   They looked good and won their heats.  All were around 7.9s.   I'll post later when I see how their semis go.  Much more to come....
Toru and Rudy

1 comment:

  1. Bill, you should be a travel writer. I think this was your best post ever, and I especially enjoyed the part about flying over Siberia and similar areas. Interesting, but not surprising, that most Koreans speak either little or no English.

    I admire your bravery as well. No way would I have brave enough to make the trip to Daegu; I'm lucky I got to Albuquerque last month.

    Peter L. Taylor
    Well-known masters T&F announcer