What a journey! After leaving Beijing we flew to Seoul, Korea for an 11 hour layover. We got in a 11:30pm and were all getting prepared to sleep on those not-so-comfortable chairs in the airport. As soon as we got off the place I could see us all jockeying for position to find a place to lay our heads. Then...somebody noticed the words Transit Hotel. I wasn't sure what that exactly meant but the hotel part appealed to me and you didn't have to exit the security part of the airport. Speaking of security...do you have any idea what it is like try and check a backpack that has more electronics in it than Circuit City? And oh...by the way...you can no longer travel with batteries in your checked luggage. I found that out leaving Beijing when they called me back to search through my checked luggage. Apparently the rule changed the day before we flew out...NO BATTERIES. They scanned 3 times and I had to find the batteries located in a camera I packed and two baggies carrying extra double AAs and triple AAAs. The worst part were the "unmentionables" that fell out while the male agent was riggling through everything.
The transit hotel was great. For $60 apiece, you could get a double room with 2 single beds, a shower, and TV. So we all doubled up and got about 7 hours sleep in a real bed. Priceless!
The trip back to the States was long but I listened to my iPod, watched 2 movies, and read a book. I don't sleep well sitting up but managed to doze a few times. By the time we hit JFK airport in New York, I was over it. With a 3 hour layover there, Megan and Mo got us all in the Delta Crown Room and it was a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of JFK. Free eats and drinks and comfortable chairs. It was very nice. The connection to Cincinnati was slightly delayed due to heavy flight traffic but we landed early at 5:45pm. Have you ever been so tired you felt sick. Just when I thought I had already hit the wall...I hit a few more.
I got home and put on my jammies. I turned on the Olympics and got online to catch up FINALLY on Michael Phelps and other Olympic updates that had escaped us in Beijing. NBC had proprietary rights to the footage in Beijing so we could not pull up any of the videos. You could only do that in the U.S. Chinese television emphasized primarily the Chinese teams and athletes. So I was in heaven. I had seen many events live and in person so I could identify with the venues and the fans but watching at home was great too. Besides, I could DVR and rewind and understand the language.
I am ready for London 2012. Bring it on. I know people in London. They are going to get to know me a LOT better. But let's thoroughly enjoy the rest of these 2008 Beijing Olympics and appreciate all they have to offer. It's a ton and then some.
Bravo Beijing, it was amazing and I will be thinking about this experience and opportunity for the rest of my life!