Today marked our final scheduled day off. In my last blog, I reported we were offered free tickets to see figure skating and various hockey events. Unfortunately, those tickets didn’t come through; rather, they were reported as “sold out” (the ‘heartbreak’ of an Olympics volunteer). Some of our group had purchased tickets a week ago to attend “Big Air”—the Olympics’ newest snowboard event and spent the morning at Alpensia.
Salli Hamilton and I opted to explore what’s been our hometown for the last month, Sokcho, South Korea (pop. 100,000). Specifically, we took a taxi from our “resort” to the Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory which is only about 2+ km away. (Shout out to Salli for navigating the Uber-like local taxi app.) Sokcho is a coastal town and was part of North Korea until the boundaries were redrawn after the Korean War.
We climbed the heart pounding steps to the Lighthouse and caught a panoramic view of the East Sea (as mentioned in an earlier blog, Japan refers to the ocean waters as the Japan Sea while the Koreans refer to it as the East Sea). We spent the next hour walking down a cement pier to yet another lighthouse. We stopped at a large pavilion where you can purchase fresh (as in live) crab and fish from any one of a series of booths outside the building; from what we gathered, the idea is to pick out your lunch or dinner and then cook it on the table top burner on one of the tables on the second floor of the building. We ended up purchasing fried (non-live) shrimp from a street food vendor and eating it on the pier. Truly, this was one of my most favorite days yet.
Admittedly, it was a nice respite from the hour bus ride to our Olympic venue. I think I’m getting used to the weather here. Today was sunny but still in the upper 30 degrees but the climate had never felt so glorious. Now we’re looking at three more days of volunteer work as we received a surprise email today notifying us we have Sunday, February 25 off as our venue prepares for the upcoming Paralympics. As for Team SU, we plan to hold a bowling tournament in the bowling alley in the basement of our “resort” on our ‘found’ day off (seriously, there are about 8 bonafide lanes—would make North Lanes in Winchester proud).
By Gina Daddario, Professor And Chair Of Mass Communication, Posting From Sokcho, Korea