Brown: Settling in to South Korea before the games begin

WRAL's Kathryn Brown arrives in Gangneung-si, South Korea, ahead of the Olympics.

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Kathryn Brown

(Gangneung-si, South Korea) — As the sun sets on our first full day in Pyeongchang, I find myself reflecting on the past 36 hours (or is it 48? I’ve lost track!) with wonder, anticipation, peace and excitement. Our 28-hour journey from Raleigh brought us to Seattle, then across the Pacific, carefully around North Korean airspace, and to the city of Incheon, which is just outside Seoul. We boarded a bus, along with more than a dozen other NBC folks from across the country, and began a three-hour trek: first, through the vibrant city of Seoul, then through dark towns dotted along the mountainscape. We pass the Mountain Cluster of Pyeongchang where the Opening Ceremonies will be held and proceed another half hour to the Coaster Cluster of the Gangneung Province. This is our stop. And it is BRUTALLY cold.

Our media village is a collection of high rise towers, filled with people from around the world. You get into an elevator, or sit at a lunch table, or walk down a hall, and you are likely to hear at least five different languages. It is fascinating and invigorating! On day one, everyone is smiles. There are no deadlines ….. YET. There is prep, lots of prep. Lots of cords to sort and Wi-Fi passwords to troubleshoot and workspace arrangements to organize. We have the luxury to do this now – without the pressure of an immediate deadline. So, when it comes time for DEADLINES,  we will not only know what we’re doing, we will be rock stars at doing it.

We claimed our designated workspace (and, as a mom, I immediately found Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc). We explored the TODAY set, along with our primary live shot location, which is called “Hollywood Squares” – ever seen that show? The setup is similar.

WRAL's Kathryn Brown arrives in Gangneung-si, South Korea, ahead of the Olympics.

We returned for a short security briefing. Safety and security is of primary concern here. So is the flu. Officials here are taking no chances and passing out hand sanitizer like it is water. Clorox wipes go to everyone, work station wipedowns are mandatory. This makes me feel good. I don’t have the flu, I don’t want it, and I definitely don’t want to bring it home to my family. They have a great system here in place to prevent it as much as possible.

What is perhaps most astounding to me is that I do not feel as though I’m 50 or so miles from the DMZ. From North Korea. I can – at times – SEE North Korea from where we are. It blows my mind that after months and even years of listening to the posturing back and forth, I am sitting 50 minutes away from it all. See what I mean? It blows my mind.

Outside the Olympic Gates, the Gangneung Province is a lovely place, full of interesting people and restaurants and shops. I cannot wait to explore this city some more!

We are still catching up on jet lag a bit. It is 8:30 p.m. right now, and I am totally exhausted. I am trying to stay away until 10 p.m. so I can wish my babies back home a good morning — before passing out for the night!

Thanks for following my blog, please continue to follow our journey over the next month. It is sure to be amazing! And please let me know if there are certain things you are interested in! I want to be your eyes and ears here – tell me what you want to see, and I will do my best to show it to you! I promise 😊 Thanks for reading and have a GREAT day today!



WRAL's Kathryn Brown arrives in Gangneung-si, South Korea, ahead of the Olympics.


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