As expected, this post is a monster! So I decided to split it into two parts—the first being planning, visa application, lodging, flight, and food; the second for the venue and competition proper! I put this off for so long because I’ve been busy catching up with school requirements… and Yo-kai Watch zzzzzzz. I’ve almost completely caught up with all the work I missed (and I finished Yo-kai Watch’s main story) so without further ado!
So I’d been planning on attending 4CC 2017 since I got home from GPF Barcelona 2015. There are several reasons for this:
- GPF WAS SUPA FUN!!!
- 4CC is an Olympic test event—despite people not really considering a prestigious comp, being able to skate on Olympic ice in advance would attract a lot of big names (big faves too, lol)
- In that lieu, I’m definitely not going to afford to watch the Olympics, soooooo! (BUT NEVER SAY NEVER OK!!!)
- and last but not the least, my not-so-famous faves (HI, RICKY KAM!!!) go to 4CC, so!!!
However, unlike GPF, I hadn’t saved enough money by the time tickets on Interpark were released, so I couldn’t get the seats I really wanted! Plus, by the time I had enough money (which was… in December lol), I wavered too long between choosing the more expensive vs the cheaper seats, and MORE nice seats were taken!! What the heck, @ self! I wish I had gotten the cheaper seats in retrospect, but I’ll touch more on that in my next post.
Since I couldn’t get the seats I wanted as a set, I bought a ticket for each event individually. The “season pass” (lol) let people enter and watch the official practices before the competition proper, but since I was going to arrive late (I wanted to miss as little school as possible, ok) and miss them anyway, it was fine. (Though the prices for the five tickets I got is the same as an all-event pass, boo hiss!!)
I got my visa later than I planned. lol.
Well I really was planning on attending by myself since the very beginning, but at last minute my parents told me, “Hey, we’re coming along too!!” and so it basically took us 5 years longer than planned to get all our requirements together. Sighs.
Thankfully we have a butt-ton of visas from the past few years (mine are USA, Japan, UK, and Schengen), which probably helped a lot? There’s a window for applicants who had visited OECD member states within the past five years, and surprise surprise, all the countries I’d been to within the past five years were there! Lucky lucky. Plus the application form isn’t very long so you can finish it in one sitting.
The embassy wasn’t super uptight (people could use their phones inside, i’m shookt) and the process was over in 30 minutes, max. The best part is that they release passports after three days, so despite our application being the definition of Clutch, we got them in time. Yay!
Lodging, like ticketing, was a nightmare.
Most of the really close, really accessible lodging was gone by the time I was trying to book (around the last week of December-first week of January) and it was really… difficult. Most of the motels and hostels in the area only take reservations via phone call, and most (convenient and reasonably-priced, lol) Airbnbs were booked.
(Do not underestimate skating aunties.)
I found a nice Airbnb that was near the bus terminal that was really cheap so I reserved it, but there was a problem with the owner’s contract so I couldn’t stay in the room I reserved! 😖 She asked if she could make up for it too and offered to drive me from the airport (!! Incheon is 4 hours away!!!) and to and from the arena which was super nice;;; Unfortunately I really had to cancel because I had only reserved lodging for one, and as you can remember, my parents decided to come along with me.
The place we got was a nice, fully-furnished Airbnb that came with a fridge and a STOVE (an induction cooker)!!!! So we got to cook our breakfasts and dinners sometimes, heh. It had air conditioning AND heated flooring, which was handy because my parents found it too warm at night sometimes, so I could stick to the floor if I needed to lol. Unfortunately the location was a little out of the way, and buses rarely passed by… thankfully most days we hailed taxis quick enough, and the arena was only around 5-10 minutes away, while the trips cost a reasonable 4300 KRW (~190 PHP) per ride. (“””reasonable””” lmao, everything feels so expensive when I’m not home) The scenery was nice though, right by Gyeongpo beach, so we got to see the sea! The area was super different at night—during the day everything seemed pretty quiet with lots of shades of brown, while at night there were so many neon lights!
The only problem, I guess, is that people don’t speak much English there and I don’t speak a single word of Korean. But we still managed to get our traveling done, which is what matters!?
(Oh yikes, I forgot to leave a review.)
We took Asiana Airlines as our airline of choice on this trip! Truthfully on the way there I completely slept through the flight, lol. The food on the way back was really tasty, chicken with veggies and cream sauce! The only downside was that the plane seats and in-flight entertainment weren’t very good, though I can sleep through almost anything so those are practically negligible, lol.
What sucks though is that on the trip there we were separated so I was stuck in between two strangers, one of which was really sick and coughing all over the place! Thankfully she wore a mask, but other people in our area were not as considerate. Airplanes, like hospitals, I feel are a breeding ground for germs lol.
Airport food was really interesting? We had bibimbap and ox bone soup when we arrived and I was #shookt to discover that the meat and stuff was served cold, haha. Which is no problem because the rice is supa hot so everything gets warm and tasty. When we left we found Taco Bells and Quiznos…es, though we didn’t get anything from there because we have those here?
(If they had Jollibee it’d be a different story.) They had an interesting food court in the middle of the departure gates, where I had bibimbap (again lol) and vegetable dumplings! Really interesting system that lets you just check off all the food you want from a list then you give it to the cashier and pay, afterwards you just pick your food up from its respective food stall. Very convenient and minimises human interaction lolol
The Gangneung City Bus Terminal had a lot of food too! They had a bubble tea, burgers, a small convenience store, and two dried fish stalls lol. My parents, being my parents, bought some dried fish. We still haven’t opened the pack though. The terminal also had a ✨LOTTERIA✨ which was wonderful because I saw Celina tweet about their burgers and;;; Really wanted one;;;;;;;;;; they had so many things with mozzarella cheese. I felt like I had found heaven.
My parents bought a lot of food—cheese sausages, bread, instant rice (lmao the microwaveable kind), bacon, spam, tons of snacks and candy! I really like Lotte’s ABC chocolate. They also went to Seoul without me lol and met with godparents who also sent a lot of snacks with them to give to me. Important note: Honey Butter Chips are ok but Honey Butter Almonds are superior!!! idk why i only bought three packs i shoulda gotten 20 LOL
The arena itself had concessionaires, food trucks, and a local food expo. The Olympics is a big chance for tourism so there were a lot of displays about the different provinces in Korea, and two halls dedicated to the different delicacies and specialties that can be found in the country. In one hall it was alllllllll food. It was like a food court except everything was traditional food! I really wanted to try some of it but there were so many people and I didn’t have any time to wait. Sighs. The expo is Quite A Walk from the arena, so even if I went in between events, I probably wouldn’t have made it back in time! ):￼
Food trucks were right outside the arena. They were selling noodles, rice, street food… a ton of things. The system was pretty messy, because at first they didn’t have signs saying that patrons had to order from a specific food truck first before giving their meal tickets to the truck that actually cooks the food… and because the trucks that served food didn’t have proper queues so some people didn’t get their food even though they were there first! 😳 I ended up helping many skating titas while I was there because of how wild it was. Thankfully the food was good and reasonably-priced (especially for an event!). It was just kind of wild because I was trying to talk to one of the truck people to get my order taken but instead he told me, 「あそこ、あそこ！」, which is still… not the correct language, but it helped. HAHA￼
Inside the arena they had concessionaires that sold stuff like (microwaved) burgers and pizza rolls, snacks (honey butter chips, lol, but really lots of chips and popcorn), drinks like water, soda, and uh. Beer. Well whatever makes you happy. I suppose some people will really be needing those beers when watching the Olympics. Watching figure skating can do that to you, dudes.
IN OTHER NEWS…
The World Championships for figure skating are less than a month away and my good friend Bea (who is one of the people who runs the skating blog, You Only Lutz Once) is organizing a viewing party (streaming party??? crying while watching skating party????) for the Men’s Free Skate! idk about you guys but it’s almost always a lot more fun watching skating with other people. If you wanna get into watching the sport or if you’re even just a little interested, please fill up the form! 😀 The people are nice and it’s always fun to make new friends! 😀 😀 😀
Hopefully I get to get the next post out–about the actual competition–sometime within the week! See you until then!