Day 14 (Japan) / Day 1 (Beijing): Goodbye Japan, Here we are, Beijing!|
NARITA (Japan) / BEIJING (China) - The Dutch Olympic Softball Team arrived safely in Beijing on Tuesday-evening after a 3 1/2 hour flight from Narita in Japan, where the team has held a trainingcamp the past two weeks to prepare for the Olympic Games in Beijing. On Wednesday, the team will be back on the field, as the practice session is scheduled for the afternoon at Fengtai Softball Field, which is the site of the Olympic Softball Tournament.
After breakfast in the Holiday Inn Hotel at Narita, there was time left to relax some, but then everyone came together in the hotel lobby at 11:30 AM to leave for the closeby Narita International Airport.
when we woke up it rained heavily, but while waiting for the bus in the lobby, it started to rain even heavier, accompanied by lightning and loud thunder.
It took only a few minutes to get at the airport. There, the checking-in was done at the desk of Air China and as always that takes a while, as the team has a lot of luggage.
Besides their own suitcases, there are of course, the game bags and the equipment bags.
At the airport, we said goodbye to Hami Ueda, our interpreter during the stay in Japan. She now will visit her family in Yokohama, before returning to the Netherlands.
The Boeing 767-300 of Air China (the airline partner of the Beijing 2000 Olympic Games) took off at 3:18 PM (local time).
In the meantime, the thunderclouds had cleared, so we took off with dry weather, but dark clouds covered the area.
Also on our flight were the Brazilian men's volleyball team and the Israeli swimming-team en route to the Olympics.
It took Captain Mi-Chung Wun exactly 3 1/2 hours to bridge the more than 2000 kilometers from Narita to Beijing and so we touched down at 5:48 (local time, it's one hour earlier in China) at Beijing Capital International Airport.
From there everything went pretty quick.
The team went through customs through the Olympic Lane. A specially created lane for Olympic athletes and their coaches and staffmembers, as well as officials, journalists, family members or others, who are involved in the Olympic Games.
Here the team also got their accreditations, which not only designate that they are participating in the Olympic Games, but also give them access to then Olympic Village and of course, the sports venues.
We had to wait a while for our baggage, but once we got everything, the team went to the bus for the ride to the Olympic Village.
When we arrived, it was warm and humid, but it was good to do. Warmer weather (35 degrees Celsius) is expected for tommorow.
All highways in the immense metropole of Beijing are decorated on both sides with huge banners of the Olympics.
One of the lanes of the 3-way highways is permanently closed and available only for Olympic traffic.
And so we got our first looks of Olympic Beijing.
The Olympic-feelings are getting bigger and bigger. The opening is now only four days away!
The Dutch baggage is waiting in the lobby
The lobby of the Holiday Inn Narita
Coach Mary-Ann Hatt and Kim Kluijskens with only a small part of the baggage
Noémi Boekel, Sandra Gouverneur and Kristi de Vries are ready for another journey
...so are Britt Vonk, Nathalie Timmermans and Saskia Kosterink
Jolanda Kroesen and Petra van Heijst also look forward to the journey to Beijing
Outside, it was raining heavily, but it cleared once we went to the airport
Rebecca Soumeru, Judith van Kampen and Noémi Boekel wait at the airport to check-in
Daisy de Peinder, Coach Linda Wells, Physical Therapist Rob Oskam
and Marjan Smit also wait their turn to hand in the baggage
While waiting, it was a good time to make some photos
Time to check in at the Air China desks
The Air China Boeing 767-300 takes off from Narita International Airport
After the plane reached its altitude, the sky was more blue and the weather got better
Physical Therapist Rob Oskam does some sleeping during the flight
...and so does pitcher Rebecca Soumeru, who folded herself up in her seat
The cabin crew prepares a meal
The team has arrived in Beijing and goes on to customs
Volunteers welcome athletes and others with Olympic information
Marjan Smit, Marloes Fellinger, Britt Vonk, Daisy de Peinder, Ellen Venker,
Nathalie Timmermans and Rebecca Soumeru (in front) show their Olympic accreditation
Sandra Gouverneur, Coach Mary-Ann Hatt and Marjan Smit wait for their baggage
More waiting for the baggage, but it all arrived eventually
Kim Kluijskens, Jolanda Kroesen, Petra van Heijst
and Kristi de Vries with their Olympic accreditation
After claiming the baggage, the team went on the bus
Head Coach Liz Kelly with the Olympic volunteer who picked up the softball team
Go back to the schedule of the Japan Tour