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AP PHOTOS: A 35-hour Olympic journey from Argentina to Tokyo

July 20, 2021 GMT
Associated Press Photographer Natacha Pisarenko photographs her luggage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, July 17, 2021, before heading to the airport to begin her roughly 35 hour journey to cover the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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Associated Press Photographer Natacha Pisarenko photographs her luggage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, July 17, 2021, before heading to the airport to begin her roughly 35 hour journey to cover the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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Associated Press Photographer Natacha Pisarenko photographs her luggage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, July 17, 2021, before heading to the airport to begin her roughly 35 hour journey to cover the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

There is no easy way from Argentina to Japan. Associated Press Photographer Natacha Pisarenko’s trip was more complicated than most.

From the full-body protective suits worn by fellow travelers in Buenos Aires, to the long wait at Haneda Airport in Tokyo for results from COVID-19 testing, Pisarenko’s roughly 35-hour journey to the 2020 Summer Games was longer than most but otherwise typical for the thousands of athletes, officials and media descending on Japan’s capital this week.

With the opening ceremonies days away, foreigners are arriving in droves despite the city’s state of emergency prompted by surging COVID-19 cases. Visitors are under strict protective protocols that begin with testing 96 hours before their flights and will continue throughout their stays.

Pisarenko’s trek began in Buenos Aires, with a stop in Frankfurt, Germany, en route to Japan. Masks were mandatory throughout, but some travelers took extra precautions. A few in Buenos Aires donned protective coveralls, gloves and plastic face shields — at least one kept the body suit on during the flight to Frankfurt.

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Several steps awaited at Haneda Airport, including saliva virus testing, rounds of paperwork verification and the validation of Olympic credentials. A bus took Pisarenko to a taxi, and the cab finally brought her to her hotel. The tiny room hardly fits her clothes and gear, but out the window is a pleasant view of the city at sunset.