The long way home

Seoul Travel Blog

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I wasn't really looking forward to the long journey home.  On the way back there would be no overnight in Texas to break up the long journey.  Flying from the East to the West we would be arriving in Dallas "before" we even left Seoul.  How's that for messing up your head? 

Because our Korean Air limo was set to depart for the airport at about 0545, we were going to miss our final gourmet breakfast buffet at the hotel.  Nothing an airline employee hates more, than to miss out on something free!

So, we were up early and after bidding a fond farewell to the electronic loo (I'm going to miss that), we were on our way for the hour ride to Seoul Incheon Airport.  The airport was heaving with people when we walked into the enormous checkin hall.  We were starving but determined to take care of the formalities before relaxing "airside" to wait for our flight to be called.

After standing in "this" line and then being redirected to "that" line, we finally made it to the counter.  Whew, there was still availability on the flight, so we were given seats immediately without having to wait near the "standby" desk for our names to be called..........or not.  Having a seat assignment in hand is the ultimate goal in "nonreving". We were well on our way to Dallas, our spirits airborne, even though our feet had not yet left the ground.  With our bags in hand, we breezed through the security checkpoint.  Why is it always so much easier to be scrutinized in a foreign land than in our own country?  One of life's unanswered questions.

We thought we'd take advantage of the duty free shopping before heading to our boarding gate but were sorely disappointed with the lack of anything "Korean" that might have qualified as a last minute gift.  They were obviously geared toward the "big spenders" in this airport, with designer shops of every description offering handbags, jewelry, clothing and electronics, all tagged with a famous name that could be found in any big city in America, but at much higher prices.

By this time, our stomachs thought that our throats had been slit (as Mark likes to say) so we found the only coffee bar available on the concourse for a quick snack. Strange, but there were no restaurants in the terminal......guess they thought we'd all be shopping duty free.  After washing down a nasty little sandwich with an even nastier little cup of coffee, we gave up and went in search of our boarding gate.

We were soon queuing with the rest of the passengers when our flight was called for boarding.  This time we made sure that as least one of us was seated on the aisle, even if the other had the middle seat out of three.  Our window mate spent most of the flight with a blanket over his head so we nearly felt as if we had the row to ourselves. 

As luck would have it, the movie monitors on the seatbacks in front of us were the only ones on the aircraft that were not functioning properly. We were now able to kill time on the flight by moving back and forth between our seats and the row ahead of us,  thereby  providing a good way for us to keep from falling asleep in any one spot.

Because we took a direct route straight across the Pacific Ocean instead of following the polar land masses, we were able to shave two and a half hours off our previous flying time of fourteen hours. Maybe it was just because we were returning home, without the excitement that comes at the beginning of a trip, but I would swear that the onboard  meals took a decided turn for the worse.  Too much white rice was served with everything which left me with an uncomfortable case of heartburn for the remaining four hours of the flight. 

Our arrival into Dallas was earlier than expected, which gave us an extra half hour to tack onto our three hours of connecting time until our flight to Phoenix.  With the help of a breakfast without rice, we passed the time easily until we were called for boarding.

On this two hour flight, I fell asleep immediately after assuring the flight attendant that I could indeed open the overwing exit in  case of an emergency.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even remember the takeoff when I found myself awake an hour later. Another two hour time change and it was still only a little past one o'clock in the afternoon as our wheels touched the ground in Phoenix.

Even though I'd forgotten my ruby slippers, I tapped my heels together as I said to myself.......there's no place like home.........

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photo by: chiyeh