George and I on KA
I knew Mongolia wasnâ€™t like China nor Vietnam. The weather is quite unpredictable due to its geography. Yet Vietnam and China would be hot and rainy by the time I arrive. I can only bring 20 pounds with me on this 2 months trip. So, before leaving, my sister, Jen and I went shopping to buy stuffs for my trip. I packed 2 long pants, 2 jeans, 1 waterproof pant, 1 windbreaker, 1 sweater, 1 cardigan, 7 tee shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, lots of undies, and lot of socks.
I packed my binocular, Swiss knife, chargers, flashlight, matches, sunscreen, 2 books, lotion, toiletries, and all the necessity to survive the â€śifâ€ť. I knew it would be hard to eat without fish sauce and hot sauce for 21 days in Mongolia but I couldnâ€™t carry another bottle of fish sauce around Mongolia. So, I decided to tough it out. At the airport, while waiting for my plane, I decided to buy my last glass of Pinot. As if my guardian spirits were with me, the eatery at the airport has tons of Tapatio pack, which I love a whole lot more than Tabasco lying out at the condiment table. I walked to the condiment table pondering should I or should I not take it. If I did take it, I would be such a weak sauce for not toughing it out for only 21 days without spices. After sipping some more wine, I calculated that I would need at least 1 bag per week to keep me happy.
The only non brand name display at the airport
I gave in the hot sauce temptation. While the server wasnâ€™t looking, I took 5 bags of Tapatio. I boarded the airplane. It was a strange emotion sitting on the airplane. As the airplane pulled up in the air, I felt a sense of lightness, of leaving everything behind. Next to me, there was a young couple on their honeymoon to Thailand. Theyâ€™re from Texas and they had to take 3 different flights, 1 bus from OC to LAX, in order for them to go to Thailand. It was their first time to Asia and abroad. I wondered if they would get the most out of their honeymoon or not. I took out my guidebook which I scouted several bookstores for the Mongoliaâ€™s guidebook. I told myself to learn as much about the country as I can before landing. Instead, I watched movies continuously during my 12 hrs flight.
It was great. I havenâ€™t seen a lot of these movies since I was working all the time in the state. So, at least, Iâ€™m using the most of my 2100 dollars ticket. I arrived at Seoul the next day. Of all the airports I have been, I have to say Incheon Airport is one of the most luxurious airport ever. It is filled with Luxury brands and the people were so posh. I felt out of place with my jean and tee shirt. It was so easy to identify Americans and backpackers among Korean vacationers. Surprisingly, there were a lot of French people on the way to Mongolia. On the leg to Mongolia, I sat next to an American lady, mid fifty, who was on a tour with Trek Adventure Tour. She was so worry for me since I didnâ€™t have a set itinerary for Mongolia yet. I also meet another Japanese American from San Jose, who was my momâ€™s age and on the same tour as the American lady. She was also worry for me. I really wish my mom was as adventurous as these ladies were!
The sunset view at 9:00 pm