Layover in Korea
Seoul Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
Sun 25 January 2009
I was home for 2 Â˝ days and then back at Oâ€™Hare airport. Another long flight was ahead of me, but I was glad. I was really tired and cranky from running around and looked forward to a long sleep on the plane. Tim dropped my off and a couple hours later I boarded Asiana. I was so tired that I slept through the 1am takeoff and intermittently woke up, but didnâ€™t fully awake until 9 Â˝ hours later. There was a sticker on the back of the seat in front of me. â€śI hope you enjoyed your rest. If you would like a meal or a drink, ask a flight attendant.â€ť Wow, I could still get my meal! I wondered when breakfast was due, but decided Iâ€™d get my moneyâ€™s worth and ask for dinner. The flight attendant said, â€ś Iâ€™m sorry, we only have steak available.â€ť Steak, I thought, why be sorry about that? Breakfast was in another hour, but I couldnâ€™t wait. A few minutes later, I was hand delivered the most divine airplane meal ever. â€śThis is not fresh,â€ť the flight attendant said, pointing to the meat. â€śItâ€™s okay,â€ť I responded. It looked so much better than the bus/airplane food I had been previously served. The meal was absolutely amazing. Steak with potatoes, raw salmon on a bed of lettuce, a side salad, crossiant, and chocolate brownie cake. I passed the rest of the hours playing with the interactive elements on the TV, watching movies and eating breakfast. The second meal wasnâ€™t as good, but still high class. We were served pancakes stuffed with fruit, sausages, and bread. 14 hours after departure, we touched ground again.
Only while I was home did I realize that I had a 12 hour
Mon 26 January 2009
Off the plane, I spotted a flyer for city tours that left and arrived back at the airport for $50US. Perfect! I navigated through customs and found the tourist booth. In my spare time, which I had plenty of, I checked out the amazing airport â€“ which was 1st class. At 9:30am, almost 4 hours later, we began our tour.
The tour group consisted of about a dozen Americans â€“ also poorly dressed for the weather and between flights. Our guide, Cindy, spoke broken English, and I really had to concentrate on her words when she spoke.
Cindy was an informative tour
guide. Incheon, the home of the airport, is a city on a man-made island. We had
to drive 1 hour to get to the capital of
We drove down
In terms of education, 95% of Koreans go on to 2 or 4 years of college/university after graduating from high school. Men, however, are required to served in the military and usually do so between high school and college. For women, the military is optional.
On the way to the palace, we
passed a few landmarks including the Presidentâ€™s house. When we arrived at
We walked around from one building to the next, then came around an area where free activities were taking place for the holiday. We tried a hand at the traditional game of throwing sticks in long tubes, juggling koosh-like balls of ribbon, and throwing down sticks to move game pieces around a board. Also, there was an area where kids were being pulled on wooden sleds and both children and adults were using long whips to spin large wooden tops. The last one was the most interesting and entertaining of them all.
Then, we walked quickly through
Our final stop was lunch. We had a choice of two dishes. I picked the
Korean BBQ beef. We took our shoes off
before sitting down and let our legs dangle underneath the table while we sat
on cushions. I shared a table with a
couple from the Seattle/Vancouver area. We chatted about travel,
Traffic was worse coming back, but were were given a view of the multitude of bridges â€“ all different in design â€“ that crossed the river. Back at the airport, I had 3 hours to kill so I found the free internet area and relaxed.