Friday, April 19, 2013

landed (scheduled post)

One final scheduled post to keep you up to date with my travels.

Assuming I'm not dead from a North Korean missile or severely delayed because of a passenger freakout, I am, in theory, now on Korean soil. We've just landed. It's 3:10AM, DC time, on April 19; here in Seoul, it's full-on afternoon: 4:10PM. Seoul is currently 13 hours ahead of DC; in the fall, that time difference become 14 hours.

At this point, I'm assuming we've taxied to a halt and are waiting to deplane. I'll file out with the other tired passengers, rumpled and redolent in my now-stinky shirt and pants after 14 hours of sweating into an airline seat. I'll then line up at passport control to get my passport stamped and have some questions thrown at me in Korean (once the official discovers I speak Korean; I usually initiate the conversation in Korean), quietly scan the lines for any hot-looking women, then proceed to the baggage claim to grab my backpack. I'll once again try to quietly slip, Jedi-like, past the customs folks on the airport's lower floor; they normally don't stop you unless you've got the sort of baggage that looks as if you've got something to declare: people hauling overstuffed suitcases or stacks of boxes are much more likely to be stopped and questioned than people like me, who have only one carry-on and one backpack.

Once I step outside the airport, I'll have to hunt down the proper limousine bus to take me to the part of Seoul I need to go to. I'll pay the bus fare—it used to be about 12,000 won, but is now more likely W14,000 or W15,000. Like movie ticket prices in the US, bus fare in Korea rises steadily year after year.

I won't rent a cell phone at the airport. My buddy Tom, who will meet me later in the evening, has promised to help me cadge a phone from a vendor in Itaewon. While I'm in Itaewon, I'll also need to find someone to look at my new MacBook. The MacBook itself seems to work just fine as long as it's in a Wi-Fi hot spot: I tested it at a local Starbucks in Appalachia before I left on this odyssey. The Wi-Fi functionality is perfect. Unfortunately, the Ethernet hookup doesn't seem to work, and the optical CD/DVD drive keeps spitting out the CDs I've put into it. Double-plus ungood, that. But I'm not overly worried: Korea is the Land of the Morning Tech, so I'm sure I'll find a decent computer-repair place that'll get my machines behaving nicely in a jiffy.

This is the final scheduled post predicting, in rough form, what I'll be doing and when. The next post I write won't be scheduled: it'll be "live," or as live as live can be when it comes to blogging. It's been fun pretending to be Hari Seldon for a few hours. See you soon.


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