Friday, August 24, 2018

arrived and back at my place

This is going to be brief: I've got reverse jet lag after two weeks of trying to acclimate myself to Virginia's time zone, and I can feel my energy steadily draining away. In a nutshell:

1. The flight from SFO to ICN was approximately 11 hours and 20 minutes. From IAD to SFO, it was a little over 5 hours. All told: almost 17 hours, not counting a 1.75-hour layover.

2. I had been told that I'd have a whole row of seats to myself (i.e., three seats), but some asshole sat in my row, probably after having misread his ticket. I didn't say anything, and since there was an empty seat between us, I was fine with having a little extra leg room.

3. I found it interesting that I didn't have to pass through a second layer of security when walking to my connecting flight yesterday. At a guess, there's more security for incoming passengers than for outgoing passengers, just as a matter of immigration/national security. There's less need to scan the passengers who're leaving the country, after all: once they're airborne, they're no longer the US's problem.

4. The rigid rhythm of in-flight meal service: drinks, then a dinner where you choose your protein (beef or chicken?), then a tiny dessert like an ice-cream sandwich or a mini-sorbet, then more drinks, then a snack in the form of a ham-and-cheese sandwich, then a round of water (in cups or bottles), then breakfast (choice of eggs or French toast this time), then more drinks. This pretty much guarantees that the restrooms are always in use.

5. Speaking of restrooms: peed twice, no shits while on the plane.

6. This flight from SFO to ICN, UA 893, had the largest percentage of non-Koreans for any Korea-bound flight I've ever been on. It was strange and disorienting.

7. Because of my F-4 visa, I'm now considered a resident and no longer have to fill out the "arrival card." I only fill out the declaration form. Cool.

8. I never bother to obtain headphones anymore. I try my best to spend my nearly 12 hours sleeping. That, or I spy on what other people are watching. I've noticed that most passengers have too little attention span to watch a single movie all the way through; everyone flips channels out of boredom.

9. Occasionally, I have to rock forward and assume the crash position as a way to relieve pressure on my coccyx. And ever since those articles on deep-vein thrombosis came out years ago, I've adopted a sort-of exercise regimen in which I flex my larger muscle groups repeatedly as a way of shaking things up internally. I do isometric exercises to flex my biceps femoris muscles; I raise my feet to flex my quads; isometrics again for my biceps and triceps; and I squeeze my glutes, much to the amusement of any passengers behind me as they watch the top of my head bob up and down.

10. There was a baby screaming somewhere behind me, but the creature was far enough away not to bother me. I felt sorry for all the passengers around the baby who had to endure its shrieking. There should be a law saying that young children cannot appear in public places or be allowed to travel until they are at least ten years old, when most of their inherent obnoxiousness has evolved into something more subtle and passive-aggressive.

11. I now worship my GlocalMe mobile WiFi hotspot, but it's not a panacea. I tried it while aboard the aircraft, and it didn't work, which is what I suspected would happen. GlocalMe works, I think, by siphoning the local LTE signal and converting that into usable WiFi, which is why my data package isn't infinite the way it is for regular WiFi. In the airplane, there's the airline's WiFi, but you have to pay for that, and you can't access ground-based LTE because you're flying too fast to hook up with any local cell towers: they're "local" for only a minute or so, and you're 40,000 feet (12,200 m) in the air. Now that I've brought my GlocalMe with me to Korea, I'm not going to need it at all while in country. I plan to store it in its original box and bring it out when I go to France in October. I just need to remember not to watch videos with it: videos consume enormous chunks of data.

12. Went quickly through Immigration, took a gratifying dump at a men's room in the baggage-claim area, got my backpack, then went out into the cloying heat and humidity to buy a W14,000 ticket for the 6009 bus that goes all the way to Gaepo-dong, the district where I live. Rode the bus, walked about a half-mile to my apartment building, and got hailed by the concierge who always gives me shit about my weight. No fat jokes this time; he simply noted he hadn't seen me in a while, so I told him I'd been in the States for two weeks.

13. Got to my apartment and found two notes stuck to my door: (1) a note from the building's electrical-management service saying I had used a lot of electricity over the past month and asking to do an inspection, and (2) a note from the gas company saying they needed an update on my address information so as to continue billing me. I called the electric folks and found out that no inspection was needed; they simply felt like sending me a note to inform me of my abnormally high consumption of electricity (I admitted I had blasted the A/C quite a bit, but also noted that this hadn't been reflected on my previous month's bill, to which they replied that this month's bill would reflect the usage). I made the electric folks aware that I'd be happy to pay for any overage, which is what I usually do. In fact, I'm really not sure why they bothered to contact me at all, given that, according to my monthly bills, I'm always an above-average consumer of power no matter the season. As for the gas company, I called them up, too, and they said that the real-estate company that managed my move hadn't given them any updates, so I provided my name, address, phone number, and saeng-nyeon-weol-il, i.e., my birth year, month, and date (1969.08.31). For good measure, I went down to the real-estate office, and the lady there said I didn't need to do anything more, so I guess that's that.

14. Ordered a large pizza from the local Papa John's. Surprisingly, I ate only half this time. I don't know why I keep ordering this pizza; it's really not that good, and it's way too expensive.

15. I need to do laundry and unpack, but I'm just too cross-eyed to do either. Will probably just crawl into bed and ride a wave of oblivion until morning.

Maybe this wasn't so brief. Anyway, I'm dead tired. Signing off now. More later.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

Welcome home! Glad everything went as well as you can hope when traveling...