Thursday, August 23, 2018

we dare

A pic of some of the cards I acquired this trip:

My cousin says there have been no delays or cancelations associated with the flights on which I'm tentatively booked, so we're sticking with Plan A and daring the storm. My understanding is that the worst will be over by late Thursday: by Friday, Typhoon Soulik will be battering North Korea, and it couldn't happen to a nicer country.

I've said my goodbyes to my brother David and to my friend Mike. It's a sad thing to leave, but I'm happy I had a chance to see some loved ones again, albeit briefly. Perhaps in the future, there'll be time for longer visits. We'll see.

Unlike when I arrived, I'm now armed with my GlocalMe mobile WiFi system, which means I won't have the communication snafus I had when I was coming into the US. I've used up the 1.1 GB of data that came as part of the device's "free" package, and I'm now steadily draining the $100 package that I'd had the foresight to buy two weeks ago.

I'm trying to decide whether two weeks was enough time or too little time to spend in the States. While I was here, I realized there were things about America that I missed, and things I didn't miss at all. This deserves a lengthy rumination, and it's pertinent to a question that my friend John McCrarey asked in a comment several days ago. I never got around to answering John's question, partly because I knew I'd have to give a lengthy answer, which is hard to do when you're typing on a tiny smartphone. Once I'm back at a keyboard, I'll be sure to meditate on this topic in some depth.

It's almost 10:30 p.m. as I write this entry. I need to be up at 3 a.m. and checked out by 3:30 a.m. in order to drive to Dulles Airport and drop off my faithful rental, which served me well for two weeks. It was empowering to drive again; using cabs and public transportation in Seoul can leave a person limp and passive. It's been nice having more direct control over my fate for a time.

If I drop the car off by 4:30 a.m., I aim to take a shuttle to the airport and be ready to check in by 5 a.m. for a 6:07 a.m. departure. In theory, I'll check my lone bag (the Gregory backpack) all the way to Seoul; my only carryon will be my black day pack, the same one I've used for two walks to Incheon.

I bought a few goofy baubles to attach to my backpack to make it instantly recognizable for when I pick it up at the baggage-claim carousel. Here's hoping the pack survives the trip; this'll be its first real test of character.

I didn't take a picture of today's lunch, which was my final meal Stateside. I took the subway into DC to meet my brother at work; we opted to hit the row of food trucks that line up at a park near David's office. I got a very tasty and messy gyro; David opted for a brisket sandwich. He shared his barbecue sauce with me so I could have a dip for my french fries. Very good and smoky. My gyro was a pretty standard one, except for the feta which, instead of being crumbled, sat in the wrap in the form of a long rectangle: a fallen Ionic column of Greek goodness that stretched the length of the gyro. While at the office, I met one or two of David's coworkers; they seemed nice.

And that, folks, is it for this jaunt back in the States. So long, Trumpsylvania; it's been real. In theory, my next blog post will be hammered out in Seoul, so stay tuned. Fingers crossed for a safe journey back to the land of the raging mandu.

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