September 4, 2008

9/4/08 Seoul Korea

Well, it's not really the fourth of September because I lost that day when we crossed the international date line.

Before boarding the 1am flight to Korea, I met Kristin, a high school junior from Wisconsin who was headed to Russia on a Rotary Club international exchange. She was an interesting girl, so sure of herself even at that young age. Later we also met Elliot, another Rotary exchange student doing his senior year in Russia too. With the Republican National Convention playing on all the airport TV screens it was inevitable for the conversation to spill over into politics where I took a middle path between their two divergent views.

Kristin

I was impressed at how much they were informed about the issues in elections that they can't even vote in. But that shouldn't surprise me since they were traveling halfway around the world to go to high school in a country where they don't even speak the language, just for the experience of it all. I know I wouldn't have had that much courage at that age.

I had thought to talk to them more during the flight since they didn't sit too far from me, but the plane was completely full and I had a window seat. I felt guilty for asking the two people sitting next to me to get up every time I wanted to use the bathroom, that I didn't get up any more than I had to. And unfortunately, once in Korea, my connecting flight was in a different terminal so I didn't get a chance to see them during our long layover.

I flew on Asiana, an airline I had never heard of before. It was actually very nice. The stewardesses were very nice. Before meals we were presented with steamed towels to wash our hands. And the meals even had real metal knives and forks. Actually, the meals seamed a lot higher class than I was used to on previous flights. We took off in the middle of the night and stayed in darkness the whole trip up over Alaska near the Arctic Circle before following the Aisan coast down to Korea. The flight took 12 hours but we landed an hour earlier than planned.

While at O'Hare airport in Chicago wanted $7 to use the Wifi, it was free in the Seoul airport. So, sent a quick email to my mom and then to those picking me up in UB. It was kind of weird being in an empty aiport terminal at 4am. My flight didn't leave till after noon, so I had a long wait. I was afraid to sleep on the benches as I didn't want my snoring to alert security. [laugh] I was a little worried that my bags wouldn't make it to Mongolia since they wouldn't check them the whole way when I was in KC. But the helpful staff at Asiana said it was all taken care of.

So, getting ready to get on the MIAT (Mongoloan Airlines) plane for UB. Can't wait.