We booked our tickets through Delta but we used Kayak to monitor fare history so we got a reasonable price on the tickets. We also used Seat Guru to pick out our seats, a big concern on long flights like we were facing. Unfortunately, the plane from San Francisco to Seoul was not the plane that was listed when we booked our tickets, so we ended up in the dreaded seats in the middle of the plane. That flight was about twelve hours long. We did have the aisle seat, so that made it slightly better (if you can say such a thing.) This particular plane was also an older plane, so it didn’t have the individual screens in the back of the seat, only the old drop down movie screen. Boo on that. We Tylenol P.M.’ed it through most of the flight though, getting about eight or nine hours of sleep which was nice. The flight works out pretty well, as you leave San Francisco in the afternoon and arrive in Seoul in the evening (of the next day), so the meals work out nicely. The unwelcome surprise though, is realizing Seoul is not your final destination and that you still have a six hour flight to Bangkok in front of you. It was a quick layover in Seoul, just long enough to stretch our legs and get a quick snack.
Asian labeling is so funny
Click here for our flight to Bangkok album.
Monday, May 28
Somewhere over the China Sea
Twenty seven hours of traveling, three more to go! I now know why it is just so unreasonable for people to make this trip for just a short period of time. I’m so thankful that we have all this time to spend here. We are at such a turning point in our lives now, it seems only right that we mark it with a huge trip like this – no run of the mill trip to Hawaii for us!
We started yesterday in Atlanta. Well, we really started out two weeks ago in Bloomington, truth be told! It was so weird to be sitting in our new place in Houston and packing for this trip. It seemed so surreal then – and really it still does. We weren’t really focused on the trip then, which would explain why we were up until three a.m. Sunday morning repacking. I also think we spent more outfitting ourselves for this trip than we will actually spend on this trip! Anyway, with so much going on in the weeks leading up to this trip and staying up so late repacking for the trip, I think we are both more exhausted than we’ve ever been in our lives. The flight from Atlanta to San Francisco wasn’t too bad – we (well really just I) watched the in-flight movie (Catch and Release) and that helped to pass the time. The wait in San Francisco was bearable. We had to switch airlines from Delta to Korean Air, so they paged us to reprint our boarding passes. When we made our reservations through Delta, we did what we could to get the better economy seats. We were never really sure though because it just seemed that we never got a for sure answer. When we got our boarding passes, it did nothing to make us feel better. I had my first bit of culture shock at the gate – they don’t really attempt to do any organized boarding. Instead at the thirty minute mark everyone stands up and makes an orderly que. It’s quite different than the carefully controlled American process. Josh said that lines in Asia have a really different meaning than they do here. (ie, the don’t really exist and personal space is, well, it isn’t there.)
I’m afraid that when we got on the plane, I really lost it with Josh and it certainly wasn’t his fault. We were just stuck in the middle of the plane and on a twelve hour flight. I was just so exhausted and that was the last straw. I slept for the first hour or so and when I woke up, I was much better. I have to stop doing that though – I am too quick to place fault on him when it isn’t his fault – nor is there anything he could do about.
The flight was so long. They served lunch about two hours into it and so we ate, took two Tylenol P.M. and slept for five hours. Then they served dinner, woke up for that, and went back to sleep for another three hours or so.
The layover in Seoul was kind of interesting. When I was in Europe, blending in was as easy as changing your shoes and ditching your backpack. Especially in Ireland – people thought it was my home! But it won’t be that easy now! There were far fewer Caucasians in the terminal than I had expected. Josh says that is fine by him, but I’m not so certain – I take safety and comfort in others. We know this trip is going to be pushing my limits of what I’m comfortable with, and I hope that turns out to be a good thing.
The most outstanding thing in my mind is the shopping that is available. Everywhere you looked there was a duty free store. These duty free shops weren’t just selling teddy bears either – Gucci, Chanel, Cartier, oh my! It was like being in Lenox Square all over again. People were serious shoppers as well – the impression that I got was that people might take cheap out of country trips just to get the deals. Josh says that tariffs on luxury goods in Asia are very high so the best deals really are in the duty free shops.
We are almost to Bangkok now. I wish it was daylight so we could see out. Off the coast of Laos though we were treated to a phenomenal lightening show. It was absolutely gorgeous – made all the more so because we weren’t flying through it!
We’ve been traveling for over thirty hours now and as much as I am ready to be off the plane, I am still quite nervous about what awaits us on the ground.
Wow – we are here! Checked into the hotel safe and sound – although I have to say, arrivals are not our strong point! It’s two a.m. and after a shower and snack food, we feel human and ready for a good nights sleep.