“The Sound of Vitality”

So after 3 weeks of being bogged in a quagmire of freedom, I finally decided to do something; not something rational or well thought out, but rather something spur of the moment as I have oft been wont to do (e.g., buying Betsy my scoot scoot).

As some or most may know, last Tuesday was crunch day. It was no longer possible to put off the RSVP for my friends’ wedding in Michigan. After a brief look on the web and some inflation in my upper dollar-threshold, I was booked onto a flight for Chicago, via Seoul (Incheon), on Monday the 28th. The week flew by with lots of things to keep me occupied, albeit with a few minor anxieties about flying – I’d managed to work myself into quite the bother over it all – and next thing I was buckled in and cruising down the tarmac; however, not before purchasing 26 packs of TimTams for my American brethren on yet another unnecessary whim.

I did not, however, remain in my designated seat for long and had soon claimed an entire row of three middle seats all to myself thanks to the somewhat ’empty’ nature of the plane. Immediately post-takeoff it became apparent that my apprehension over flying was baseless and a little silly and it was time to while away 10 hours of in-flight media and tedia. I’ve decided that flying in the middle rows is somewhat akin to travelling on a long train trip where the person sitting next to you obstinately rejects any pleas to open the curtains. Boring, occasionally bumpy, and best passed with a kip.

The ‘sound of vitality’ was the tagline of a Korean beer sampled in earnest and surely is subject to having been lost in translation. When I think of beer and associated sounds, ‘vitality’ is certainly not a synonym for what pops into my head. Let it be known too that korean beer is generally shite and that I even preferred a can of Foster’s to the two Korean beers I tried.

So now, I’m using up a few minutes in one of Incheon Airport Square’s (not really at the Airport) plethora of Internet Cafes. There must be upwards of 20 in a block and a half, all with large and occasionally flurescent ‘PC’ signs adorning their exteriors. Indeed, this place looks somewhat reminiscent of the Blade Runner sequences, minus the depravity, filth, and hovering vehicles. That is to say – flurescent.

So before rambling on for too long – it is afterall only the first day of the trip – I thought I’d share just a few observations.

* Incheon airport is amazingly good. Modern, spacious, clean, it took literally no longer than 15 minutes to get off the plane, go through customs, baggage claim, quarantine and be at the help desk asking for directions.
* That in 4 months of living with a Korean guy, it had never occurred to me to ask how to say ‘hello’ or ‘thankyou’ in Korean – Kam sa ni da for the latter apparently.
* It is hot (about 30C) and sticky here, quite contrary to my expectations. Sufficiently so that I was gravely concerned for my valuable cargo!
* Do not place a bag anywhere that would leave it with a propensity to fall into a wash basin with sensor-based taps. Result – wetness.
* English is not as abundant here as I would expect, even among the younger IT savvy, internet playing population. I have based this on a sample of only 4 younger IT savvy, internet playing people mind you…
* The dramatic pauses in the film ‘Married Life’ are too long to be believable, especially Harry’s.
* And lastly, there was a group of four Battle-clad polic officers in the airport, all of whom carried (semi?) automatic weapons and one of whom had a bright yellow badge saying GUIDE. I’ll leave that to you.

So onwards and upwards for 13 hours more of movies (hopefully this plane will have individual headsets) logic puzzles and, fingers crossed, empty aisles! Bring on Chicago baby!!

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