While I title this blog entry, Monday, June 28th, it is actually Friday morning, July 2nd, as I write it. Kelly and I have hit the USA running and it does not seem like we have stopped running yet. But back to our last day in S Korea-back to Monday...
We were up early in order to finish packing and finish cleaning Dan's apartment. We cannot thank Dan Sadley enough for the use of his apartment while he was back in the States on his one month break. Being in the same apartment building and only one floor above Aaron during our adventure here was a real bonus!
Kelly walked to McD for my last black coffee and after finishing cleaning the apartment, we watered Dan's plants and fed his fish before heading to Aaron's at 7:45 AM Incheon Time. We then went downstairs to the front of the apartment/office building to wait for Jeong Mi and her father. He graciously volunteered to take us to the airport this morning.
Principal Kim gave Aaron permission to travel with us to the airport, so we said our goodbyes to Jeong Mi there and then Kelly, Aaron, Jeong Mi's dad, and I headed to the Incheon Seoul Airport traveling over the same roads that we had explored during our 10 days with Aaron.
It was a nice morning weather wise and traffic was not bad at all. We arrived at the airport and after saying our goodbyes, (hugs and Kisses to Aaron!), we went into the airport to find the United Airlines Reservation desk in order to get our boarding passes and our luggage checked in. We arrived around 8:40 AM and had to wait until 9:10 until the desk opened.
But we did not have to wait long until we were checked in. My checked bag needed further inspection by the baggage officials so Kelly and I headed to the baggage inspection room. That small change bag alerted bells and whistles but after showing the inspectors, we were cleared and headed to security.
They had flip flops handy for us to wear after leaving our shoes in the bins.. very kind, organized, security officials; then to immigration to have our passports examined and stamped that we were leaving S Korea.
Then to the Monorail to ride and then find our Gate #123. Since we still had an hour, we got a coffee and we were able to email family that we were waiting to board our plane to Tokyo.
We boarded and lifted off at 12:10 pm.. Goodbye Korea!
We landed without incident, at Tokyo-Narita Japan airport and followed the international connecting flight signs through their security area. No problems with change purse this time around!! We used the restrooms while waiting for our flight out and loved the bidet that was in the commode area! Too crowded in there to play with the features but next time... even has a button to play "flushing sound".. very cool!
We boarded our plane and were seated on the right side in a three seat area. We had hoped to have had an empty seat between us, but at the LAST MINUTE a gentleman from Peru was seated in our row.. so we gave him the window seat and Kelly and I took the aisle and middle seats.
The 11 hour 40 minute flight began... another marathon to get through.. they continued to provide food, drink, hot wash cloths, to keep the "hostages" happy but I just wanted it to be over... we tried to get some rest and sleep.. we watched some movies as well to pass the time. We also tried to get up out of our seats every couple of hours to stretch our legs, get the circulation moving, and use the restroom when we could.
We landed safely at the Houston airport and followed signs through customs/immigration/security screening. We then had to take our checked bags through security again and they were then loaded onto the Houston to Cleveland plane.
Horray... could now use our own phones!!! We called Mart to tell her that we were in Houston... and then Melissa Called.. She was following our flight path and knew that we had landed safely. We were able to email Aaron and text Jeremiah, and we loaded the plane for Cleveland. I guess there was a huge storm that went through Huston about an hour before our arrival.. in fact, the pilot said they even closed down Houston Airport for an hour.. so the planes were backed up and it was another 30 min wait on the tarmac before the pilot was given the go ahead.
So that backed us up getting into Cleveland by 20 minutes or so.
But at 7:50 PM, Monday, June 28th (Kelly said it was like the movie Groundhog Day: the longest June 28th we have had to endure..hahah) we landed in Cleveland (where Kelly kissed the ground). We got our baggage and Marty was waiting for us to take us to her house for a wonderful meal of fresh bing cherries, pulled pork and cheese sandwiches, and chips and carrot sticks. American food is still the best!
We were able to visit on the phone with Jeremiah and Melissa, call mom and dad, Kathy, and Day, and head on home to Franklin. We made a stop for coffee and worked at keeping awake the last 20 miles of the trip. It was good to get home to see Chornie and Nipsy and sleep in our own bed.. we were home by 11:30 and in bed by one AM or so..
So we continue to work at getting our jet lag out of our systems.. we find ourselves taking huge naps during the afternoon and then not getting to sleep until much later.. but we are confident that it will work itself out eventually. We end this adventure with some random thoughts about Korea...
Korea has A LOT of steps and hills to climb
Modern Clean Subways
Many taxis, good bus system..
Efficient Airport system.. kind, polite workers...
Most signs in Korean and English
Everyone has cell phones and they use them A LOT
Everyone carries umbrellas and they have umbrella plastic bags to hold wet umbrellas in stores/restaurants
We saw only brown shelled eggs and there are frozen ice cream freezers in or by every
convenience store in Incheon! Kelly could not find decaffinated coffee.
Koreans share/eat from the same bowls and Edie is not an expert at using chop sticks and a table spoon
Koreans use large scissors to cut meat.
No dryers to be seen. Wash clothes in small washer and hang clothes to dry
Many exercise stations in parks and even on trails
Heavy large hulla hoops are part of their exercise regime.
Koreans were very kind and often stopped to help us when we looked lost and needed their assistance.
In Incheon there are lots of bars, small restaurants, churches, singing rooms.
We did not feel that Incheon was a clean city
We never felt unsafe
Many people out (even children) late at night walking the sidewalks and/or playing in the park.
There are lots of schools, and lots of Private Academies for parents to send their children to-to learn how to speak English.
Many of the Korean dishes we sampled were hot (spicy!)
Wonderful monuments, palaces, plenty of things to see and places to explore
American restaurants are there if one looks hard enough
No Tipping in Any Restaurant and no tipping the taxi driver
Their currency is the Won and the rate of exchange was 85 cents to 1,000 won
Large stores, grocery and department...
There are Chinese in Korea and we ate at an Indian and a Chinese Restaurant.
We met some wonderful people and we're thankful to get to know Jeong Mi and Her Parents; staff at HamBak Elementary School, and Bamboo Dance Academy. And to visit with Franklin Guys and some of the other Westerners that Aaron hangs around with during his down time.
So lots of hours on planes each way but well worth it! Thanks Again Aaron for Everything!
See you and Jeong Mi in August!
Check out our Picasa website for last set of Pics!