2019 Trip - South Korea & Beyond travel blog

Today's journal covers two days - Tuesday, July 9 & Wednesday, July 10.

I got up early, 4:00 am, today. I worked on Monday's blog, downloaded the pictures and by then, Jean was up at 6:00. We went down to breakfast for the hot/cold included buffet. Jean was happy because they had the waffle machine.

We returned to the room to relax and finish packing. At 8:30 we checked out and headed down the road to a Shell station ($3.59 paying cash, $3.65 on credit card). Then down the road we returned our Hertz rental and hopped the bus for the terminal. Boy was it crowded. Then as we dropped people off, more got on. It was tight and a fight to get off the bus with our luggage.

We walked right up to the Korea Air counter, handed her our passports and dropped off our luggage. We then walked over to the TSA Precheck line. There was nobody ahead of us, and just another couple behind us. The TSA agents at the check counter and at the security scan were just hanging around waiting for people. We were through in no time flat. Yeah!

Our flight boarding began at noon for our 12:30 flight to Incheon International Airport in Seoul. Our economy section was the last to board. We are scheduled to arrive after the 11+ hour flight at 5:20 pm on Wednesday. We lose a day just traveling, but will gain it back on our return.

As you read the blog, realize that there is a large time difference between NJ and the places we will be visiting in Asia. Most of the destinations are 12 hours ahead (except Korea which is 13 hours ahead) of NJ, so Monday @9 PM in NJ is Tuesday, 9 AM (10 AM in Korea) where we are visiting. Makes your head spin, doesn't it?

Our flight departed late, about 1:15. The flight was smooth, the onboard entertainment was good, and there were three choices for our two meals. For the first meal I had the chicken entree with rice and vegetables, a salad, roll and a cherry dessert. Jean had a Korean dish - bibimbap. For the second meal, we both had the chicken dish with mashed potatoes, Mozzarella salad, and carrot cake for dessert. They also handed out a beef bun in between the two meals. The meals in economy had real silverware and glass cups! Good service. The stewardesses also make multiple trips serving water & OJ to keep us hydrated. I also had bought and brought onboard two large water bottles and we finished both.

The Korean Air stewardesses were very strict when the seat belt sign was on because of turbulence. They would not allow anyone out of their seat, even to go to the rest room! Just cross your legs, ladies & gents.

We watched a couple of movies on the flight over. We both watched "Captive State", "Replicas", & "Time Freak." I also watched "Five Feet Apart" since I had read the YA novel. Jean also watched "Hotel Mumbai", "Stan & "Ollie" and "Agatha and the Truth of Murder". She couldn't sleep.

I tried to rest a little and was somewhat successful. But the engine noise and uncomfortable positions when you are the middle seat (Jean likes the window when we fly) make it difficult. I also read some science fiction stories on the flight.

We landed at 4:40, ahead of schedule despite the late departure. The weather was rainy. We went quickly through passport control. But we waited about an hour for our luggage. They would only send a few pieces at a time with a wait in-between. Most frustrating. When we got to Jean's bag, she had a large yellow lock on it, so we had to go through a different section where Jean had to open her bag to show them the knife that she brings with her to cut her lemons. I was surprised that she was allowed to keep it.

We finally walked out to the receiving hall and met our GoWay driver who took us to our hotel, the Travelodge Myeongdong Euljiro (which when we first booked the trip was a Holiday Inn Express). Just like any other city, once we got into Seoul we encountered heavy, stop and go traffic. We finally arrived at the hotel at 7:30 pm.

After checking in, we were exhausted from our travel day and just crashed after taking a much needed shower. The room is very small, European style with a king bed and modern facilities. Cozy.

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