Getting to Seoul, South Korea

I will be posting some information about my brief trip to SK. It all started something like this –

Some time ago, when I was writing up a very long document aka my master’s dissertation, I needed a way to motivate myself. While trying not to smash my laptop in when those tables didn’t want to go into the right format, I would repeat my mantra:

“Holiday. Holiday. Holiday”

That’s right – I promised my broke-ass, unemployed student-self a holiday. I was thinking along the lines of an exotic cruise. Nice and chilled to help  me forget the memory of referencing.

www.gotransoptions.com

What I was imagining

And it worked, I managed to finish the monster and contemplate my reward.

A good friend of mine had recently moved to Seoul in SK and she offered me free accommodation and a ton of fun. So without thinking about it too much, I booked the cheapest flight I could find (Qatar Airlines with a stop-over in Doha) and packed my bags.

Getting there was not easy – a 2 hour flight to Joburg, 8 hour flight to Doha, 24 hr? stop-over in Doha and another 10 hours from Doha to Seoul. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time I finally boarded the plane to Seoul.

I had a terrible seat. I was right next to the toilet and would keep waking up as I found someone’s butt in my face. There was a constant queue to the toilet and when the flight attendant’s would walk through, those in the queue would back up hence the butt in my face. Thankfully though, I slept through most of the ten hours of the flight. It is a complete blur. A cold blur as it was freezing on the plane.

So from sunny Cape Town and Doha, we landed in icy Seoul. I was a little bit freaked when I entered the Incheon International Airport terminal – this was not like traveling to London – this was a culture shock. After some effort (i.e. putting on my specs), I realised there were English signs all over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Incheon_International_Airport_Interior.jpg

Inside the Incheon International Airport

Some young Koreans that were on the same flight from Cape Town took pity on my poor lost soul and helped me through the airport. I am eternally grateful for their help. I remember they were missionaries so I was thanking god for their willingness to assist me. They helped me to exchange money (I was a bit paranoid about this but it was fine) and they bought my bus ticket, told me where to stand and told the bus driver where I was going.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Korea-Incheon-International-Airport-Bus-stop.JPG

The bus terminal at the airport

They were also nice enough to write down in Korean where I needed to go (to tell the taxi driver). They gave me their phone numbers in case I got lost.

The bus drive into Seoul was maybe an hour. I was stressed out about where I was going. The bus driver told me when to get off and where I needed to go to catch the taxi. In the dark of night, I used the paper my Korean friends gave me and the taxi driver dropped me where I needed to be. I think he over-charged me though as he could see I didn’t know what was going on.

And after a long journey, I had finally made it to my destination.

– R

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