Posted by: topher274 | October 29, 2008

The Road Goes Ever On And On

Even more jet-lagged than we should have been, my new Korean friend and I woke up sometime in the 4:00 am hour. We turned on the TV and watched a little news, then went down to check out breakfast. It was a good breakfast…

Yeah, I guess this part of the story is pretty boring. But hey! There were all these cool crystal chandeliers. Here are the pictures I took.

This was kind of the basic idea. these long thin shards of crystal suspended from the ceiling with lights above. These four were above where we had been waiting in line the previous night.

A thicker variety, this one was in the elevator. They all have mirrored ceilings above them too, or at least reflective surfaces. A very nice effect.

This monstrous one was on the way to the resturaunt. It was absolutely breathtaking “irl” (‘in real life’ for those not up on the ‘internet’ jargon), but I don’t think this quite conveys all of its majesty.

Last one, this was in the foyer. All spherical and such, it was a great innovation on the theme.

Well, enough about chandeliers. Breakfast opened at 6:00am, and we tried to be slow, but try as we might, we just couldn’t have a 2 hour breakfast. Trying to kill time until my 12:30 pm flight, I had still about 5 hours to go. We decided to go back to the Airport by the time it hit 9:00 am. It was all pretty normal until I got on the plane, until we got to the gate where there was wonderful furniture sculpture garden for people to sit and lie down on. I’d show pictures, but I think I’ve put enough for this post. Check out facebook. After two hours of waiting together, I parted ways with Mr. Lee, trading info should we want to see each other again.

The flight on Korean Air was great. They served some strange, unidentifiable food of bright yellow-orange color and indeterminate flavor. It was nice. I had wanted to see the famous thousands of church steeples as you fly into Seoul, but there was unfortunately so much cloud cover that I couldn’t see any of the city until we were practically on the landing strip. Next time, I guess. This is where the interesting level of the story starts picking back up.

So, by some miracle of God and man, my checked bags were actually there at the Seoul/Incheon Airport. To this day I still can’t quite believe that they were there. So, immigration, customs, and then I made my way out of security to the wide world beyond.

So, now I went out and, well, let me tell you first what I expected. I expected someone from the school, like my co-workers to take me and my luggage to my new home. But this is how it actually turned out. Waiting outside the door was a Korean man with a sign that had my name and the name of another girl, Courtney, who was coming in at the same time as me.

‘Great!’ I thought, there’s someone else coming – I’ll be able to chat with her as we drive into Seoul together, and have someone to debrief a little bit with.” Well, the Korean gentleman bade me sit down on a nearby bench as we both waited for Courtney, who came out in about 10 minutes. He then led her away, presumably to the van, telling me to ‘Wait here’ in English as broken as a Desert Streams intern. He returned in another 10 minutes, though he started to escort me in the opposite direction. Curious, I thought, as I quickly lost hope for an English conversation in my near future. My eyes wide open in astonishment, he simply led me to an airport shuttle bus, put my luggage in the undercarriage, and told me “Mok-Dong Station.” He gave profuse explanation to the bus driver that I must get off on said Mok-Dong station. He was not to come with me apparently. As the doors were closing, he told me again, “Mok-Dong Station. One hour.” One hour?! The bus lumbered away.

On the one hand, I was dead tired, all I wanted to do was sleep. On the other hand, I was now riding the bus in the country of my new home and would be a terrible thing not to look out upon it, take in the landscape, gray though it was that day. Even so, my life depended on getting off at Mok-Dong Station, so my ears were straining to hear every stop so I would not get myself in the sort of trouble I wouldn’t be able to get out of.

About an hour later, Mok-dong station is announced as the next stop. But before the bus driver starts to drive there from the previous stop, he comes to the back of the bus to find me, making me stand up front so I don’t miss it. Partially blinded and completely overloaded with the stimuli that is an asian city, a convergence of excitement, dread, weariness and something else (mild epilepsy?) all bore down on me at once as the bus pulled up to the stop at Mok-dong station. I got out with my laptop and my shoulder bag, completely overwhelmed.

I looked around outside and I didn’t see any station, I can’t even find the entrance at first glance. Happily, it took only about 15 seconds before I turned around to see a minivan pull up to the curb and a skinny, bookish korean man come out to greet me. He introduces himself with a name familiar to me, Mr. Choi, the director of my school. I shake his hand and then he asks me a fascinating question. “Where is your luggage?”

Oh. No. Realization comes over me all of a sudden. My luggage is still under the bus. I don’t even really remember what the bus looks like! I mean it was only less than half a minute ago, but, but, Oh my goodness what are we going to do. Mr. Choi didn’t mince words, we both jumped in the van and he barrelled down the busy road after the bus. Amid the, perhaps, 10 buses that were around, I spotted mine and Mr. Choi pulled up next to it. After an excited conversation from Mr. Choi’s rolled down window through the open bus door at a red light, it seemed that the driver would give up the luggage at his next stop. He did, we got the luggage and put in the van and finally made our way off the main roads to some side streets, to even smaller and narrower streets, ending up at a small apartment building of four stories. Of course, the apartment is on the fourth floor. The stairwell lights turning on automatically as we climbed, we arrived at the door of my new home.



  1. “as broken as a Desert Stream intern”? I laughed out loud…until I remembered that I will be a DS intern in two short months. Then I got offended. Then I laughed again.

    That was brilliant.

  2. holy crap. talk about a mind job, neo. I envy and fear for you at the same time! More pictures please, i don’t have an rss feeder for facebook :)

    And for the rest of the family that has no idea that you have posted already… you all loose, and you should have read my e-mail.

    more pictures!!! I’m really glad you got your luggage too, that would have been a disaster!

  3. First your passport, then your luggage. Maybe you should start writing things on your hand…

  4. Poor Arce, his response to this would only confirm for the world that English is indeed his 4th language.

  5. Wow.

    (That’s the only word I could come up with.)

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