Travel Trivia: Details of My Journey to South Korea

After packing, repacking and weighing my luggage a dozen times on bathroom scales, turns out my bags each weighed a bit over 50 lbs. Fortunately the attendant wasn’t worried about it and I was not charged anything extra.  (I would still have to drag the damn heavy things through Seoul though).

I made it through airline security with my bamboo knitting needles, but never once got them out to knit; there simply was no elbow room.

Alan Arkin was traveling on the plane as Gary and I from ABQ to LAX. He and a female companion were seated just a few rows in ahead of my and Gary’s seats. At LAX, while waiting for their luggage to appear on the conveyors, Mr. Arkin and his female companion were quite affectionate with one another, which was very endearing. It was one of the few times I kind of wished I had twitter.

We did not have to pick up and transfer our luggage at LAX; United and Asiana airlines took care of that for us. We did have to get tickets for our flight from LAX to Seoul, however. (They talked me into signing up for Asiana Frequent Flier Miles).

Gary and I ate at LAX. We both had “Asian” food.

There was a family in line in front of us to go through security before boarding the plane in LAX who were so dramatic we thought for sure they were filming a Novella. There were tears and hysteria and lots of photos and hand grasping over ropes – at least until LAX Airport Authority tired of them and put an end to it. That only caused the drama level to increase.

Just as were were attempting to go through the metal detectors, a child belonging to a large family in front of us decided to throw a full-out fit. I mean, lay-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming-fit. Security scuttled around trying to keep the line moving and lots of folks were getting antsy. The mother was simply horrified and I felt bad for her. I was also glad it wasn’t me having to deal with that kid.

There are video monitors on the back of each seat on Asiana Airlines’ Airplanes, so each person can choose to watch what he or she wants. Available choices included movies, Asian TV shows, informative clips and video games.

Gary and I had seats in the center section of the plane.  Our seats were in the middle of the row. This meant we had to disrupt the people sitting on the aisle seats on either side of us every time we wanted to get up to use the bathroom. I tried to get up when the woman next to me got up to minimize disruption. Unfortunately, she had a bladder of steel.

I watched three movies during the flight from LAX to Incheon: Monsters vs. Aliens, which made me giggle, The Soloist, which made me cry (a lot) and (part of) She’s Just Not Into You – the last of which was too stupid to tolerate, even as a free in-flight movie, and kind of pissed me off.

When I ran out of appealing movie options, I read the first third of Julie and Julia, which was better than the last two-thirds. Now I don’t even want to see the movie.

I wasted a good 90 minutes playing a mindless video game that gave me a headache.

The row in front of us was occupied by American Frat boys who found the flight a perfect opportunity to drink all the free beer they wanted.

I had my first Korean meal on the plane – Bim-Bap. Unfortunately it was “Airplane Food Quality.” (I have since had much better authentic Korean food.) I was not crazy about the side dish that looked somewhat like coconut flakes, tasted salty-fishy and, I later noticed, had eyes. I liked the kimchi alright – but again, I’ve tasted some wonderful varieties of Kimchi since then that put the airplane variety to shame.

We beat the sun to S. Korea by about one hour.

Temperatures were taken at Incheon as we dis-boarded the plane and before we went though customs. The now drunk frat boys who were sitting in front of us were as obnoxious as you might imagine. One Hispanic guy threatened to tell the attendant taking temperatures that he was from Mexico. (Ok – I admit, I snickered at that one.)

Incheon Airport is every bit as impressive as everyone described. I may go back there some time just to shop.

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