Day 1: the orange juice on Korean Air was from Mill Park, Victoria, via Singapore
Worth a mention:
- The man on my flight, in my row, who continued to burp loudly and claimed the spare seat between us as his and his alone
- Cable TV at the Hilton Regency: looking forward at Russia with RT news (Russian news in British) and looking back with the Essendon vs. Melbourne game live on Australia Network
It’s just hit 9:00am on what would otherwise be a school day – by now I’d normally a green tea or skim cappuccino in hand and I’d have already mulled over the morning’s media coverage – yet today I’m Europe-bound and one sip into my first beer. I know what a lot of you are probably thinking: Adam, why did you wait so long to tuck into a bev?
Today I’m flying Korean Air bound for Incheon International airport and ultimately for Saint Petersburg, Russia. Thoughts about visiting Europe began last October, but it wasn’t until the nose of the plane lifted off the tarmac that excitement hit and I was washed over by the realization that this was honestly happening.
As the drinks kart went past, the beverage options were varied. I cracked a smile at seeing the OJ was sourced from Victoria. A lot of the homeward-bound passengers opt for tomato juice. Someone’s just asked for a glass of milk. I’ve chosen Hite beer. Breakfast is on its way.
It was a 10+ hour flight to Incheon International in South Korea, an hour out of its capital city of Seoul. The flight from Oz took us over PNG, the Pacific Ocean and the southern tip of Japan before veering left for South Korea.
That night I met up with some girls from Germany for dinner – Gigi, Vicky and Zena – who were the only people I spotted that looked remotely close to my age whom also had to stopover in Incheon, and that night we we all feasted on a huge buffet at the Hyatt Regency where we were staying.
Day 2: the longest bridge in the world
Worth a mention:
- Departure terminal at Incheon International: a local grandma listens to ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion, volume up full with the speaker of her flip phone to her ear as I make some trip notes
- Duty free at Incheon: never buy duty free from Australia if you’re every passing through here – it is damn cheap
- Paramount are constructing a large film studio on the island
Leaving my room for breakfast I met Renne, a Central Coast girl also working in PR who also once lived in Randwick – random coincidences – whom was London-bound. We kept talking over breakfast where we were later joined by an Israeli man, whom Renne dined with last night, and the pair told a story of an Isralie woman they had met over dinner the night before. This woman was destined for Israil, her homeland, however the reason for her travel was because she’d decided to separate from her husband of four years having moved to live with him in Brisbane. Not the typical response to the standard travelling question of “where are you heading?”. It seems some survive big international relocations, Matt I’m thinking of you here, and some do not.
With a total of 24 hours in Incheon, and not confident I’d make it in to Seoul and back in time, I opted for a ‘transfer tour’ and joined a mother-daughter duo from Sydney on a tour of Heungryunsa temple. It’s noted for its 108 steps which represent the 108 torments of mankind; climbing these is said to abolish all your troubles – I just felt slightly out of breath. Getting to and from Heungryunsa we drove over Incheon Grand Bridge, the longest bridge in the world. During the drive, our guide dropped noted that Incheon International, and all that was around it, was built on a man-made island commissioned by the South Korean government. It took 10 years to create and opened in 2001. The Bridge took three years, opening in 2007; it, too, was man-made.