Posts Tagged ‘Incheon’

The Flight in

Posted: July 6, 2009 in The First 48hrs
Tags: , , ,
Let’s be honest, flying halfway around the world is never going to be an easy haul. For me my flight entailed a 6am wake up to catch an 8:30 from Leeds Bradford, to Amsterdam. Where I turned into Tom Hanks’ character in The Terminal for six hours, before flying out to Incheon, Korea.
I always have problems sleeping on planes and unfortunately the long haul flight was no exception. Remembering some advice from my father about sitting by the emergency exit on a plane, as you find that they have the most room. However, the fire escape on this plane protruded into my leg space.
Now I am about 5’10 not the biggest of people, but that seat was intentionally made for contortionists or people with height issues. Obviously the first thought would be to stretch your feet out across the top, that instantly goes out of your mind as it is substituted with thoughts of the door bursting open and oxygen masks dropping to you and the screaming passengers’ eye level as the plane fights to turn into a ball of fire.
Eventually I got myself into a comfortable misshapen position and sat back to relax. The passenger next to me, seemed to be basking in his glory with his shoes neatly placed beneath him and his legs fully stretched out.
It was only a ten hour flight I thought to myself, I shall have something to eat, then I shall go to sleep watching an in-line movie, perfect.
It seemed however that the space directly to the side of me had good dimensions and attracted a host of people. My sleep was interrupted with Korean women performing exercises in what I consider to be my personal space. It was like a surreal dream, periodically men and women would block my view of the 10” screen and proceed to push on the chairs in front of me, stretching their calves, touching their toes and running on the spot. As I was awakened at one point to a Korean woman in her mid-fifties doing the downward dog.
Suffice to say my first impressions were not quite as I had expected as they seemed oblivious to me or other passengers, in their own little world.
The flight served also as my first introduction to Korean food. Flight food has never been an issue for me I have always enjoyed what has been offered, certainly the flight to Korea was no exception with a fusion of Japanese and Korean being offered to me. Suffice to say it was very spicy and left me wanting more.
We landed without a hitch, touching down in Incheon airport. My initial reaction upon landing is why is nobody cheering? From flights to Manila, Philippines as soon as the plane touched the tarmac huge cheers have erupted, maybe when flying to Manila every passenger has a phobia of flying?
Leaving the airport I was instantly hit by the humidity and my clothes began to stick to me, it was now the middle of the day and it was overcast.  I was surrounded by over friendly taxi drivers speaking to me in broken English asking where I want to go and already having a game plan, I politely declined stating that I needed to catch a bus and a driver pointed me towards the bus booth.
I thanked him with a bow, and walked away proud that I had just communicated with my first Korean on their native land.
The booth was nothing more than a small hut with a woman behind a pane of glass who quite probably does a good job at communicating in her native language, as I do in mine, but unfortunately for us both, not in each others.
Eventually however my ticket was issued although it stated dongdaegu rather than Daegu (it wasn’t until later that I found dong means town in Korean). When attempting to ask details about the journey she gestured me to stand at the adjacent stop.
So I waited apprehensively with questions about the bus, still someone dazed that I had now committed myself to a year in a foreign country and clutching my luggage tighter as I lit a roll up to calm me down.
© John Brownlie 2010
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