I am in Korea and thought that although I am only here for a few hours I might as well write a blog about it. It will pass the time and possibly entertain some of you. It is 7:30 in the morning here and for those of you who are counting I am in hour 16 of my travels. I decided to start counting when I left for the Airport which was exactly at 3:16 yesterday afternoon.
I have actually been stressing about getting to the airport all week but fortunately it went off without a hitch. Well, almost without a hitch. I attempted to ask my driver if we had just passed the Gobi Cashmere Factory and he sort of made a U-turn and started driving me there. It took a bit of effort to make him understand that I really just wanted to get to the airport. He got me there in plenty of time which just goes to show you that the first rule of travel is this: relax! I am not sure how god at that I am but I am giving it my best.
Getting a taxi to the school was much more difficult than getting a taxi to the airport. “Tao, minute.” They tell me and ike an idiot I fall for it every time. Perhaps taxi drivers measure time differently. Perhaps to them five minutes is what twenty minutes is to me. An interesting theory perhaps but as I was wired and nervous (sort of like a way over bred lap dog) waiting was out of the question. Thankfully we (I was with another teacher) managed to grab a gypsy taxi and get to school with three or four seconds to spare.
I don’t care where you live the last day before a major break in school is always, always academically useless. It was no different here. I have to acknowledge though that the teachers kept the kids working hard up until that last day. That is not always the case. There are schools (you know who you are) where the entire month of December is written off. One of the best parts about teaching at international schools (or at least the schools that the embassies use) is that you very seldom feel as if you are in the educational dark ages.
I have been packed for a week. I got antsy last Friday and so packed and repacked in various suitcases and combinations five or six times. I am actually a bit appalled at the amount of stuff that I am taking home as gifts. I packed two pairs of pants and three shirts and the entire rest of the suitcase of filled with random crap from Mongolia. I really need to control myself! I am comforting myself with the fact that my strange presents will makes me the eccentric and cool aunt most likely and not that “crazy lady who gives us weird stuff.”
My flight to Seoul was delayed. All that worry about getting to the airport on time and I ended up sitting around for almost three hours. Actually, it wasn’t bad. Half the school seemed to be there so I was entertained by students, parents, other teachers and random acquaintances. Korean Air only flies into Ulaanbaatar a couple of times a week so you have to take the flight that you can get!
Having flown on China Air, Miat (the Mongolian Airline) and now Korean Air I have to say that Korean Air is by far the best. The plane was super clean the food was good and the stewardesses were dressed in incredibly cute outfits. I asked around and apparently for many people Miat is the way to go. Why, you may ask, do people prefer to go on the airline that smells of mutton? The answers is that the flights are never cancelled. Korean air is fairly reasonable about flight delays but with China Air you have about a 70% percent chance of not taking off or if you do take ff not landing where you wanted to go due to the weather.
I got to Seoul without incident only for me to discover that 1) I forgot to ask for a window seat for my flight to New York, much pouting followed and 2) my reservations at the hotel in the airport were nonexistent. Not only did I have no reservations there was also no vacancy. I was not pleased. That means that instead of a nice shower and bed as I was anticipating I got to speed on this reclining chair in the airport. And I am probably starting to smell. I am going to give my travel agent a piece of my mind just as soon as I figure out how to communicate” I am crabby because I got very little sleep because you didn’t make the reservation at the hotel in Korea as you aid you would”. Well, live and learn. Next time I will ask for written confirmation for everything.
So, that’s what is going on with me. I am sitting in a internet café in the airport in Seoul waiting for my flight to board…