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Published: December 23rd 2013
When I ask what's missing in my life, the answer is almost always dol sot bibimbap with a side of spicy kimchi, so other than missing my partner and cats, I am, at the moment, complete.
Those of us not going to Thailand flew out last night on an 11:50 from Siem Reap. REP may need the award for Most Improved Airport--compared to my first flight out, there are actually places to sit that aren't molded plastic chairs, and there are things to eat or read. A much nicer wait than it used to be.
We arrived at 7:00ish AM at ICN, called Seoul but actually Incheon (I used to teach groups of university students from Incheon, so this is an important distinction). Like Hong Kong and Bangkok (BKK), this is a huge, modern airport that emphasizes high-end shopping. However, there's a very nice transit rest area and a decent set of inexpensive restaurants, so it certainly meets my needs even in I don't venture into Gucci.
The students were too zonked out to want to take a tour, so I brought them to the transit rest area to collapse.
This transit area features contoured lounge chairs,
free "rental" of blankets and tablets for the free wifi, desktop computers, comfortable seating, massage services and luggage storage at a reasonable price, and a couple of cafes. There's also a club for which you can buy a 5-hour pass, which I did in the spirit of having new experiences to parallel my students'. I didn't think it was worth the cost, unless you want to toss back a lot of whiskey, which I don't. I did drink and eat enough to justify the cost, but when the area just outside is pretty quiet, has wifi, computers, and places to lie down, you're really paying for the food and a screen showing upcoming flights. The food was plentiful and very average. Instead, get directions for the upstairs food court to enjoy a much better meal.
I missed a Facebook note from two of my students saying that they were going out on a transit tour. I'd have gone with them, but I've been on the tour they took; I'm just happy that they seized the day.
My new activity (other than the club) was to use the free showers. I've never done this before, and it was wicked
good. Full-sized bathroom, clean, a free towel (and shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste), and, most importantly, luxurious hot water! I'd have paid for that. Meanwhile, the students returned and posted, "We're checking out the ice rink." Yes, the ice rink. I'm not sure if the new Maglev train is operational yet, but next time I'll try it out for a self-tour. I'd really just like to sit somewhere with binoculars and my East Asia bird field guide for a couple of hours.
We board in about an hour, then it's on to Seattle. I'm going to try to finish 2 or 3 books by then. In Seattle, it's a heaping plate of fried scallops at Ivar's and sample moisturizers at the Body Shop.
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