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Published: January 27th 2011
You know you're in Canada when.
The Air Canada Flight
YOW is its typical sterile self. Don't get me wrong, it is a great airport, but something lacking...
Security takes the typical 5 minutes in line with zero resistance at the scanners. I'm pretty much an expert at not setting off metal detectors. I expected more from the x-ray guys, because I've got a laptop, external hard drive, cables for the phone, camera, chargers, granola bars, Air Canada issued hand sanitizing spray (as a tiny amount *25ml* of undeclared liquid), etc. etc. but they didn't even look in the bag.
The flight was pretty good, a bit bumpy over Northern Ontario, and there was an unfortunate pregnant lady two rows up who looked panicked the entire time and spent a good long time in the bathroom. I'm pretty sure she was deathly motion-sick.
YVR is a great airport, long straightaways with people-movers, lots of shopping, simple layout and friendly people. Not too much to report! The international terminal was at opposite ends from my arrival gate, so it felt like 5km of people mover!
Oh, I bought some cold-fx at the airport because I remembered my Auntie Brenda recommending it. I think
Has epic river watersheds...
you're supposed to take it well in advance, but better late than never! I also brought some Strepsils. I tend to get strep symptoms 12 hours after flights like this, so I brought them just in case.
The Korean Air Flight
The boarding starts at the out-doorsey YVR, complete with salmon swimming in a stream through the middle of the airport.
The Korean Air announcements include the usual 'pre-boarding' for those with children under 5 or adults over 70, or those who require additional assistance. I'm not surprised when the first class and 'star alliance preferred doo-dads' members can board. After all this, you would expect the pre-boarding to be finished. However, lets not forget about the prevously unknown and under-represented 'Morning Calm' group of passengers. Where are they sitting, why do they get to pre-board and also, their style of travel sounds appealing...Morning Calm..hmmmmm. How do I become a Morning Calm member? It sounds much less stressful, less babies crying perhaps? The boarding attendants have a special red and blue protest-looking sign they hold up to show the Morning Calm people where to go, because the gate isn't obvious enough, with its large desk and 50-inch
Has epic mountains
Our plane is a Boeing 777-200, with 70 rows of three-three-three configuration. I'm one of the lucky few who sit next to a window. Our seats are covered with the usual trans-oceanic items, a sanitary looking pillow wrapped in paper towel, a 100x used and washed cheese cloth type blanket, and a bottle of water. What I'm surprised to find is a classy pair of light slippers and a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. Nice touch, Korean Air, nice touch.
There's a faint scent of jasmine in the air, the plane is pleasantly cool, and there is some sort of inspirational music playing in the background (as if the mentally challenged kid in the movie just realized his girlfriend was finally in love with him, and they lived happily ever after). Although now that I've written this, its switched to Celine Dion. Equally good plane boarding music.
The slippers come on, the REMOTE CONTROL for the seatback entertainment comes out (again, nice touch, the lighting, air conditioning, interactive maps, movies, tv and music is at my fingertips!). My legs are comfortably stretched out under the seat in front of me. It seems like it will
Am I inside or outside right now?
be a good flight!
Once we've been flying for about an hour, bumping around in the Vancouver Island turbulence, the flight staff starts to distribute the first of many rounds of drinks. I opt for the wine, against my better judgement. The businessman next to me does the same, downing his glass in one gulp and getting a refill before the flight attendant can step away.
Lunch was an option of Korean Rice, Bulgogi, or Beef (?) which seems to me mystery beef. Given that I'm in for the long haul and I'm trying to experience everything, I opt for the bulgogi, Which I've had for lunch countless times before at Kochu on Elgin near work. However, the flight attendant hands me a large, white peice of paper with visual aides on how to eat it. See, the bulgogi comes ready-made with the ingredients in a big bowl (cooked bok-choi like greens, bean sprout, zucchini (or cucumber), beef (ground in this case), shredded carrots, and other mystery vegetables). The instructions show how to open the blue sample size rice container to empty the steaming hot rice onto the room-temperature vegetables. A small ketchup-like packet of sesame oil and
a squeeze bottle not unlike a polysporin container of hot sauce go on top. The guy next to me encourages me to dump the rest of the half-squeezed tube of hot sauce on top. Once mixed, its a delish mixture of flavour, and the plane food actually rivals Elgin Street!
The meal comes with a side of spicy sliced pickles, with what seems like Italian salad dressing and green onion on top of them. More wine! Wine was served before (x2) during (x2) and after (x1). My neighbour took full advantage by:
1. Asking for an extra-full glass, and
2. Drinking quickly and getting a second refill on each service. I think he's still drunk and its 4 hours and plenty of snoring later!
The flight is only about 3 quarters full, so the centre seats are empty, leaving one empty seat between everyone. Lots of space to spread out and get comfortable. As I write this section of the post it feels like my butt might actually be melded with the seat. I've gotten up about a dozen times to walk up and down the plane, but it still feels like I'm bruised, and there's still 5
Welcome to Korean Air
here are your plastic bags.
hours of flying left. I can't remember what time it was where I started, because I took a friend's advice and changed my watch to the arrival time. All I know is it feels like midnight, but its about 1:00pm. Which, come to think fo it, is about right.
1. There's a movie list titled 'Beyond Special' with such classics as: Othello, Imagine: John Lennon Story, Amadeus, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, and Home Alone. Beyond Special is right.
2. Babies LOVE walking up and down plane aisles. Korean Air flight attendants LOVE carrying the babies around.
3. Koreans read right to left, so in-flight magazine page turning is in reverse.
4. Everyone closes their windows during a long-haul flight. The curious pop open their windows, only to blind 1/2 the cabin.
5. A set of 6 pens from the in-flight shopping will set you back $200USD, which is perfectly acceptable when you've had 100 glasses of wine.
I'll be posting this when I get a chance in Seoul. The plan is to check in through customs, find a money exchange, call Spencer and Jess and hop on a bus to Jamsil station, which is in
their neighbourhood. Its a 90 minute bus ride, which should be complicated by rush-hour, but hopefully not. I'm scheduled to arrive at 5:30, so by the time I get out of the airport it may be closer to 6:30, which means I'll get to their place by 8:00pm!
Right now we're flying over Kamchatca, Russia, and if you haven't guessed, out of boredom I've written all this detail, so I'm just going to put the computer down, before risking losing readership :P
Thanks for reading!
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