Saturday, September 19, 2009

Safe and Sound

I've arrived in Seoul, safe and sound. The flight was fine -really!- and actually went by quickly. The flight attendants on Korean Air are attractive and elegant, adding a dash of glamour to the experience, and the in-flight entertainment was terrific -excellent movie options and decent magazines, too. The food was fair, but maybe I ordered the wrong dish.....?! (note: avoid 'American' cuisine on future international flights). I slept all of ten minutes and was exhausted by the time I landed. Going through customs was smooth, and all of my luggage arrived (it was so soothing to open my suitcases last night and smell my towels. Hope I can find a similar detergent!). The ride from the airport to where I'm staying was l-o-n-g, as in 1 1/2 hours, mainly because of the traffic. This week I'll be in temporary housing until my apartment is ready. Am looking forward to moving as my current digs are quite removed from my school and the more popular spots. All in all, though, I feel incredibly blessed that everything has gone well.

Some first impressions: The drive from Incheon into Seoul is very pleasant -green with lots of trees; no roadside rubbish or graffiti; people drive safely and respectfully, none of the madness of LA. The driver pointed out North Korea in the distance -about 100 km away by his estimate. Seoul is clean and pretty, and the subways are amazing -people are relatively quiet, and the stations are nearly immaculate. I am overwhelmed by the number of bakeries here. So much for cutting bread out of my diet. There's a chain, Paris Baguette, with locations everywhere, and their food is good. Ironically, my manager and counselor took me to Outback Steakhouse for lunch today; I hadn't been to one in over ten years. Anyway, kimchi came with my meal, and I ate it all....if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. It was better than it looked, although it'll probably be awhile before I actively seek it out. The electronics and technology are really cool. I am getting such a kick out of my remote-controlled A/C unit.

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