Saturday, November 28, 2009

Boston to San Francisco to Seoul to Daegu. 36 straight hours of fun!

3:45am wake-up.

On roughly 45 minutes of sleep, the ride from Duxbury into Boston was a quiet, somber one for Emma and I. We showed our tiredness.

5:00am. Arrival at Logan. After saying our goodbyes, I shuffled into United check-in struggling under my unreasonable quantity and bulk of luggage. I barely get in line before I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket. I have no hands, and ignore it at first, but it keeps buzzing away. I finally set some things down and see that it's Emma. I left my iPod in her car! No worse way to start off an epic traveling journey than to do so without any tunes. Leaving a few of my bags (to the dismay of Homeland Security), I went back out. The return was anything but easy, as at first Emma entered through the wrong airline door and I ran in the opposite direction of where she had parked, then ran the other way and found her car empty. We eventually found each other, crisis #1 averted.

5:15am. Checked in with United. Got asked by a dude helping people find the right desk if I really was taking all the stuff I was carrying and if I was aware of the existence of excessive baggage fees. Towards those traveling on a week-long domestic vacations, I would understand his comments. I didn't feel up for offering an explanation though. All he got was a "yeah, thanks." The lady behind the desk took an extra ten minutes triple checking to make sure that the ridiculous sum I was paying to bring my guitar was correct. I appreciated her persistence.

TSA security: A carousel of fun. I had my pockets empty, belt, shoes, and watch off lickity-split and was pleased to move through line quickly. Once I passed through the metal detector, my sense of smooth efficiency evaporated compliments of the woman monitoring the x-ray scanner.

"Bag check, lane one."


My backpack, laptop, and bucket o' trinkets were SEPARATELY flagged as items in need of further inspection. Shoeless and defeated I followed an officer into a glass room to the side. Let the shakedown commence.

I assured them I had no liquids, aerosols or machetes in my carry-on. They ended up re-scanning my backpack not once, not twice, but three times, each time removing another few items until it was pretty well half-emptied onto the table. By the time they let me go, it was 5:45. Gathering up my things, I noticed that my laptop was missing. In the midst of everything, I didn't notice that it was not returned.

Of course, the dude that had originally taken it was nowhere in sight, so I tried to describe him as I made my way back to the woman on the x-ray scanner, hoping she could help. As soon as I stepped onto a "line" that was really just a rug, I was yelled at by another guy that sternly told me that I had intruded on "his office." I'll knock next time, asshole.

I went back to the glass room and luckily found it in a bin on a chair.

5:53 I ran to the gate and found an employee waiting for me. I was last on and they pretty much closed the gate behind me.

6:15 As advertised in the captain's introductory remarks, the take-off was a bumpy one. South Korea, here I come.

San Francisco. Aside from a good Skype chat, a greasy breakfast burrito, and a large Anchor Steam ale, not much to say about my first encounter with the west coast. I'll be back.
Take-off: 1:30pm Pacific time (4:30pm Eastern). Twelve hour flight commence.

I took small cat naps here and there, re-read the Great Gasby (once again confirming the importance of re-reading classics with some distance from high school), and watched the second half of a movie starring Paul Giamatti as himself. I figured out that he somehow sold his soul to some Russians earlier in the movie and eventually traveled there to reclaim it from a soap opera star. I really should have seen the first half of the movie. Not for everyone, but I'm a Giamatti fan.

The flight route took us up the west coast, around Alaska and down past Siberia, and over Japan before we landed in Incheon International. The time is 6:45pm, Sunday. To add to the exhaustion of the travels alone, the local time clock effectively moved forward 14 hours on me. Yeesh.
The ultra-modern Incheon International Airport, constructed around 5 years ago.

My experience at Incheon was MUCH better than in Prague, I was able to withdraw cash without any issue, make a phone call to my director that I was to meet in Daegu, buy a bus ticket AND get on the right bus. Great success.

12:30am Monday, I arrive in Daegu. 10:30am Sunday morning for all you folks back home.


  1. Hi Keith,
    I'm happy you made your flight....but it doesn't sound like you heeded your Aunt's advice to limit your intake on Friday, and to get a good night sleep....hhhmmmm!!! Oh well, as a 22 year old, I would have made the exact same exit! At least it sounds like you left with all that you intended, although not a moment to spare!!!

    I guess you are up and about right now getting ready for your first class observation! I hope all goes well....keep us updated when you have time.