From Seoul to Sydney

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

I made it to Australia!  Plane was an hour late taking off from Seoul (what a beautiful new airport) so an hour late arriving, at 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m.,.   Asiana Airways plane wasn't full so many people, including me, had 3 seats to self so actually could stretch out and sleep a bit on the 9.5 hour flight.  As expected, I am having culture shock, seeing English on everything, actually being able to read names on business storefronts and determine what type of restaurant it is from the name, all things we take for granted usually.  Also the white faces at the airport and the staff who are friendly when they think you are a returning Australian - there were only a handful of non Korean's on the Boeing 777 - but when I opened my mouth, Aust. they knew I was not an Aussie!  
To back up, before I left Seoul I met Zahara for lunch as planned but; we kept missing each other for 3/4 hour as it was Memorial Day, a National holiday, so throngs of people were around where we planned to meet and  guess we both were walking up and down on the street and somehow didn't see the other! I was going to give it another 15 min. and then have a snack and get back to my hotel (2 subways ) for getting the shuttle to the airport. We finally met, and went to a restaurant recommended by 'John Keith Khimm" - his baptized name - who is Yim's (owner of hotel) brother and who helps out (apparently he is there every day 8-9 a.m while Yim has a shower!  but I ddn't know). Anyway, he is working on his PhD and works for a Radio Station in some capacity and has excellent ENglish and very well-travelled.  He suggested I go for Ginsagng chicken soup which is kind what your mother cooks when you are sick (it turns out) and he recommended the place to have it and wrote out the name in Hanguel, the Korean alphabet. I asked him to translate, and it means Baekje Sam Gye Tang so  am really non the wiser, except Baekje is the name of one of the Korean Kingdoms around Iksan (Mirek-sa temples) and Sam means 3.  We shared the soup and it didn't or taste all that exciting - it was stuffed wtih rice and ginseng and served in a broth and is billed as good for 'the dog days of summer'!
Anyway, made it back to Hotel and walked to the main street to get the airport Shuttle bus and it came about 1 min. after I got to the stop.  So pretty straightforward, only 4 people on this big greyhound type bus. Made it to airport (it was raining at this time) in one hour and then was in line to get boarding pass and a surveryor came over to me as she was surveying tourists so I answered some of her questions and then had to get checked in and then went back to finish the survey and got a Korean bookmark as a thank you. She had a 'thankless' job and one that I used to do, so took the time to do the survey with her. Also one of the questions was "are you familiar with the 'Soul of Asia' slogan and if so "what do you think about it?", so if you read my previous blog, you know what I think about it and told her - ie people may think of Bejing or Tokyo as 'the soul of Asia' and maybe should have had a more stylized 'soul' with the e in the o or something like that.
more about my first couple of days in Sydney later..
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