Is it strange to say that the adrenaline of the last twelve hours made the flight seem not all that long? It must be the lack of sleep, dehydration and wide-eyed discombobulation talking. But seriously, if you can sit through Bourne Legacy, the Iron Lady, some Korean War movie about coffee, and half of the newest Sherlock Holmes atrocity (yes, I only made it halfway before my literary snobbery overcame my Hollywood bad-plot-forgiveness gene)…. Well, you can do anything.
I did make friends with a 66-year old Thai lady, who is going home to Thailand because her brother has spinal cord cancer and is in the ICU. Oh, and her son has schizophrenia and let me tell you, we had a good conversation concerning recent events and gun control. So really, the flight was an experience.
Which is kinda what I’m going for.
So.. Off the plane, rapidly through the immigration booth, passport STAMP!, Visa CHECK!, and I’m staring at the baggage claim board like a beer drinker in the wine aisle, head tilted, confusion sinking in until the screen flashes and Boom! It’s in English. Phew. Carousel 22. And off I go.
Minutes later, bags in hand, I’m through the exit doors and am faced with a solid wall of Asian faces looking at me like “Move over! I can’t see my daughter/husband/person more important than you!” The only people who look happy to see me are the taxi drivers swarming like sharks for the kill. At least they bugger off when I botch my Korean and just say “Aniyo, kamsahamnida”. Close enough. According to my ‘teaching kindergarteners’ booklet, it’s 80% body language anyway.
The cold outside actually feels good after the recycled air of the plane. I did a quick change into jeans and a t-shirt in the bathroom to at least feel somewhat less travel-gross. On the bus, I think I annoy the driver by fumbling for my Korean money and then staring at it to make sure I’m not overpaying. I hope he lets me off at the right stop.
So, there you have it, folks. I’m on a bus, somewhere, heading into the middle of an enormous Asian city, hoping that the next few steps will be as easy as the last.
Think I’ll look out the window for a while.