Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nic & Brad Take Korea: Day 1

Today I've got a guest post for you! Nicole and Brad, two of my friends from the USA are in the country to visit this week!! Nicole and I grew up on the same street back in Texas, so she's pretty much been an older sister to me since I was six months old. She and Brad are flight attendants, so they have some awesome vacation schedules. They've used those awesome schedules (and their perks with the airlines) to travel together all over the world. Rio, Italy, you name it. This week has been fantastic! It's so much fun having guests. Y'all, I get such a kick out of hosting people! I should really open up a B&B :):):) We have spent most of the week in Jeonju and we'll be in Seoul all weekend before they fly out to China for a few days before heading back to Houston. It's delightful to see Korea through fresh eyes, reliving what it was like as a new foreigner in Korea!

So, without further ado, I'd like you to meet my dear friend Brad! He's been keeping a journal of their trip so far and I asked him if I could share them on the blog. He was kind enough to say yes, so here it goes! Enjoy~~

Planes, Planes, Buses, Taxis, and Walking - Day 1

It was in that order, starting with a 13 hour flight from Houston to Beijing, that we arrived in Jeonju, South Korea.  In total, it was close to 30 hours of travel time, a new record for at least me.  The sleep that we got on the first flight is what saved us.  Not one to have ever slept more than 2 hours on a plane, my nearly 5 hours of sleep was not only a lifesaver, it gave me hope for how to get rest on future flights.  Bonus:  I was in the middle seat of a very full flight; Count Dracula may have a future in sleeping during the dark after all!

I'd like to break this down for the record as it makes for good reading in the scrapbook years later.  Our first flight was a 13 hour nonstop from Houston to Beijing.  Watching the course of this flight on the airline tracking map took us by surprise.  For whatever reason, we thought we would shoot straight out from the west and cross the ocean.  Wrong.  We practically went across the planet to the North crossing Wyoming, Montana, Canada, Alaska, and what say what?? RUSSIA.  Yep, I went to sleep over Wyoming and awoke over Siberia, Russia.  I know we didn't actually visit Vodkaland, but flying over the former U.S.S.R. completely fascinated me, proof that even airline employees can be overwhelmed by the ability to relatively quickly access other parts of the planet.  Upon arrival in Beijing, we had 4 hours on the ground, then boarded our flight for Seoul, Korea.  The flight was only 1 1/2 hours but we got an inflight meal!  I'm unwrapping all of the food that we didn't recognize when I see a condiment that excited me.  I turn to Nic and say, "SCORE!  Hot pickled mustard!"  I tear into this anxious to sample some of my favorite flavors when I see this alien inside.  WHAT?  I look back at the package and re-read it.  Hot pickled mustard...TUBER.  Okay, I now know that it is simply the underground part of a vegetable but at the time it was something that if digested, would take over my body, call it's home planet to let them know a host has been found, and the rest makes for a bad B movie.  Nonetheless, the flight is quickly over and we have arrived in Seoul.  We quickly and easily acquire bus passes for our four hour bus ride to the town in southern South Korea, Jeonju.  The bus was quite luxurious and because there were only four other passengers on it with us, I wiped a tear of joy from my eye and settled in for the next portion of the journey.  Once in Jeonju, we were fortunate to immediately find a taxi to swiftly ferry us to the home of Zara Perciful, a childhood friend of Nicole's.  The driver lets us out at the address we showed him.  We gather our belongings and enter the building when we notice people coming and going with neck braces, back braces, wheelchairs, and mobile intravenous drips.  This doesn't look right...then we see the sign that says, "Welcome to the Hope and Happy Hospital."  WHAT?  I guess two foreigners looking like we did put us at the front of the triage line as a nurse hurries over and tries to admit us.  She was so incredibly kind and caring but we finally convinced her we were not in need of intensive care and she let us be.  A quick text from Zara and we found that we were only several blocks away to our great relief.  Whew!  We made it.  I look like a Yeti, but I digress.

Shortly after we make it up to Zara's charming apartment, we are met by her friends Marli and Monty Van Vuuren, originally from South Africa, who whisk the 5 of us off to a local restaurant where we got to have our first Korean food meal.  I loved everything that was put in front of me.  Nic didn't fare as well but then the foods here seem to be more geared to a strange palate that likes vinegar and fermentation.  Yes please!  We enjoyed the lovely couple but alas dinner had come to an end and so had my consciousness.  We returned home and shortly thereafter, I am somewhat certain I flatlined.  Obviously, I returned to the living and we are now preparing to spend our first day seeing sights in the south of South Korea.  Have a wonderful day friends.

hugs to you all,
Nic and Lazarus 

Trying kimchi for the first time... mixed opinions ^^

Dalkgalbi! Yum! 

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