Wednesday morning I woke up bright, but not too early. I knew conducting a final walk around parts of Seoul wasn’t going to pan out because of my foot. I was now walking with a noticeable pirate limp. Not a pimp walk. No, that would have been too convenient. I was stuck with the wooden leg walk.
I had packed all my belongings the night before so I didn’t have to worry about anything but carrying the luggage down a few flights of stairs and pulling it to the subway. I was, however, looking forward to going to Tous le Jours for a final snag of those wondrous pastries.
I left the apartment, leaving behind a signed copy of my book, Fight, for my hosts as a gift, and headed toward the bakery. If anything, now I can say my work is in South Korea. I pulled my luggage to the bakery, grabbed three pastries and headed toward the subway. Coffee was out of the question since I only have two hands.
I reached the subway, took it to Seoul Station, then got on the KoRail and headed toward Incheon Airport. While riding, I ate one of the pastries, which was just a regular cream cheese one. I kept the other two (the apple/cranberry with cream cheese) for when I could get my coffee.
FINDING AIR CHINA
I walked inside the airport and returned my cell phone that I had rented. You know, the one that died after 12 minutes of use. Anyway, I asked where the check–in was. Third floor. I meandered that way and began my search for Air China. Needle in a haystack, you could say.
There were a number of different sections, all in alphabetical order—English alphabet, not Hangul. I was finding Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, and every other Asia Pacific airline you could think of except the one I needed, and with my foot, it was taking longer than I wanted.
I finally asked an attendant where Air China was located. He looked on his phone and pointed me to Section M. Good fellow. I slowly worked my way to Section M that read only Asiana Airlines. An older gentleman asked if he could help me. I said yes. I told him Air China and he gave a rather perplexed look, but decided to help anyway. I gave him my passport and told him the information for my flight. No sale, according to the digital check-in machine.
I explained that one of the attendants told me to come to Section M. The man asked someone else and that person said, “No. Air China is at Section H.” Jeez Louise! I thanked them and walked back to nearly where I had started.
I checked my luggage and realized that I had no time to get a cup of coffee. I opened my carry-on bag and ate one of the pastries. It was still wonderful even without coffee. But I was stuffing. One more to go. I wiped my mouth, walked to the customs entrance and handed over my passport.
Finally in line, I knew I couldn’t take my food to the other side. Shucks! I really wanted to sit and have coffee with this last pastry, but it was not meant to be. I shoved the second one down just before I had to begin placing my baggage on the conveyor.
I made it through and walked to my gate and waited for my plane.
SEOUL TO BEIJING
My flight out of Seoul was quite lucky. I had the row to myself. I was able to stretch out on the relatively small plane—small compared to the Boeing 777. It was another feasting of abysmal sandwiches.
I entered Beijing with the understanding that I wouldn’t be exploring the city despite having planned to from the beginning. I must say this: the Beijing Airport is terrible. There were hardly any restaurants or coffee shops, and apparently there was no central heating because it was freaking cold. I asked an attendant why it was so cold and she responded in kind, “The weather.” Jeez. Seriously? How much is Mao taking out of the budget?
I grabbed a bite to eat in a Korean restaurant, which did warm me up some. Then I went to a row of seats to take it easy. There was a young girl on the other side. We began a conversation. She was from Bath, England and was on her way to Australia for a little run of it before she started college. She was very nice and gave me some tips if ever I should consider visiting England, or Bath, in particular.
She and her friend went off to find their flights and then another woman came up. Her name was Karen and she was from Brazil and had been studying Japanese in Japan. She spoke fluent Portuguese and Japanese, but wasn’t very fluent in English. My Spanish is quite subpar, but we made it work. From there, we split a bottle of Bailey’s Chocolate. We didn’t have any cups, so we drank from the bottle. My mom would flip at the thought, I am certain. We were both wrapped in little blue blankets, cold, and sharing a bottle of Bailey’s, so really the only thing missing was a hobo barrel.
Twenty-two hours in the Beijing Airport. What a joke! Oh well. I bought most of my souvenirs from the airport, walked to my gate, got on the plane, and as luck would have it, was able to sit by myself on a three-seat row. I stretched out completely and slept most of the flight. I did some reading, writing and eating, but most of the flight I was lying down on three seats. Not too shabby.
And now, I am back home in the good ole US of A where I am thoroughly looking forward to the election. Of course that is heavy sarcasm. But there is good news. Houston has a Tous le Jours and it is located right next to Hope City where I go to church (I-10 and Blalock). Lucky!
I hope you have enjoyed the journey to South Korea with me and that you continue keeping up with my blog posts. I am currently beginning my shopping efforts for my book. Wish me only the best of luck in finding the right agent, please.