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Into the East: Land of the Morning Calm

CURRENT LOCATION: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

I've been on multiple trips in the past, both domestic and international, and you'd think I'd have learned the Golden Rule of travel: don't pack the night before you leave. Trust me, I've engrained that saying into my brain ... but somehow it just sneaks away the eve before my trips.

This trip was not the exception. I left the cold wintery weather of Chicago, IL to travel half way around the world. And now I'm sitting amidst the cold wintery weather of Seoul, South Korea. Along the way I navigated the halls of airports and attempted to interpret signs written in a completely foreign looking alphabet. In other words, I had a layover in Tokyo's Narita Airport. The flight to Tokyo itself was spent mostly sleeping and feasting on ANA's (All Nippon Airways) "J Menu" as opposed to their "Western Menu." During the flight I was also fortunate enough to have the entire row to myself as well so I spent my 12+ hour flight comfortably stretched out across four seats.

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(PHOTO: seafood in cream sauce with saffron rice and then bi bim map)

My layover in Tokyo was made even more comfortable as I had access to the United Club lounge while I was waiting for my connection. I was able to escape from the generally hectic airport terminal atmosphere to a locale that afforded a view of the jets, a comfortable chair, refreshments, snacks, and WIFI.

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How did I manage to get admission into such a ritzy place you may wonder? One word: BusinessFirst. I flew in this cabin before and knew that when it comes to international travel, one has access to the United Club as well. You can imagine the b-line I made straight for this haven as soon as I deplaned. And so I lounged about and people watched for a few hours until it was finally time to board my Seoul-bound flight. The flight to Seoul itself was short and sweet with the only strange part being that my seat faced the rear of the aircraft. This was easily the strangest experience I've ever had on board an airplane!

I arrived here at about 9:30PM, with absolutely no idea that the majority of airport services close at 10PM and that the subway system at 12AM. Yikes! Thankfully I was able to make the last of the hotel shuttles so I quickly exchanged some USD and headed into the heart of Seoul.

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Fast forward to present-time and I'm at the Intercontinental hotel and I am pleasantly surprised with the room I managed to reserved. It reminds of the room I had the last time I was in Las Vegas ... except not as big. There are a few things here I wouldn't mind incorporating into my future home.

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I'm excited to be here and to see what this city and country has to offer. I've read up on a number of things I can do while I'm here but I'll have to review that in the morning. My first course of action at this point is SLEEP!

Posted by nigetv 07:20 Archived in South Korea

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