To say “it’s been a crazy day” is a colossal understatement. It’s been absolutely insane. Good insane (mostly), but insane.
I’m running on about five hours of sleep in the past forty-eight hours, but I’m so excited to be here that I’m somehow wide awake. I’m sitting in a Starbucks (hopefully the right Starbucks), and I’m waiting for Rex’s cousin Max to come find me. Which hopefully he does, eventually, because I don’t exactly have a backup plan about where to stay tonight if he doesn’t.
Here’s the run-down of my journey today:
Kalamazoo to Chicago: Relatively uneventful. I read a satire of Romeo and Juliet that cracked me up, and I finished it right as we landed in Chicago. Good timing.
Chicago to Dallas: I sat by a flight attendant, and we chatted for a while. Apparently being a flight attendant isn’t as glamorous as it seems (but I still think it sounds fun). She told me that she and her boyfriend broke up last night, which was quite sad, and I assured her that she was better off without him and that he was completely insane if he didn’t see how cool she was (which was probably a bit dramatic, because I had only known her for about an hour so really I couldn’t know if she was cool or not). I offered to buy her ice cream at the Dallas airport, because buying my friends conciliatory breakup food is the only way I know how to handle situations like this (think about it – if you’re my friend and you’ve broken up with someone, there’s a 99% chance I bought you food). Unfortunately she had to fly back to Chicago, so we didn’t have a chance to get ice cream.
Dallas airport: I decided to go to a Texas barbecue place for my last meal before Asia. What’s more American than Texas barbecue? I asked the guy working if the chicken or turkey sandwiches were better, and he said, “Neither. You want the chopped beef.” I told him I don’t particularly like chopped beef. He said it didn’t matter; that I would like it from his restaurant. He gave me a small sample, and – WOW – it was the best barbecue I have ever had. I should have known better than to argue with a Texan about barbecue. Mmmm… I wish I could have another one of those sandwiches right now.
Dallas to Seoul: I sat next to a (probably) nice Korean woman who didn’t really speak English. They served dinner, which was some food I didn’t recognize. I ate it with chopsticks and gave myself an inward pat on the back for getting the food into my mouth without looking like too much of a weirdo. I don’t know what I was eating, but I decided that it wasn’t THAT terrible if you could get past the fact that, well, it tasted terrible. About a half hour later I started feeling super nauseous. I felt bad for the nice lady next to me, because I really didn’t want to puke on her. I know we have cultural differences and whatever, but I’m pretty sure that puking on someone is universally disgusting. I located the airsickness bag and tried to drink a little water. Luckily, after a few minutes the extreme nausea subsided, and I didn’t puke on anyone. Phewf! I hurriedly took a motion sickness pill to help me stay okay the rest of the trip.
As I was watching the little plane on the screen chart our path to Korea, I noticed that we were flying over Alaska and then Siberia (not the most direct flight from Dallas, if you ask me, but I’m no pilot). While we were over cool places, I took pictures out the window. So I’ve never BEEN to Siberia, but now I’ve at least seen it!
Hey! Max is here! Gotta go… I will finish this post later.
*two hours later*
I’m now writing to you from Max’s apartment. He’s got a really cool place with a loft level that I have all to myself, and he has an awesome Jindo dog (a Korean breed) who is now basically my best friend.
Where was I earlier? Oh yes, I was telling you about my trip. When I got to the airport in Korea, I took a train into the main downtown area where I met an old family friend named Jackie. We had dinner together (I ate something that I keep calling Mmmbop, like the Hanson song, but I think it’s actually called Bimibop or something. It was a rice/egg/veggie/pepper sauce combo that was almost as good as the song Mmmbop). After that, Jackie took me to the subway so we could go see the city center. I noticed a wall unit full of weird parcels, and I asked her what they were. She said, “Oh, those? Those are gas masks. Like, for if North Korea attacks us.”
Oh, right. BECAUSE THAT’S NOT AT ALL DISCONCERTING.
We had a blast shopping in downtown Seoul, and she bought me some of her favorite candy. I’m bringing some home for my friends to try – it’s like a Skittles/Starburst combo, but peach flavored. When it was time for me to go meet Max, Jackie got me to the right subway station and then said goodbye. We’re hoping to meet up with her again later this weekend.
Once I got to the right subway station, I had to get a cab to go to the correct Starbucks where I was supposed to meet Max. THAT was a challenge, because if you’ve been paying attention you know that I SPEAK NO KOREAN. I had a map with a Starbucks circled on it, and apparently the cab drivers had no idea what to do with that. *sigh* I eventually got there, though, and Max found me. Hooray!
After leaving Starbucks, Max and I walked his dog and got some pizza. Now I’m in his loft typing this, and I’ve been up for way too many hours in a row so I declare it’s time for bed.