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Ryo's Travels
My life & journey through MY eyes.
Love, Peace and Seoul
It's almost 6:30am ICT on 1/18 and...I'm up!

I'm not really sure how I"m going to write about this trip, so I figured I should do it however I want to do it. Marlon and I supposed to be taking this hike up to Big Buddha in an hour or so...so this is the perfect way to kill some time.

A day or so before I began my journey, I wrote a decent post about how I had this big trip coming up and I wasn't nearly as excited as I should've been. Then it got deleted because I forgot to copy everything stressed ...but it seems like I've brought a lot of those sentiments overseas. A testament to how life goes on and how your troubles and stressors really don't magically disappear because you happen to go on vacation.

Pre-Trip

That last week of work was kinda hellacious. We just have a lot of projects and initiatives going on and I wanted to make sure that Blake was in a good spot before I headed out. I wrapped up everything I could, and wrote a long note of things he might want to keep in mind. Not to mention, that Thursday I delivered a mini-marketing presentation to American University and that Friday I scrambled to get details and things together for a last minute event that American U wanted to host this week. That Friday ended up being a long day. Between calls, chats and assignments for this last minute event, wrapping up my to-do list for work and getting my haircut down in Waldorf I didn't stop working until after 10pm. Alas, I think I got everything wrapped up to the best of my abilities and even wrote down a little to-do list for myself when I got back to work next week.

I believe that last week, I only hooked up with two guys. The cute, tall African dude I hooked up with the week before at his apartment in NE and Carl, whom I connected with months ago. He also lives in NE and has a sauna. Carl is older and funny looking, but he's nice and has a great body. African dude is fine as hell, bodied and is great in bed...just very transactional with our interactions. Womp.

I didn't end up packing until....basically the morning of our flight, but since we had a later flight, i had plenty of time to throw some stuff in a bag and call it a day.

The Journey

Our Delta flight to JFK was supposed to leave from BWI at about 6pm on 1/13. My sister took us to the airport and I let her keep my car. We got to the airport at about 4:20pm, earlier than usual for me but I'm glad we did since the pre-check line was closed and the regular line was pretty long. TSA workers aren't showing up due to the government shutdown and not getting paid because of it.

Our flight got delayed a few times so we weren't due to take off until 7pm-ish but once we boarded, we had to sit on the plane on the tarmac for almost two hours as they deiced the plane. That was kind of annoying, BUT they gave us free wine as a compliment and we eventually took off. Did I mention it was snowing the whole time? It had snowed pretty much all night the night before and a good part of the day.

The flight delay cut our five hour layover in New York down to a two-hour layover. We had dinner at some overpriced, nasty airport restaurant that pretty much rushed us out and eventually boarded out 12am Korean Air flight to Seoul, South Korea.

Let me take a moment to say that JFK is the ghetto. It really is. On the 15 hour flight to Seoul, I got a chance to watch Crazy Rich Asians, in which the main character Rachel, commented on how beautiful the Malaysian airport was comparing it to the abysmal JFK. Having finally experienced JFK for myself, I could attest to that....ESPECIALLY compared to ICN (Incheon International Airport).

Alas, the 15-hour flight wasn't as daunting as I thought. I admit, I was lowkey hyperventilating about it before hand but it was relatively easy. Easier than some domestic flights that I've been on sweatdrop They fed us twice, there was wine. I watched Crazy Rich Asians and played a few games which took up the first three hours of the trip. Then I went to sleep and woke up to only about 6 more hours left and filled the time from there with sleep, tv, music, food, games, etc. I think because we had a red-eye, my body was accustomed to falling asleep after midnight, so it made sleeping for 7+ hours on a plane a lot more feasible. Plus due to time zone shifts, that 15 hour flight was completely in the dark, seeing as we fly back in time and then jumped ahead a day. I"m happy to say that the Korean Air flight from New York to Incheon went very smoothly and I didn't feel jetlagged at all. I actually felt great!

Seoul

We arrived in Seoul at about 5am KST on 1/15 (Korean Standard Time). Seoul is 14 hours ahead of EST. It was dark and early and we hadn't had a solid plan on how we were going to spend our time in Seoul. We plopped down, I opened my laptop and started looking for accommodations. The tricky part is that we arrived so early in the morning, we what would've had to do was either a) book a hotel room for the night before and let them know it'd be a super late arrival or b) call around and try to get an early check-in. Because I did basically no planning, this process was a complete flop.

I ended up trying to book at the airport's transit stay hotel which featured booking accommodations for a few hours, but the catch was...you couldn't pass immigration and customs and that wasn't clear enough on their website. So I tried booking at Terminal 2, where we came in at, but I didn't see availability. So we went to Terminal 1 and couldn't find the hotel there. Come to find out we could book the transit hotel at the terminal we came in at AND we couldn't leave the gate area. Once we left, there was no turning back.

What we SHOULD'VE done, honestly and truly, was book earlier, for the night of the 1/14. Sent an email about a super late arrival and to keep our reservation and we would've gotten a few hours of a sleep, a shower and we would've definitely been out by check-out to explore the city....Alas.

Let's take a moment to talk about ICN. The airport is HUGE. It's separated into two terminals that are miles apart and the airport has like...300+ gates, a restaurant row, multiple hotels, a shopping mall (that includes high end stores) a tax refund section and much much more. It was truly a moment and obviously the best airport I had been in....ever.

Alas, Marlon ended up finding a spa in the airport where we could sleep, shower and store our luggage. It was called Spa on Air. For $20 we had access to the facilities that included a sauna, showers, jacuzzi and a sleep room and we could store our luggage for 12 hours. James and Marlon opted to take a nap, I wasn't tired so I decided to take a shower (i was musky af) and chill in the jacuzzi for a second. During that time I also decided to book the international plan for $10/day.

I woke James and Marlon up at 9:30am. Got them ready and we took the train to Seoul (Incheon is a transit city that harbors Seoul's airport and neighbor's South Korea's capital city). The train ride there was like a metrorail that had like...11-15 stops and took about an hour. It was a great way to intertwine ourselves into the framework of the city by doing what the locals do.

We got off at Seoul station and basically just bopped around. The first thing we noticed walking out of Seoul Station was how many levels below ground the train was (seven!!!) by how many escalators and stairs we had to walk up. In stepping outside, we noticed a pretty thick smog over the city which answered the question as to why we saw so many citizens walking around with masks covering their nose and mouth.

Honestly, we did a lot of nothing. We stopped by this coffee shrine and drank their free coffee. We noticed a church outside in a heated tent. We went to a Zara and purchased pajama tops (LOL). We went to an arcade that wasn't really an arcade but a collection of store and took some photos. We crossed a street using an overpass that randomly had a piano on top of it. I played a few chords rofl . We took some photos of this temple arch looking thing. We went to a 7-11, just a lot of random stuff near Seoul Station.

We ate at Noodle King in Seoul Station, where one of the workers there got us together in the best way. The way they worked there was that there's a kiosk right outside of the restaurant window front where you order and pay for your food, afterward you sit at the counter and they make your food and you eat it there. No cash transactions, but the kiosk didn't seem to have an english option so homegirl saw that we clearly weren't from here, asked us what we'd like and ordered everything for us on the kiosk and whisked us off to the counter to sit and eat. I got some Japanese noodles ramen dish with shrimp and a side of potstickers and it was literally the best meal I've had in Asia xd

Time to Go!

Eventually we decided it was time to go back and opted to take the Express Train back to ICN, which was reminiscent of an Amtrak train and literally took between 30-40 minutes with no stops and felt MUCH faster than the way there. Our flight to Thailand left at around 6pm KST and took about 6 hours to get to Phuket.

Next I'll give an outline of our Thailand Adventures. Fun stuff.

One Love heart

Ryo

Mood: Adventurous rofl
Music: "One Kiss" - Dua Lipa from Dua Lipa


Ryonosuke
Community Member
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