Four am and I am getting ready to leave
Thailand. I will definitely miss
this fabulous country and its kind people. People often ask me which is my
favorite country, and after dividing it by continents I usually put Vietnam at the top, but Thailand is a very close second. Vietnam is
crazy and anything you do is an adventure. Thailand, on the other hand, is
just as exotic but everything is easy. It is beautiful, inexpensive, and in a
day or two you feel part of the culture. No wonder so many expats have chosen Thailand as the
place to live, particularly if you are on a budget. I can see myself living
here, and then traveling to the rest of Asia
to get the adrenaline flowing.
My flight actually departed at 7 am, and after that I did what DJ has referred to as the Indiana Jones maps. A red arrow from Chiang Mai to
Bangkok, a new arrow from Bangkok
to Kuala Lumpur, and then to Ho
Chi Minh City, and then to Seoul,
and finally across the Pacific to San
Francisco (I am not there yet, but that is where I
will end). In total I will have 35 hours of travel, including a 10-hour layover
in Seoul (which
is where I am writing this last entry).
Incheon is the
, and for many
reasons is my all time favorite airport. First of all, it is common for Korean
airlines to “encourage” you to spend a few hours here, so you take the
opportunity to see something of airport
of Seoul Korea.
To further facilitate this introduction, the airport runs free tourist tours
that last 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 hours. I took the 5-hour tour to downtown, which
included a visit to one of the old, posh neighborhoods, and then a visit to the
central market, where we had free time to browse, shop and eat. Of course this
implied exchanging a new batch of money (1 US dollar = 1,100 Korean wan), and
the eternal quandary on how much to exchange. I wish I had exchanged a bit
more, because I saw some cool things in the market, but there is no point
regretting a missed shopping opportunity. Lunch was … OK I guess. Our guide had
recommended sea weed rice and veggie rolls (actually quite good) and bimbimbap,
which is a kind of rice and multi-produce salad combo that was a little too vegetarian
for my taste.
The second reason why Incheon is my favorite airport is that they have free showers! For delicious 30 minutes you have a well appointed bathroom all for yourself (and after 24 hours of travel I definitely needed a shower). I am now in clean clothes, waiting for the 10-hour flight to
San Francisco. I should
try to sleep, but the temptation to watch movies for 10 hours straight may be
too hard to beat. My last little bit of R&R before the craziness of the
next semester starts!