I wrote in my previous blog post that I had a layover in Frankfurt. Well, that was what was supposed to happen. After having had the most pleasant trip to the airport, breezed through security, and enjoyed a fairly decent not too over-priced meal we were ready to board. The plane to Frankfurt where we had to catch our connection to Seoul just wasn’t ready to board us. It was stuck somewhere else and would be several hours delayed. After waiting in line for an hour we were told that they could rebook us to go via Istanbul to Seoul, but then our bags wouldn’t make it to the transfer. We then decided to opt for option number two: go to Copenhagen, transfer in Beijing, and then arrive in Seoul six hours later than planned. With our bags.
That meant another 5 hours of waiting for our flight to Copenhagen which then turned out to be terribly delayed causing us to rush through the airport only to get in the back of a slowly moving line through the passport checkpoint. At that time we had 20 minutes to takeoff and yet to find our gate. Anyone could have checked my pulse by just looking at my temples. But when bad things happen, good things usually follow, and we finally made it to our gate and got bumped up to “almost business” class for our inconvenience. Sitting in a super comfortable seat with a glass of Chardonnay in hand I was ready to recline, relax and get some sleep on the 10 hour flight. And I probably would have if the couple sitting next to me hadn’t brought a baby who kept screaming from we took off until we touched ground. Finally in Beijing, we had a 2 hour layover. That turned into 4 hours caused by yet another delay making me find out the hard way that toilet in Chinese means hole in the ground. This experience and a bowl of Chinese noodle soup constitutes my thus far first and slightly involuntary visit to China. But since good things must follow bad I was happy to see Song Seung Heons latest romantic comedy “Wonderful nightmare” as part of the limited inflight entertainment program. I’d obviously seen it before but then again, I’ve seen most of his works more than once!
When we finally landed in Incheon, we were 8 hours behind our original schedule and past 8pm local time. But we had landed, we were in Korea, and now it was just a matter of getting our bags, finding the airport bus and head to our rented apartment. But the bags weren’t there. Our delay to Copenhagen caused our bags to get lost, and a kind English-speaking official told us that our two bags were in Helsinki and Frankfurt respectively, and would be shipped the next day. My husband asked when we could expect the bags to arrive, prompting the ajusshi to say “yes, tomorrow”. Two additional English-phrased attempts from my husband resulted in one answer “yes” and another “tomorrow”. When I then asked the exact same question in Korean we were told that they were both expected around noon and that we could expect them later in the afternoon. Now they just needed a phone number to contact us. A Korean number that is. When I told him that we were only in Korea for two weeks and didn’t have such a phone number he just kept insisting. Luckily my former LP was quick on Kakaotalk and with her contact information and our address we could finally head toward Seoul. When we arrived at the apartment it was almost 11 pm and none of us were in a condition to search for a restaurant. We dined on cup noodles from 7-eleven purchased together with a change of underwear for both of us (the shop owner obviously found the whole situation a lot more amusing than any of us) and went straight to bed.
Today our bags finally arrived and we had a lovely dinner with my super helpful former LP and her boyfriend. Although still jet lagged we’ve been enjoying Seoul and as my Korean friend told me, when I whined about our misfortune “힘들게 가는 만큼 보람된 한국 여행이 될 거예요”. As much as getting here was hard, as great your stay here will be. Let’s hope that’s true!