Posted by: CatherineD | September 29, 2009

Seoul 2009 – Day 1

It’s 2:30 a.m. in Seoul, and I’m done sleeping for now. I hit a wall and went to bed at about 8 p.m. last night. B is just snoring away, dreaming of playing baseball with little D, no doubt!

I have some journaling to do. I think the best way to break it down is by day. There is just so much to say, and I don’t want to forget ANY of it so I can one day share all of this with Daniel! These are my random thoughts, and I completely understand if you want to skip my babbling and go straight to the good stuff – the pictures!

Day 1 started Sunday morning in Phoenix. My parents took us to the airport, and we flew to LAX. Quick and uneventful… just how I like my flights.

In LA, we had a celebrity sighting! We were outside, walking to the international terminal when B spotted who he thought was Lou Ferrigno.  I didn’t think so. He sort of resembled The Hulk, but was much too small. B insisted, and I adamantly disagreed. Plus, this guy was pushing around a cart full of luggage. Don’t celebrities have people to do that? To settle it, I asked a policeman who we noticed saying hello to the celebrity look-alike. He confirmed that, yes, it WAS him! When I commented on how much smaller he looked, the cop pointed out that Lou’s probably not on steroids anymore, and he’s getting older. Aren’t we all (sigh). Okay, cool! So we saw a celebrity!

We flew on Asiana, an airline neither of us had heard of, and I tried to dismiss the fact that it made me think of Oceanic (those of you LOST fans will know what I mean).

We LOVE this airline, and the 12+ hour flight was awesome! Before we even boarded the plane, we watched all of the gorgeous flight attendants parade into the waiting area, and it was like watching a beauty pageant! All stunning Asian women (and one guy, I think) – perfectly coiffed and wearing their hair in what we decided was the ‘regulation bun’. We were also impressed with the pilots’ ties. Really simple and modern, with some colorful flowers just at the top.  Even though B doesn’t have many occasions to wear ties, I seriously considered asking where we could buy one – they were THAT cool.


Once we found our seats, B was bummed that we were in the last row – that usually means that we cannot recline and we can smell the lavatory. Neither was a problem! Our seats DID recline, and the only thing we noticed about the lavatory was that sometimes the powerful flush would vibrate the floor. No smells, thank goodness!

The plane seemed brand new, and the seats were roomy and comfortable. Every seat had its own TV monitor, a remote for the TV (which doubled as a phone!), a footrest, pillow and blanket. They fed us very well, and the staff was so attentive. Lunch was bibimbap (for me) and steak and potatoes (for B). Oh, before lunch, everyone was given a steaming hot towel to freshen up.

Bibimbap with instruction card

Bibimbap with instruction card

We watched quite a few movies. I watched The Proposal, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and part of 17 Again. We also borrowed some movies from the library before we left, and we watched Monsoon Wedding together on the laptop. I’m not sure what other movies B watched, but I think one was Wolverine.

Halfway through the flight, they passed out mini ham and cheese sandwiches, which were delicious. Then, about two hours before we landed, they announced that we would get a ‘snack,’ which turned out to be a full-blown dinner. I had fish with rice and B had chicken with pasta. Delish!

Brian got some really good sleep. I only slept a couple hours. I just have to mention that I have NEVER been on a flight where B enjoyed himself. I’m not saying he’s a whiner… he just needs more room than I do, and long flights are usually extremely uncomfortable for him. We were both sooo comfortable and pampered. The time really flew by (pun intended!). Okay, I can’t believe I wrote a small essay about our flight, but we were just THAT impressed. In fact, B is planning to write a glowing letter to the airline.

When we arrived in Seoul Monday night (they’re 16 hours ahead of Phx), a driver from Eastern (Joe?) was there to greet us. I have no idea what the speed limit is, but it must be TURBO. We zoomed from Incheon to Seoul in about 30 minutes? (I’m not positive on the timing – I think I fell asleep). B was taking pics the whole time, but most of them are blurry because we were traveling at warp speed.

Toll Station

Toll Station

We’re staying at the Hotel Seokyo, a few blocks from Eastern. It’s a really nice hotel, with friendly staff, comfy beds and free breakfast. It took us the longest time to figure out how to turn the lights on in our room. None of the lamps have switches, and the wall switches we tried didn’t work. Finally I noticed a small box on the wall that said ‘Insert Card Key.’ Hmmm. Maybe the room key? We inserted the room key, and all of a sudden the lights and air conditioning went on – genius!


Another funny quirk about our room is the fancy toilet/bidet. It has all kinds of  lights and buttons, with images and Korean words. We pressed all of the buttons but nothing really happened. Hmmmm. Next time I used it, though, I noticed the seat was nice and toasty, so we must have turned on a seat warmer.

We're very impressed with the toilet and its mysterious buttons.

We're intrigued by the toilet and its mysterious buttons.

Monday night, we were tired but walked around the neighborhood a little bit. There is a university nearby, and the area was packed with young hipsters. Lots of fun little boutiques and restaurants, too. After about 30 min of walking around, we went back to the room and crashed. We needed our rest. After all, this is what we had to look forward to:


THE END (of a very long day).


  1. Loved your long descriptive post of Day #1! Sounds like you’re having a great trip so far! Can’t wait to see more photos. Have a wonderful time exploring the City!!

  2. There’s nothing like a long international flight on a non-US airline to remind us how much our normal air travel sucks! Glad you enjoyed your flight. Your comments about not being able to figure out how to turn on the lights in the hotel cracked me up, because we did the same thing when we went to Thailand. I actually called the front desk for help, we were so clueless! Glad you’re having a wonderful trip – I knew you would!

  3. What a GREAT recap. Thank you!
    Sounds all a tad familiar…and I love it.
    We loved walking around Hongik University…especially in the evenings…what a LIVELY place. Lots of young “hipsters” as you described.
    I LOVE that photo of you with Daniel. LOVE his hair!! Too cute.

  4. Yay! So fun following your journey. Makes me want to find a way to sneak into the next AP’s luggage. Enjoy every minute!

  5. That’s my nephew!

    • How cool is that? Congrats!

  6. Sounds like a great flight – celebs and all! I’m rather glad we took the KAL bus from the airport to our hotel – they did the speed limit – which took almost an hour- I would have needed some serious anti anxiety meds in a taxi for that length of time! And very cool toilet!

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