Arrival Journals

1:51 am Wednesday (Asian time) 11:52 am previous day, Vermont time

Did I just lose most of Tuesday?  

It feels very strange to be flying over China. So far we’ve flown (very) north from NY through the Arctic Circle, and are now heading down through northern China. It appears that we will be giving North Korea a very wide berth.  

6:45 am Gimpo airport, waiting for the plane to Jeju.

Bus ride was much better this time, with a cheery Korean woman driver and a bus full of travelers all noisily watching Olympic speedskating. I have been so hot for this entire trip…I can’t wait to take a shower. So glad I didn’t wear a winter coat. It feels weird to be in Asia, but not as much as it probably should, maybe because I’ve been planning for it for so long. I’m not sure if I could get any farther from home, in terms of physical distance. In terms of information, communication, and the presence of American goods and services, however, I’m actually pretty close. I think this is  one reason why I wasn’t filled with an overwhelming amount of excitement and trepidation upon coming here. When the first thing you see is a Dunkin' Donuts, it kind of takes the thrill out of culture shock.  

Looking out the window of the plane as we start to fly out of Seoul. This airport isn’t close enough to see the city, but I can see clusters of apartment towers. There are so many of them! There don't appear to be any neighborhoods or other houses..does everyone here live in these huge, impersonal blocs? Korea is so densely populated I guess they don’t have the luxury of individual houses. The weird thing is the uniformity of these towers, and they way they appear in evenly spaced clumps across the landscape.    

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