Tuesday, 2 February 2016


By 5:20 am I am so EXCITED that I listen to THIS SONG again on YouTube. In about 7 hours I will be BACK IN THE SRoV !!!!

But I'm still in Korea for now.  

My first outside cigarette break at 4 am woke the receptionist that was sleeping behind his reception desk in a thick down jacket. While the guest rooms are way too hot (heated floors with the thermostat set to 27 Celsius), the reception is noticeably cool; the doors to the MINUS 11 degrees outside don't seal very well. 

A short  walk outside confirms both that its DARK & FREEZING (the cold quickly creeps in through various layers of clothing I'm wearing) and the presence of the beach close by (I can see lights reflected in water), but it's too dark to actually see a path to the beach, so I leave my beach walk for the return trip. 

One thing I notice is the ABSOLUTE SILENCE outside. I can't hear anything at all besides my own footsteps and breathing and quickly notice that hiss in my ears that comes from listening to non-existent extraneous sounds.  WOW.  I can't remember the last time I have been somewhere this quiet !!

The free hotel shuttle bus leaves at 6 am, which presents a tiny bit of a problem because the free hotel breakfast also starts at 6 am.  But apparently I will be able to grab some tiny bite at 5:50 am.

 It ends up being toast with butter and jam. But for the life of me I can't figure out how to open the jam. I have to ask. You fold the container about the middle and the jam squeezes out the top foil.  Good thing I asked.

Incheon is the busiest airport I've ever seen. And everything is shiny, new, and expensive.

 I'm hungry again but decide to pass a Dunkin Donuts and an Italian Bistro (WHY would I eat Italian food in South Korea?) and end up eating a spicy Hangover cure Ramen for 4500 Won. 

The cute waiter asks me whether I want it extra spicy, but I'm not familiar with how spicy regular Korean food is, so I leave it as regular spicy. And since my nose starts running as soon as i eat that probably was a good decision. This is fantastic breakfast food. 


Until I splash some of the spicy brew into my eye, but the tears pass quickly ;-)

The Ramen place happens to be right across from my gate. A good omen.  An even better omen is that right next to the restaurant is a smoking lounge. 

Classy airport (hear that YVR? ;-)

Yes, it is EARLY morning
Good omens keep accumulating. The plane for the 4.5 hour flight to Hanoi is a 777 again and it happens to be half empty so I secure a 3 seater, giving me extra leg and elbow room and offering an opportunity to stretch out for a snooze!
My ride
That's them but NOT my pic
By now I know my way around Korean Air and I have consumed 6 baggie of peanuts before the other passengers even see their one baggie distributed with a napkin towards the beginning of the flight.   My hamster cheeks will be filled with handfuls of bags THRICE more before this flight ends ;-)  After such binges of peanut consumption I usually nod off for a while and I just realized that I passed over Shanghai during the last nod and am heading straight for Guangzhou.  

There actually is a funny side note to that peanut story. Not long a go a Korean Air executive flipped out on a plane because the crew server her nuts instead of a meal and she proceeded to fire one of the crew that very moment.  She didn't last long in her own job after that, but  Korean Air definitely has a NUTTY history. 

Even when one disregards the fact that they seem to have the Pepsi Cola logo on all their planes ;-)

Once you look at a map, it seems quite a reasonably route rational for flying from Seoul to Ha Noi.  Still, the fact that the plane flew right over Shanghai and I didn’t look out the window irks me a little.

There are no more Vietnam travel shows to watch, but I have time to write down the title of the one I watched yesterday:
Themed World Travels:  Xin Chao!   and the title of the first episode is:
Abundance of the indigo ocean; Da Nang (my eyes are filling with tears again; I can't wait to get back there ;-)  

Most of the rest of the flight is spent listening and rocking out to  Bach concertos, with a wide grin on my face planning the first things I will do when in Hanoi in a few hours. 

Sounds strange or a bit eccentric?                               Not at all!

Immigration at Noi Bai is a breeze as usual; I get my stamp that allows me to stay for 15 days without a visa.  After buying a carton of American smokes for US$18, I start the routine walk to the domestic terminal to catch the local bus.  

Fortunately it is chilly (16 degrees with a cold wind) so I walk fast to warm up, which allows me to wave at the bus driver who just closed the doors of the bus to depart. He opens them again, I pay my 9000 Dong, and embark on the 1 hour bus ride to Hanoi. 

The first thing I notice is the mandarin trees in the streets of suburbian Ha Noi.  They are big and they are everywhere.  Each carries between 50 and a gazillionripe mandarins.  The trees sit on sidewalks in groups of up to 50 when they are for sale or individually ride on the backs of scooters once they have found a new owner.  Taking pictures of rapidly moving objects through the dirty windows of a rapidly moving bus is not trivial, so I have to use a picture pilfered from the net:
Not my pic

Later I will find out that these things behave pretty much like a Christmas Tree. 

Visiting a receptionist I know in his hotel, I notice a giant mandarin tree in the lobby that even is decorated ;-)

After a much too short afternoon nap (bloody jet lag), I head to Chuong Chuong again for yummy dinner and again have to face the fact that I must be doing something wrong when pronouncing ruou trang, because Vietnamese just look at me strangely.  

However the problem seems to be less my verbal skills than that they don't expect a tourist to speak Vietnamese when ordering white wine ;-)

On only my second night in a non-PST time zone I surprise myself by hitting the feathers after 9 pm!

No comments:

Post a Comment