Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Enroute to Busan

Hello from slightly less than 34,000 feet. I’m on the Northwest flight from Detroit to Tokyo…with about 9.5 hours remaining. It is currently 6:14 pm EST. I don’t know what time zone I am currently in…although the video screen about 15 yards in front of me shows a little stick-figure picture of a plane north of Minneapolis/St. Paul…somewhere in Canada---to the northeast of the strangely-named city of Regina. It’s -34 degrees Fahrenheit outside and we’re going about 555 miles per hour.

So far, it’s been a nice trip. Although I had very little time to make my Detroit connection. Basically, I had time to get to the gate, find the nearest bathroom, and then they were boarding. No time to grab a bite to eat. I’m thankful that the gate for the Tokyo flight was close to the arrival gate from Indy…otherwise there would not have even been time for the pit stop.

Still, they have given us dinner. I chose a really tasty Beef Stew which included a small salad and good sized shrimp with cocktail sauce. Now, I’m stuffed---

Two things have bummed me out so far. The first was that I had hoped to be able to listen to some podcasts on my ipod during the flight. When I went to turn it on I found that it had glitched on itself…remaining frozen WITH THE POWER ON. Once I reset it, you guessed it, the battery was dead. So now I’m blogging with the dual purpose being to charge my ipod up off the battery of the laptop. Which, is a risky thing because I’m really not sure whether I’ll be able to charge up my laptop once in Busan. It’s the whole 110v/220v difference that I was never able to truly understand—will I be able to plug in while I’m there or not. Korean grad students contacted all separately concluded about the same thing: “Yes, they are different systems…you should be able to buy an adapter…but I’m not positive….” But, the music in the NWA Air Tunes system has already looped on me and I’m gonna take the risk of charging up the nano.

The second thing that was a minor annoyance was the movie selection on the plane. Three dogs that I have never heard of. But, that’s not truly a big deal because I’ve brought plenty to read and as is always the case when I fly, the moment the plane takes off I’m ready to fall asleep. I’ve napped clear through the first time the drink cart came by. Thank goodness the flight attendant left the pretzels on my extended tray table.

Oh, I can’t believe it’s taken me five paragraphs to describe my complete joy with the long-awaited purchase I used this trip as an excuse to make. I am listening to music with my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones. I bought them about 4 days ago and have really enjoyed them in the office and working at home. BUT ON THE PLANE THEY ARE FANTASTIC! Usually I would put earplugs in and that would cut down on the barrage of jet turbine whine…but these really cut it down to unbelievably low levels. So much so that when I take them off it is so loud I almost instantly put them back on again. Delicious.

Well, I just checked the status of the ipod charging and we’re moving along nicely. It won’t take as long as I thought. Gonna get back to the reading of the Lonely Planet book on Korea. Hwanjun, a graduate student of mine with a similar interest in music processing, let me borrow it for the trip. I probably should have read more of it BEFORE I left. Well, more as I did read much about Busan and its surroundings I should have read more about general Korean culture. Less than an hour ago I came across this gem: “Casual clothing is fine in most situations as long as it is conservative in tone [no problem there, I think to myself]….In the hot and humid summer months men almost never wear shorts.” What?! Oh no. I can pretty much remember 4-5 pairs of shorts that I packed. After all, they are having 87-degree temperatures and thunderstorms so I figured that made sense. Can’t quite remember how many slacks I packed….

It’s now 2:35am my body time. It has been a little harder for me to sleep than I expected. Luckily, not impossible. It’s just that it is lighter in the cabin than I wish it was. I just keep thinking of the two pair of eye blinders that I have at home. The second pair I had to buy because I forgot to bring the first one with me the last time I traveled! Looks like I’ll have to get a third.

Here comes breakfast. Oh, turns out one of the movies was actually pretty funny. Wild Hogs. Nothing you haven't seen before, but worth the time.

The connection in Tokyo was incredibly close. I had to go through security checkpoints again, which was a slow process considering hundreds of people came off the 747. One interesting thing I noticed is that the Tokyo security line was much quieter than those in the states. No officials barking at you to "take your laptops outta the bag" or "take your shoes off." All those instructions are told to you quietly by the one official at the head of the line.

After sweating whether or not I would make my connection (how WOULD I have gotten ahold of people in Busan if I had missed that flight? I have no idea)...we waited for them to load the luggage. Here's a picture of mine getting loaded on, in fact.

Then we waited in line to take off for at least 45 minutes. I got bored. Here's a picture of another plane in the cue with us.

But, the 90 minute flight to Busan was uneventful. A graduate student of mine, Soyung, met me at the airport. She actually grew up in Busan, got her masters degree at Kyungsung and is back here this summer working on some research projects.

Anyway, I'm pretty bushed, so I'm off to find some bottled water, something to eat, and get some sleep. But, let me show you the views from my hotel (the Hotel Homer, believe it or not) which is right on the beach.


tehun said...

Hey, cool! I'm half Korean (my other half is Jap).

Sorry for this random burst of sugar-induced energy provided by my Hershey bar as it hasn't worn off my system yet. Looking for random blogs is fun :D

You can read mine at

Have a fun time at Korea!

Samuel D. Bradley said...

Awesome. I am a little bit jealous.

sams mom said...

I am alot jealous.