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Korea Part I

In Korea for the first time

After our long, parabolic flight across the Atlantic, you faithful correspondents strode somewhat bleary eyed into Seoul’s Incheon international airport, though I in retrospect I am unsure if “airport” is really the correct term. Indeed planes did land and unload/load people, but the entire international terminal was more like a spotlessly clean shopping mall, occupied exclusively by expensive European retailers and East Asian eateries than anything I have come to know as an airport. We strode through the gleaming terminal surrounded by well dressed Korean business men and young Russian couples, where the burly men struggled to keep up with giant spindly blonds. Also striking was the silence of the place. While American malls (or airports for that matter) subject their patrons to an assault of musics, screaming people, and crowded visual stimulus, this place was quite, minimal, silent, and colored tastefully in deep sea greens, stark whites and dark grays. We stopped into a food-court-type enclave and ordered a pair of Erdinger weissbeirs amidst children dressed in Pier Cardin sweater vests slurping pungent noodles from bowls of broth. We left the cafeteria in much revived spirits and we on our way the gate when we noticed this sign:

Cultural Experience

and thought perhaps this was exactly what we were looking for. We ventured in to inquire and inside we met a very kind representative who informed us that we did not have the sufficient time to make the little hand painted fans which were the activity of the day, but we stayed to chat anyways, and (don’t tell anyone) were given a free couple of fans to boot. She explained that she had visited the States once: Las Vegas “for the slots” she said; won $400. May we one day be as lucky.

With the nice Korean Culture fan woman

As we were boarding the plane we struck up a conversation with a Gujarati diamond merchant, with manufacturing operations in Surat. As we descended on the escalator, he explained he was a Jain, which among other things means he is forbidden to eat anything which grows beneath the earth: potatoes, onions etc… so while he liked Korea, or “KR, a very good place” as he put it, it was hard for him to eat there. When we finally reached the bottom of the escalator, ready to board the plane to Bombay he bid us farewell and mentioned, “I told my wife I missed my flight and I’m not coming home tonight… but I am!” May we one day be as lucky.


Comments

  1. Diane Heditsian | June 6th, 2008 | 11:47 pm

    You boys are off to a great start. If you had made one of the fans, how long would it have taken and what would it have cost (in dollars)? Woody, I like your writing style. I have given your blog to so many people. Keep it coming.
    Mom

  2. AsiaWheeling » Blog Archive » Hello Thailand | June 23rd, 2008 | 11:05 pm

    [...] suckling at its many teats. We exited the plane to find the interior to be not so different than that of Icheon, that is to say, a giant sheik shopping [...]

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