What day is this?

Posted on Posted in Being Human

Greetings from Seoul, Korea. I’m working on a project here, and left the good old “US of A” late last evening and arrived a little over 12 hours later, when it was one o’clock in the morning, more than a day later. I’ve lost a day completely, and that’s a little disconcerting. While I’m here, I’ll be working each and every day, for a mandatory ten hours each day. After eleven days of that, I think I’ll be pretty tired. It isn’t back-breaking work, so I bet I’ll be just fine. Unfortunately, I won’t get any days off while I am here, and that means that I won’t get to do any sightseeing or shopping. Swanee, the office manager where I work, mentioned to me that I absolutely must do some shopping while I am here, but I don’t know how I’ll manage that. Duty-free at the airport isn’t what she had in mind, and I think that is all I will ever see. Once I got off my flight from LAX, I looked to see how I would get to the domestic airport that is several miles away from the Seoul. Our project manager told us to take a bus from Bus Line 14, but there’s no 14 as far as I could see, so I had to inspect the signs of all of the bus stops looking for the phrase “Gimpo Nonstop” – Gimpo is the smaller airport that will take me to my final destination. I found three bus stops that would take me to the airport, and I had remembered that my friend Tim said he was going to take the airport train. The trouble for me is, that the bus schedule doesn’t start until 5am, and the trains don’t start until 6:30am, and my flight? It is at 7am. I have to take a bus if I want to arrive on-time, and I should grab that 5am bus to ensure that I make it to the airport to check in with some time to spare. I lucked out and grabbed one of the first bus trips, and was able to sleep a bit on the 45 minute ride. Bus fare? 5000 won. I don’t actually know what that means in US dollars, somewhere around $4.35, if I am doing the conversion correctly. Check in was a breeze, and security was far more thorough and speedy than I’ve ever experienced stateside. Right now, I’m sitting in the terminal at Gimpo, waiting for my next flight, and I’ve a few hundred loud and giggling school girls lining up at the windows. They must be on my flight. Oh joy. They all wear a khaki skirt, white shirt, wool sweater vest with green harlequin diamonds, an orange tie, and some kind of black jacket. Fascinating that although they are all wearing the same clothes, their shoes are all different, mostly sneakers of wild colors with short white socks. My favorite is the girl with the long sleek hair and grey suede nike shoes with fluorescent yellow soles. It is finally getting light outside, but I can’t really see much of anything. Looking over the heads of the school girls, the sky just looks like a milky caramel. Is that smog? Or are the windows tinted? I can see the faint outline of a hillside but nothing more than a mile or two away; it just all disappears. The girls are all getting onto the flight right next to mine, heading to someplace called Jinju. I feel sorry for the people of Jinju and the noise that will descend on them today.