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Monday, April 7, 2014

MY ULTIMATE FANTASY ADVENTURE: Day One

It was almost a year ago that I had My Ultimate Global Adventure, a 52-day journey that took me around the world, ending with a week of golfing in Napa, plus two days each of wine-tasting in Napa, Sonoma and Alexander Valleys.  My Ultimate Fantasy Adventure will "only" take 44 days and will involve:
  • Seoul
  • Bangkok
  • Japan, with a two week Green Car Shinkansen tour to
    • Tokyo
    • Kyoto
    • Nagasaki
    • Miyajima
    • Osaka
    • Sendai
    • Sapporo
    • Aomori
    • Tokyo
  • Then a Crystal Symphony cruise back to Honolulu
  • But, then, on to San Francisco for a week of golf in Napa
The trip started okay, but to my shock, left 25 minutes early.  OZ (Asiana--#1 from 2009 to 2012, but that San Francisco Airport crash ended that) 231 faced strong headwinds, so the flight took exactly 11 hours from Honolulu to Seoul.  I started with a Bloody Mary in the Red Carpet Club, then on the plane:  champagne, chardonnay, beer, cabernet, scotch, cognac…and the flight was just at the halfway point.  I had a terrific steak that was worthy of a photo:


The food and service were excellent.  

But then, at this point I noticed that my iPhone was missing.  My initial panic led to a ruined flight, for I kept wondering where it was.  My stress level was at max.  One good thing is that I totally stopped drinking alcohol, but my record was not even close to being threatened.  Click on my 24-drink debauchery from Honolulu to Bangkok of 2011.  Nah, that's not my phone, for it's in Honolulu and I'm in Seoul.

I did see three movies:  Man in Love (Korean), Oblivion (Tom Cruise) and Grudge Match (Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro).  The video/sound system in business class is terrific, with a rather large individual screen.

It gets a bit worse, as my suitcase arrived with one wheel missing.  I couldn't pull, so had to drag it.  Yet, the limousine bus wait was only 9 minutes.  

On the ride to the W on Walker Hill, (first W hotel in the Orient and now ten years old) I was able take a photo of their Parliament surrounded by cherry blossoms.  An hour and a half limousine bus ride later, I arrive.  I should be thankful, for I'm alive, feeling okay (except for that phone) and am in a high tech oasis, except that there are so many buttons and controls that I'm totally lost trying to turn the lights on and off.

But the best part of the day came when I checked my e-mail and learned that the taxi driver had found my iPhone, so all is well again.  The hotel had provided a W Cabernet Sauvignon with a plate of cheeses and stuff, so I had my final meal of the long day in my room.

The room is of Scandinavian design:


The closet, rest room and shower are located to the left, but the grand feature is a spa bath:




The breakfast buffet was outstanding:


I then went into Seoul and bought a couple Fantom shirts, and admiring various artworks;


The cherry blossoms are now at peak on Walker Hill:


Next door to the W is a Sheraton Grande with a casino.


With each waft of wind, petals fell like snow:


I missed lunch, so had a late afternoon foie gras hamburger in my room with the rest of the W Cab:


Goodbye from the W on Walker Hill:


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Tropical Cyclone Ita, now at 70 MPH, is projected to attain Category 3 strength, make landfall way north of Townsville, then hug the coastline towards this city:


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