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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

GAWA Day #14: Agony and Ecstasy on Asiana 101 to Seoul

Asiana is one of my very favorite airlines, and much more so now after my anguish and resurrection today.  But first, at Narita Airport, I went to the ANA Lounge, but not to eat anything.  If you'll recall, I had a huge breakfast and was planning to skip lunch.

Well, there is a noodles kitchen there, so I ordered something, then picked up more than I originally planned:


Regular salad, potato salad, musubi (rice ball) fried noodles, ramen and minestrone soup, with sochu, chardonnay and beer.  The ramen was fabulous.  Looks like I'll need to skip dinner tonight.

This is what business class looks like on Asiana:


On the plane, I was about to skip the meal, but thought I'd at least look at it:


This was the best Korean cuisine I've ever had on a plane.  Basically, there are six kinds of leafy vegetables.  You place some rice, kimchee, bean paste and beef on a leaf and eat the whole thing in one gulp:


Even the bathroom was exceptional:


The flight was fine, except for one problem.  I checked through immigration quickly, and put my passport into a special pocket where I kept my wallet.  It was missing!!!!!  Oh the agony...the sheer fear of distress.  I quickly went through all my pockets.  No wallet.  Did I leave it at the hotel?  Possible.  But more probably, in the process of filling out the forms at my seat on the plane, the wallet must have slipped out while I had to keep checking on my passport number and such.  Then, the thought of losing all my Korean money and credit cards sunk in.  Day 14 of a 65 day trip, so how do I continue?

I've done this before, for about 20 years ago, my wife picked me up at the Honolulu Airport.  Arriving in our apartment, I noticed that my wallet was missing.  The shock was similar, and I instantly remembered the hassle of canceling four credit cards, getting a new driver's license and a whole bunch of other things that required calling the airline, previous hotel, etc.  The good news is that a week later, my wife found my wallet in her car.  But what a pain.  The frightening thing is that this is Seoul, Korea.  The thought of what I had to do was overwhelming.  I most definitely am getting too old to travel.

So I went to the Asiana lost and found desk, showed the man my ticket and indicated that I thought I had lost my wallet in seat 2K.  In his hand was my wallet!!!  The company was so efficient that in the 20 minutes it took me to go through immigration and pick up my suitcase, they found the wallet and delivered it to this desk.  Amazing!  He didn't even ask for any ID...he just smiled and gave me my wallet.  The awesome ecstasy, the incredible euphoria, my GAWA--which if this is your first visit to this blog site, is the acronym for Grand Around the World Adventure--is now already a resounding success.

I was floating on my limousine bus ride to the Sheraton D-Cube City, went up to the Club Lounge to check in, and got a fantastic room on the 40th floor with a fabulous view.  I went back to the Club to get a drink, and they had reserved a window table for me, as the whole place had filled up.  There was even a waiting line to get in.  I've never seen this in any Starwood lounge.  Heck with my diet, in my state of elation, I ate a whole meal with a Johnny Walker Black Label on rocks, champagne and glass of red wine:


I have determined that the Club Lounge of Sheraton D-Cube City, like 15 Craigside, is also Purgatory.  After all, with 108 billion Homo sapiens since the beginning of our species, Purgatory must be scattered all over the place.  While Popes keep saying that Purgatory is not a place, but a process, I'm not seeking any indulgences from Pope Francis, so I'm perfectly happy in my current state of purification.  If that does not make much logical sense, I take liberties on reality not unlike The Bible.

I was here about a year ago and reported how this is the latest generation of hotels where the rooms are on the top floors (of the green building to the left), and everything else below, like theaters, shopping galleria, subways, etc.  The #1 and #2 lines cross in my basement.

Oh, one more thing, The Man from La Mancha is one of my favorite broadway shows.  The Impossible Dream is just about my theme song.  It is playing in this building on the 7th floor.  But a seat costs $140.  How can I not go, especially now, when something astonishingly impossible happened to me today?


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Typhoon Dujuan reached a wind gust of 181 MPH on the Okinawan island of Yonagunjima.  Then, with peaks up to 153 MPH, Dujuan spent seven hours over Taiwan, bringing more than 24 inches of rain in mountainous areas:


There is a tropical depression in the Atlantic, but it is not expected to become a hurricane:


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