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Sunday, October 29, 2017

FABULOUS FALL FANTASY: Day 17-- Seoul to Tokyo to Honolulu

Left the Sheraton D-Cube City in Seoul on the 6AM bus to Incheon International Airport, which is 11AM in Honolulu.  I should return home at 9AM, which means I'll be traveling for 22 hours.  Why so long?

Kind of complicated, but my original trip was only from Honolulu to Tokyo to Honolulu, paid for by the Tokyo University A&T.   They said I could upgrade the economy ticket, which I did, and ended up spending $1890 plus 60,000 miles.  Kind of ridiculous, actually.
  • Anyway, as I was going to be in the Orient, why not spend another week and see Bangkok and Seoul?  
  • So I used 50,000 miles to go business class from Tokyo to Bangkok to Seoul to Tokyo.  
  • A lesson to be learned is know what you are doing when you use your miles, which are getting more and more diluted.  
  • The Tokyo-Bangkok-Seoul-Tokyo legs are unbelievably miles effective, even for business class.  
  • The only problem is that only a few seats are available for this option, and I had to leave Seoul at 9AM, arriving in Tokyo at 11AM, but my wait at the airport was to be 8 hours.  
  • You wins some and you lose some, but there is no better place to spend eight hours than the ANA Lounge at Narita Airport.
It was around 40F when I left the hotel on the bus at 6AM.  There were ten stops, and we were at capacity at around the time we ht the freeway.  That blue bear means I'm getting close to the terminal.  Fall is encroaching.

The traffic going in to Seoul at this time was gridlocked on the highway.  However, the Incheon direction was fast.  Click here for cost:
  • Train and bus are slightly less than $15
  • Taxi depends on what kind you catch and can be two to four times more expensive.
There is that controversial piece of art at the entrance of the airport;


If you think Koreans are lewd and that statue is out of place, take a look at the Taiwan equivalent, found in Terminal 2 of their international airport.  Click on it.  One is enough for me.

For the record, the early Greeks and Romans had their share for  the sake of fertiity.  Phallic architecture can be found everywhere.  Lest I smirk my way through this subject, have you been to the Phallic Rock of Molokai?

Anyway, I had a decent breakfast at the Asiana Lounge.  I again comment that the stewardesses of Asiana are all thin and tall and beautiful, something which probably would be illegal in the USA:



Just for this relatively short trip, I boarded the jumbo Airbus 380-800:


This plane, first put into service just about exactly a decade ago, has 40% more usable floor space than the Boeing 747-8.  United will retire it's final 747 with a flight to Hawaii next month.  Can you believe the first 747 flight, between California and Hawaii, was in 1970?  That's almost half a century!

So I'm sitting at my business class seat, the remote control looks like an smartphone, and works well:


The breakfast is Korean, with some makgeolli:


I watched a tense Korean film, A Day, which was like Groundhog Day for three people.  The link is far-fetched, but the effort was entertaining.   Just as the film was ending I looked to my left, and, my first glimpse of Mount Fuji on this trip (I didn't even see the Sun once on all the time I spent in Tokyo):


Interestingly enough, the landing pattern from the West was such that the 380 had to zoom over Japan and make the same approach as if coming from Hawaii:


Here is what the whole plane looks like, which has two decks:


After I got off the plane and went through airport security again, I walked to the United Club to see if I could get an aisle seat, for my window seat might have made getting to the restroom a problem.  I was too early, and the desk did not open for another hour.  So, I picked up a minestrone soup, salad and spam/egg musubi, and watched the World Series:


My flight to Hawaii was full, so I couldn't make any adjustments.  It was only 1PM, and six hour to go, so I walked over to the ANA Lounge, which is far superior to United's.  I'm now having my fourth meal of the day, and it's only 3PM:


Salad, musubi, pork ramen and chicken curry.  The World Series was in the ninth inning, when, suddenly, BS101 puts on the news and moves on to another program.  I guess here in Japan NHK doesn't cancel scheduled programs, especially if the subject matter is unimportant to them.  I had to later go to my computer to see that the score ended up Astros 13 - Dodgers 12.  Must have been a great game!
Oh, what happened to Typhoon Saola?  It weakened, drenched the airport last night and moved on.  Business as usual today.

I'm posting this now a bit early and will add items if anything interesting happens.  Otherwise, I return on to my regular schedule on Tuesday.

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