August 9, 2014
My flight to Korea had not been very pleasant.
China Eastern 756
Boarding China Eastern Airlines from Dubai, I had to endure the company of insensitive passengers who were so loud and what with all the ruckus! And no thanks to some ill mannered Chinese family who kept on rattling with their nonsense complaints on why I didn't want to move from my seat.
There was the Australian husband between me and the irate Chinese family who was trying to be more civilised and shush the Chinese wife. They were so annoying that the whole flight I just wished that I can just shut their mouths up. I swear that if thoughts could kill, I would have committed mass murder. But I guess that's what you getting flying in a Chinese carrier.
They were furious because one of their family members wanted to swap seats with me. But because the seat was far from my backpack already tucked in the compartment above me, I simply refused because it will delay me soon as the plane lands in the next stopover. And they never stop ranted, on and on and on.
This went on from Dubai to Kunming, and Kunming to Shanghai. You can just imagine the horrible experience. But it was a lesson well learned.
Lesson Learned: NEVER fly in a Chinese carrier if you want to some peace.
But there was this American ( Asian looking ) guy who was also mixed with the pool of Chinese passengers. I decided to stick with him. I couldn't recall his name anymore, but what I gather was that he's from Hawaii and will transit in Shanghai to reach the US.
It's always a good idea to find someone to talk with when you're traveling. I'm not a very social type of person, but I know that information is crucial. So whatever source of information there is, should be seized.
And because I am a budget traveler, most of the check in counters in the airport are always on the last aisle. Imagine the walking with a huge and heavy backpack. It was a total pain in the ass ( and I haven't even started on running which I will deal with later ).
Flight Delayed in Shanghai
Shanghai! Ah yes, China's capital. I had enough time to walk the long alley of Shanghai Airport and find what, gate #80! So it was like that. I had no issues walking. At this point, most of the passengers I see on the lobby are Koreans and a few European passengers. It gave me some re-assurance that finally all will be ok.
But surprise, surprise- the flight was delayed by an hour. And when we finally flew, there was a sudden storm in Korea that the plane had to go back to Shanghai ( Imagine, we were already in the middle of our destination when we reverted ). And to make the long story short, we were stuck in Shanghai.
My friend Tae Gyeom was supposed to pick me up at 17:10 hours but because of the delay, it became obviously impossible. And there was no way to contact him.
There was this (another) Australian guy seated beside me. His name is Joel Knibbe and he works as a teacher near Chuncheon. He was from his vacation in India and he told me about his short stay in India. He was a very nice lad and we kept talking until we reached Incheon Airport.
My last visit in Korea was back in 2008- a very long time ago. Things are so different now in the Korean immigration. It was a quick stamping and voila, I was inside the country. My friend Joel is still with me, and because I couldn't use the pay phone I borrowed his phone instead to call Tae Gyeom. My fried Tae Gyeom had already left the airport so I had no choice but to take the subway.
Joel was supposed to go to Chuncheon bound subway but because it was already too late, he opted to stay in a jimjilbang and take the subway the next day. Before we parted, he gave me this indian rupee bill. In exchange I gave him an Omani baiza bill. I promised to visit him in Gapyeong but sadly wasn't able to do it.
Now I think about what would have happened if I visited him? I guess not much difference but at the back of my mind there's that voice that asks- what if... and that's exactly what I try hard to avoid- the many what if's and what could have been. But fate is a strange road. You never know where it will lead you next.