I’m home from my unforgettable visit to Thailand and Cambodia, and as I promised you, dear readers, I’m going to share everything with you! I’ll try to skip the boring parts. I’d love to hear your comments and/or questions.
Ready? Here we go!!
It’s Sunday, April 8, and we’re about to embark on our great adventure. Daughter Ellie, sister Linda and I are on the enormous Korean Air flight, waiting to take off. All the flight attendants are Korean, of course, all slim, beautiful, and dewdrop-fresh, with their hair pulled back in tidy little buns finished with smart pale-green bows. They also wear starched little scarves around their necks that stand out at a perky angle, giving them a crisp, 1950s, business-like-but-feminine look. They’re uniformly friendly and helpful. I’m excited. For once I’m going to be treated properly on a flight. ; ) No more microscopic packets of teensy pretzels and inedible soy “nuts” tossed carelessly my way by indifferent flight attendants dressed in cut-off jeans. No, this is the life. I’m dazed with appreciation, as if by some lucky clerical error, I’ve been mistakenly placed in first class.
It’s now too many hours and too many second-rate movies to count later, and we’ve been disgorged along with hundreds of other bleary-eyed, disoriented passengers into the cruelly bright, space-age Seoul airport. I don’t know how those perky air hostesses do it. Maybe they’re actually Stepford stewardesses. I wouldn’t go so far as to plunge a knife into one of them to be sure, but I think it’s a distinct possibility.
We have a two-hour layover here before we take the plane to Bangkok, and we’ve been roving the endless enormous corridors of this airport looking for food and a place to lay our weary bodies down. I think we’ve cracked the mystery of how ALL the Koreans we’ve seen so far are waif-thin: they don’t eat! We’ve wandered for an hour now, without seeing a single restaurant. Every establishment we pass has to do with fashion, cosmetics or jewelry.
Speaking of fashion, there’s a strange phenomenon here, mostly among the young couples. We’ve seen at least fifteen couples dressed exactly alike, mostly with checked lumberjack-style button-down shirts, jeans, and fluorescent, many-hued tennis shoes. Interesting. We’ve also noticed that we’re in Hello Kitty Land. Hello Kitty motifs and anime are everywhere!
We finally realized that the restaurants are on the upper level of the airport, and have now found some food. By pointing at pictures on a menu, we order a plate of crispy gyoza, very tasty, with tiny balls of some sort of gelatinous substance inside, and a pho-type soup, which is almost too spicy to eat. Welcome to Asia, and a cuisine that puts Mexican food to shame in terms of hot chile content! It’s delicious, though, washed down with a couple cans of cold Korean beer.
And now, mercy of mercies, we’ve found some strange reclining futon-style mattresses that are apparently for the use of exhausted passengers in transit, and we’ve flopped down on them after setting our phone-alarms so we don’t miss our flight to Bangkok.
Next week: Bangkok, heart of the mysterious east! (Or maybe I should say liver, since it’s quite far south in Asia.)