Seaweed Soup at 30,000 feet

The journey begins. I left San Jose for LAX with way too much luggage, as I was reminded by the $60 American Airlines fee for carrying it. Hm. More on that later, hopefully when I mail some of it home! Upon retrieving it in Los Angeles, I paid $4 for a rolling cart that was worth every cent and wheeled over to the International terminal to catch my flight to Seoul, Korea on Korean Air.

Can we talk about the lovely Korean Air for a few minutes? You might not have heard of them, but they are a wonderful airline. Comfortable seats, new clean 777 aircraft, more than one inch between your seat and the one in front of you, and all kinds of entertainment from your own in-seat video console/computer. My second flight with them had a little coat hook, a USB port, and a little cupholder.  They even had a dedicated ladies room.  The staff are helpful and polite.   But what impressed me the most?  The bathrooms were still clean after 12 hours of flight time.  I think they might give Singapore Air some competition.

Seat back on Korean Air

See that knob? It's the coat hook.

If you weren’t sure of your air carrier’s home port, lunch would remind you. Bibimbap was on yesterday’s menu, with a side of seaweed soup. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bibimbap to learn more about this dish. Due to a very late night packing, my stomach was not up for the other choice (beef) so I went with the bibimbap. I thought at least I could eat the rice by itself if I didn’t like the rest of it. It came with an instruction card for us non-natives, and whole tube of chili paste.

Chili paste


Just as I was sizing up my line of attack on the bibimbap mixing, the flight attendant passed me a steaming hot styrofoam container of, you guessed it, seaweed soup. And you know what? It was good. Just the thing when you don’t feel so good. Plus I got a little cache with the Korean lady next to me. She seemed to approve of my choice.

It might seem like I am writing about Korean Air a lot, but try to remember I have spent about 18 hours with them out of the last 40 or so.

I arrived in Seoul tired, knowing not even one word of Korean (feeling embarrassed about that, too), and not sure how to get to my hotel. Tourist information fixed me up, and 50 minutes later, with some searching and walking, I arrived at the friendly but oh-so-dingy Tiffany Tourist hotel. At least it had clean sheets, even if the bedspread had cigarette-burn holes. I flopped down and slept for 12 hours straight. More on Seoul in the next post! Oh – hey – apparently I am not the only one who isn’t speaking Korean. There’ s a toll free interpreter phone number all over town.

free korean interpretation

This number is also seen on the side of most taxi cabs...

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