The thing about traveling to the other side of the planet is that it sure takes a long time to get there. I am one hour into my three hour taxi ride to Nadi International Airport. Barring any bovine road fatalities, I will arrive about two hours before my flight to Korea. Then it is 10 hours in the air, 16 hours on the ground, another 14 hours in the air, and then probably about an hour between landing and taking a hot shower. All told, from hotel checkout to opening the front door at home should take about 46 hours.
The airline gods were not good to me on this journey (even though the Korean Air experience combines the best parts of Seoul Fashion Week with flying on a space ship). The cheapest flight I could find took me over the North Pole before heading to the South Pacific, with just a quick pit stop in one of Asia’s most modern cities. Typing out that phrase makes me feel like James Bond, by the way. I much prefer transiting through Hawaii, but that flight has been canceled. Transiting through Los Angeles is my second choice, but the flights were either much more expensive or required long layovers in both directions.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do with 16 hours in Korea. I arrive at 6 PM and leave at 10 AM, so I’m not going to see much daylight. In fact, it will probably be dark by the time I get checked into a hotel and just getting light when I check out.
I’ve never had a strong desire to visit Korea, and my most vivid memory of interacting with Koreans is getting pummeled by soccer players on Saipan. In our “recreational” men’s league, at least, the older Korean players combine mixed martial arts into the game. And like the WWE, most of the players have their own signature move, the most feared being the Mr. Ko Steamroller.
But I digress. I don’t know too much about Korea other than that they are saturated with broadband access and that their biggest export is crappy pop music. And I probably won’t get to know Korea on this visit anyway, as I will likely just fall asleep as soon as I get to my hotel.