Tuesday Travels #6 The Flight to Cambodia

FT (Florida time)7 am, out the door and on the way to JAX, Julie drops me off, 50 lb. bags get checked all the way to Phnom Penh (thank you Lord), I go through security on pre-check (thank you again) and am waiting for my first flight

FT 10:30 am, ATL, sitting in the waiting area for the international flight. I was able to move by tram from concourse B to concourse F, which was marked as the international terminal. At the help desk I found out I was really supposed to be at concourse E, so I walked back rather than ride the tram all the way around the circle. Easy check in at the gate, hardly anyone else there. FT 10:45, Mike and Trish arrive. They started in ATL and the security check made them unwrap the video projectors Trish had so carefully bubble wrapped, towel wrapped and duct taped. We visit and catch up on each other’s status while waiting.

I want to keep track of how they plan events on the trip to make us think in the time of our destination. I’m not going to buy food in the airports, hoping that what we get on the flight will be plenty as it usually is. Still fighting this headache for the third day now but perhaps it is getting better. Wishing I had some noise canceling headphones for this trip. I settled for new earbuds that have soft rubber cradles to keep them on my ears. My ears seem to be different from the average human since most everything pops right out the minute I put it in.

My biggest source of confusion on these trips is my back pack with it’s zillion different pockets, compartments and zippers. I’ve named it Helper, hoping that it will take the hint. I always try to have as little “stuff” to keep track of as possible, but on this long a flight you do need to have some things handy. I’ve already nearly left my driver’s license at the bag check place in Jacksonville. I’ve had to hunt for my baggage claim checks when at the Korean Air desk. I needed my fingernail clippers after tearing off a nail stowing my pack under the seat, and of course, I needed my ibuprofen. I got the Kindle out on the flight from Jacksonville but as it turned out I only opened my eyes long enough to drink my cup of coffee. All this stuff has to come out and go back in handily or I look like an idiot.

FT 12:50 We take off and are soon at over 500 mph at great height. By 1:15 we are being served beverage and snacks, I decide to watch a movie “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” which I saw on the plane coming from Minneapolis but couldn’t hear any of the words. By 2:00 we are being served a meal. I take chicken. By 3:00 the lights are being dimmed and by 3:30 it is quite dark and most are watching a movie or sleeping. I will also try to sleep because my headache is coming back.

FT 8 pm. I did try to sleep as it was a bit like taking a late afternoon nap. However, these seats are every bit as hard as I remember them being and that is what keeps me from being comfortable for long. I am sitting on actual pain, even though I have used my blanket as a cushion. Numbness.

Around FT 6pm we were offered a glass of juice and choice of a brownie, peanuts or a hot bun. I’ve had the hot bun before and it was good – has something in the middle that tastes like a spicy stew gravy. Nothing like it in our country. So that’s what I had. Decided to watch another movie. Cinderella, just because I’m curious about this recent remake.

My Helper, with it’s many pockets, compartments and zippers…

Now we have just crossed the international date line, so it is no longer Tuesday here. We are at 36,000 feet going 537 mph and a little over half way there. I smell food again. I have been smelling something not so good as food for which the young boy sitting behind me is responsible, I think. He is also the one creating “turbulence” by kicking the back of my seat periodically. When we were all strapped in our seats during takeoff, he released himself from the seat belt and took off down the aisle. Two attendants quickly left their jump seats and grabbed him which was a bit dramatic since the plane was on quite an incline. They all three kind of fell down the hill, and then climbed back up. I’ve done pretty good finding things in my helper, except for my glasses case. I searched every compartment before I remembered where it was. That happens. As I said it’s now 8pm in Florida where I started, I’ve had a good nap but the plane is still dark. It’s disorienting to sit in this room with no outside view and with a constant loud white noise of the engines. I think they are counting on people being disoriented so they can play with our internal time clocks…

FT 4am on Wednesday morning. I am in Seoul, South Korea where it is 5:10 pm Wednesday. Confused yet? As I said about six hours ago, I smelled food. Meal number two was served at FT 9:30 after hot, warm washcloths were passed to all. We ate and the room was darkened again. I was sitting on both the pillow and the blanket which made my seat much more comfortable and I was able to sleep for several hours. This would have been normal sleep time for me at home. At about FT 2:30 we were awakened and readied for landing.

Incheon aiport is very nice, very busy. We followed the crowd to the line for International Transfers and went through another security check. My backpack was carefully examined by x-ray and then a manual search was requested. For some reason my wooden jewelry box with its two pair of earrings was hard for them to identify and after seeing what it was, all was good again.

There was sufficient time for us to find food, use the restroom and find Gate 20 where the next flight to Phnom Penh will board. I have gotten a welcome message on my phone from South Korea stating that I can receive calls and texts but cannot make them until some special authorization. I may not have wifi until we reach the guest house later tonight. All for now.

Me, being helped.
Me, being helped.

God Bless South Korea

We are at  Incheon International Airport in Seoul after a safe flight from Phnom Penh.  The  Koreans are so … I’m not sure how to say what they are.  When they do something, they are so determined to do it really well. I’ve always been impressed with Korean Airlines. For example, I think most of us getting on the flight leaving Phnom Penh came from the same time zone where it was midnight.  They could have let us sleep the whole six hours in the air, but no. They wanted to give us a meal so breakfast came, at 3 am.  And I ate because I’m  in obedient mode (having just been on a mission trip).  And somewhere in the six hours they passed snacks and drinks twice. 

Ok, and as I mentioned we are now having a short layover at Incheon in the Prestige  KAL lounge, thanks to the Hunsader’s many miles on this airline.
I am grateful for warm water to wash my face for the first time in ten days. And that’s not all that’s warm.

A tired person could easily fall asleep on the heated toilet seat with separate flushes for adults, seniors and  – I forget all that the controls had options for, but it was so extensive that they had to put a separate label on so people could actually flush the thing. Awesome.

And now I’m off to the food bar for a cup of coffee before we head out for the long flight.  Still thinking about all the people who came to the airport to see us off, the 45 minutes of hugging and gift giving, the hands pressed against the windows and the heart hand signals pointed in our direction.  What precious people they are. I’m just sayin’, it’s impossible not to love them.