Jul 15, 2011

Adventures in Hanguk, Pt. 2

(Late getting this post up too.. had most of this written on Wednesday but didn't get around to posting it til now)
So, continuing from the last post- after getting back to the guesthouse Tuesday night, i was chilling in the living room after i'd changed into my PJs, and surprised the 3 Japanese people there by interjecting into their conversation in Japanese.  There were 2 older men, who had been there for a while, and then the one Japanese girl who i think got there the same day as me.  She was in the same room as me too.  
Anyway, yesterday morning she asked for my email and such and we took some pictures together since we were both leaving.  She left shortly after noon, but i hung around a little to kill some time before heading to the airport.  Went for my last meal in Korea before heading to the airport, and i chose Taco Bell.  Yes, Taco Bell!  I was a little too excited when i discovered the Taco Bell not far from the guesthouse on my walk Tuesday.  Not as big of a menu as in the US, but i was still able to get my delicious bean burritos, and an extra packet of hot sauce to bring back with me.

Anyway, i got to the airport way early so i had a lot of time to kill.  Just wandered around before going to check in.  The guy checking me in started heckling me about my stay in Japan, since my visa expires the 18th and he just kept saying, "How long are you staying in Narita?  Your visa expires the 18th.  You have to buy a return ticket. Etc, etc.."  I was just thinking, yeah and..?  Sorry, you work for Korean Air, you should be worrying about checking me in and getting my boarding pass.  Let the immigration officers worry about my visa status if it is such a big deal to them.  And then i asked him about the meals on the flight, since on the way there we got a meal, which was really unexpected since it's only a 2-hour flight, and there was chicken in it, and ham in the salad.  Ate around it, because what can you do?  But i figured this time i'd request a veg meal so i could actually eat my food without worrying about chewing on little meat-bits that would trigger my gag reflex.  So after the guy was done harassing me about my visa i asked him about requesting a meatless meal.  He told me the flight was only 2 hours so there wouldn't be a meal, just a snack or something.  I asked again, just to be sure, saying that there had been a meal on the flight over.  Again, he told me there was no meal.  Alright, if you say so.

Went through security, and they pulled me aside and asked to go through my backpack.  Why ask?  Would they let me go on ahead if i had said no?  Anyway, the lady pulls out my bag of toiletries and starts inspecting each one.  I knew i was stretching it trying to bring my hairspray with me, but no one stopped me at security in Narita.
She didn't just take my hairspray though.  She took my toothpaste, and my expensive Aveeno face lotion too.  I understand the need for airport security, but there is a point where it just gets excessive, invasive, and annoying.  Especially the whole liquid restrictions (which, i might point out, toothpaste is NOT liquid.  It is a PASTE, hence the name toothPASTE).  Limiting the amount of liquid someone brings on the plane with them will not stop them from creating some sort of crazy explosive concoction if they want to.  Japan's got it right though- they've got the right amount of security without crazy, paranoia-driven regulations that make everyone's trips more irritating.

Anyway, off my soap-box now..
Got to my gate and waited for the line to go down a bit before trying to board.  As i was heading to the back of the line though, i spotted the Japanese girl from the guesthouse!  We chatted a little bit as we went through the line and boarded our plane.

And of course, we got a meal.  A big pile of beef served with rice.  Yep.  
Of course it's pointless to not eat it if it's just going to get thrown away, but i haven't eaten meat for so long that i just can't eat it.  It grosses me out, and i have this automatic gag/spit reflex when i bite into it.  I've gotten used to the fact that there is probably animal-stock in a lot of what i'm eating, but actual bits of meat i just can't do.
So thank you, Korean Air Check-in Guy.  Thank you.

Landed safely after less than 2 hours in the air.  Got my passport stamped at the immigration desk, no problem.  The guy at customs seemed a little skeptical of my luggage-less travel, but after telling him that i was just traveling around before heading back to the US for work, he gave me a nod and waved me on through.
Again, Korean Air Check-in Guy, you just proved yourself to be clueless and annoying.  Thank you.

But yes, i'm back, after a train-ride that took about as long as the flight from Korea.  For serious.  Visa is good til October but i should hopefully have my work visa by then, which means an actual job that pays!  :D
And i have a lot more pictures of Korea here if you are interested in looking!


Gina said...

Yummm Taco Bell bean burritos are my fave. That's what we need here in Japan. : ( Taco Bell. ; )

That Korean Air check-in guy, sounded like a complete douche bag. Sorry to say it. But ughhh! And they confiscated your toothpaste and face lotion? Could you check them, or was there no time so they basically were thrown? : ( And YES and hallelujah...what you said about the toothpaste.

One time, about 2 years after the 9/11 thing. Noboru and I were in...Detroit or...someplace. I forget. There was a big plastic box with things inside show casing what we could not board with. Noboru and I were quietly talking amongst ourselves..; or yes that's right. or oh and no sprays etc. Anyway....I said to Noboru...I wonder why tothpaste is banned though? especially because with going all the way to Japan, you know we'll all end up with funk mouth breath (it was an honest question). Just then, these 2 ladies chimed in uninvited and out of nowhere and entered our private conversation. And said...."because liquids are not allowed." Was I talking to them? Was I? huh, huh, huh? : ) Not really wanting to get in a face off...but just said....yes but it's a paste...not a liquid. Walked off and told Noboru...did they just enter our conversation? Scrunched up my face and kept walking. Some people just have no manners. : )

I'm sory you had a meat meal versus a meatless one. That guy sounded like a real pill. : (

On a happy note...I think your trip rocked. Minus the leaving the airport and heading back to Japan part. : )

-phx- said...

I agree- Japan definitely needs Taco Bell! That would make me very happy :)

They told me i could check in my bag.. i did have a little time to go back to check it in, but all i had was my backpack with my clothes, toiletries, and my laptop. I didn't want to check it in and risk them losing it or damaging my laptop, so i just told them "Fine, chuck it." Wasn't happy about that tho!

Haha, and the nerve of those ladies! It's true, some people just don't have any manners.

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