Well today is the day! The first time traveling abroad by myself… A little nervous but more excited!
I left my school at 11:30 on Friday to make it to catch the bus to make it to the airport on time for my flight. I was at the bus stop in time to catch the 11:38 bus… It never came. So I got on the next bus at 12:00. It’s going to be a close one. In Korea, it’s okay to show up at the airport 20-30 minutes before your flight, but this was going to cut it a little close. Sure enough, I show up at the airport 5 minutes before my flight takes off. Not enough time. The guy at the Tway Airline counter was very helpful and went with me to all the other airline counters to put me on all the priority stand-by lists. I just need to make it to Seoul in time for my 7pm flight to Beijing! There were a few tears shed here….
I texted Eun-mi telling her about the situation. I felt I needed to tell someone. I felt so alone and helpless because of the language barrier. I don’t think the guy from Tway really understood how badly I needed to get on a flight to Seoul ASAP! Eun-mi texted back asking me if she could help at all. I didn’t think she could really do anything that hadn’t already been done and told her that I was just really worried about missing my flight from Seoul to Beijing. She called about 30 minutes later. I explained everything that had been done, and then she said to put her on the phone with one of the Tway employees… I was on the very next flight out! I wish I could know what she says to these people to get me from the bottom of the priority stand-by lists to getting a ticket for the very next flight out…? There is no doubt in my mind that Eun-mi is AWESOME! The woman gave me a ticket and I had 15 minutes to get from the ticket counter to the gate before the plane would pull away. Thank goodness airport security here is nothing like it is in the US otherwise this would’ve been impossible. Took about 7 minutes to get from the ticket counter, through security, and to the line waiting to board the plane.
Towards the end of the flight from Jeju to Gimpo Airport in Seoul, I was talking to a Korean guy sitting next to me. After we got off the plane, he walked me to where the metro was to go from Gimpo Airport to Incheon Airport. He also warned me to be careful… I was wearing a shirt I got from Japan and the South Korean soccer team was about to play the Japanese soccer team in the 2012 London Olympics… BIG rival!
I made it to Incheon Airport with PLENTY of time to spare before my flight to Beijing! Victory!! Thanks Eun-mi!! 🙂
After I landed in Beijing, I went outside to grab a taxi to go to the hostel I’ll be staying in. I followed the line of people and they were all getting in taxis that were driving up. There was a group of guys standing there and seemed kind of sketchy to me. One guy came up to me and told me they can take me to my hostel. I had a bad feeling about this because they didn’t seem to be trying to give rides to anybody else except me (an American girl who appears to be traveling all by herself). I followed my instincts and went back inside. I went to the tourist counter and ordered a car service… Turned out to be 50 RMB cheaper anyways! The ride to Leo’s Hostel was really quiet considering the driver barely spoke any English and I don’t know a single word of Chinese. So it was just a lot of looking out the windows for me and seeing this enormous city!! It took one hour to get from the airport to the hostel, and that’s without any traffic jams and taking the highway pretty much the whole way there.
I got to my hostel. It was on one of those streets that you see in the movies that is “typical” China… I think anyways. While I was getting settled in my room, I met my other roommates. An older man traveling by himself and then two girls from Israel.. Ronni and LaRaz. They were really nice to talk to.
Ahh so happy I made it safely here! I was getting really worried about getting from the airport to the hostel. So I’m very glad that leg of the trip is over!