Total long distance weblog coming at you from a hotel PC in Seoul.
Today is day three of our trip, or day two depending on your time zone, I suppose. We're already acclimated to Korea time, which was neatly accomplished by not sleeping much on the flight, then getting a massive energy boost when the third plane flight for the night was cancelled. Back on EDT, I'd guess we were up for a day and a half total.
Flight 1: Baltimore to Detroit. Detroit must be the airline's hub world, because it seems such an unlikely stopoff point otherwise. While waiting, I played some 2P DS stuff with a young lad on his way to his grandparents'. He saw me with the DS out (playing Kirby) and approached me with a "excuse me, want to play two player?" We did some Mario64, Yoshi Touch N Go, and even the Ping-Pong dealie in WarioWare Touched. We talked about trying it on the plane - meeting up in PictoChat - but we bailed when the flight crew banned usage of electronic devices that transmit. No one said anything to me about playing it, so I doubt they would have known the difference between single-player action and secret two man multiplayer anyway. Unless there's a button in the cockpit that senses local propriatary wireless networks sprouting up back in coach class.
Flight 2: We had no time at all to hang around Detroit; we had to get right into the line for boarding. Of course, after we boarded, a mega-group of high school students showed up late... after the airline had already given up on them and started giving their seats away. So we had a pretty sizable delay (an hour?) while they sorted all that out. Also, the runway was melting in the heat and it took more time for that to be fixed. I don't know how they did it... probably just threw some 2x4s over the puddle. So we were pretty concerned about missing the Tokyo-Seoul flight.
Of course, on a 12 hour flight you need to occupy your mind with more items than worrying about landing time. We nabbed the seats right in front of the front-projection movie screen, which is not as cool as it sounds. It was out of focus. The extra legroom was nice, however. I didn't watch the movies anyway. Listen to this: feature 1 was Coach Carter, then Racing Stripes, then The Wedding Date. What kind of second-run house crap is that? I alternated between an hour on GBA or DS, then a half hour off, battery power being a concern. Rhon watched the first two movies, then slept through the third. I was actually forced to watch the third because I was all played out by then... so I guess 10 hours must be my Game Boy limit. Debra Messing looked like she had to gain weight for the role. Dermot Mulroaney was weird; I never really believed in the emotional shift he supposedly goes through mid-film.
So far, every flight has personally served Rhonda's vegetarian meal 20 minutes before anybody else gets food... and they did not have me down for similar. I complained the first time (and received somebody else's special order veg supper... Elizabeth Helmig, sorry about that, but I ate it anyway!) but I gave up for the mid-flight snack and breakfast meals. Not really hungry anyway, surprisingly.
As we inched closer to Tokyo, it looked like we would be in a major hustle to make the Seoul connection... which I considered a bummer because I wanted some time to dope around the Tokyo airport and shop. I mean, Tokyo. Three out of five big Joe obsessions were born in Japan, with new ones arriving almost monthly.
We joined the throng at the Seoul flight and met up with another couple on their way to pick up a child with our agency. (Not a surprise; Rhonda had talked to them on the agency message boards.) But while we were exchanging stories and photos, the announcement came that our flight was unfortunately cancelled. Rescheduled for 7am the next day. So, wow, a night in Tokyo!
Of course, the airline handles everything by that point, herding 200+ people through the gates and forms and buses and to the designated hotel. So, in effect, I get the extra time in Tokyo that I wanted... at no cost and with almost no thought invested to it! Rhon was less interested in the stopover, simply because we're not there and we should be. Of course, we're still inside the Narita Airport district, not in awesome otaku-friendly Akihabara or anything like that... but I still enjoyed being there. Toilet: heated seat, plus bidet mode. Television: fascinating. And get this, the hotel seemed to be run by ANA (Japanese airline), which is the very airline that has the Pokemon brand as an official sponsor (painted planes and all that) so the gift shop had a healthy Pokemon section! Bought Clark a Pikachu puppet. Almost forgot: our luggage was already loaded on the cancelled flight, so our night in Tokyo was entirely based on our carryon... no change of clothes. We slept in those awesome Japanese-style robes that sort of look like a kimono.
After being ferried back to Narita, we were sheeped onto the Seoul flight. It was intended to depart at 7am but didn't actually move until 7:45. And, I didn't mention this yet, but our first scheduled meeting with Clark was for 1:30pm. You have to meet several times before you get custody. We figured - and we were accurate - that we would get in to Seoul in plenty of time to make the 1:30 appointment.
Something else I did not mention... we never really finalized our hotel in Korea. We tried to make reservations online, but it was so last minute we were over the Pacific before we could get any confirmation. So we flew into Seoul not really knowing if we had lodging or not, plus we were already a day off from our arrival date anyway! Crazy.
But you know, it's a hotel, and Seoul is a modern city eager for tourists. So we took a bus to our theoretical hotel anyway and hoped for the best. We checked in, and I don't think they had our online reservation at all, but it didn't matter. Even after the delay and everything, we made it to our hotel room with an hour and a half to get ready for our meeting. Also note: our hotel is a ten minute walk down the same street as the agency, so it's an easy, fun walk to get there. We freshened up and went to meet our son.
I'll pick that up next entry. Suffice to say, he is beautiful and wonderful and we can't wait for our second meeting.