Sunday, April 20, 2014

A trip to Seoul - Part 1 ; Leaving the Shire

They say that travels forge youth. I say - it's never too late to travel. When you find that spark - just follow your gut feeling and do it! 

(Easy Reading Guide - 
- Dates are posts taken from my Facebook where i kept a more accurate of my travel
~ Are added memos for this blog entry (were thus entered the day I wrote and published this entry
> indicates the Seoul (South Korea / KST time while the original link is still in Montreal EDT time)

well - the main luggage is up. remains the fight to fill it. Mom will probably have a scene to put in cute clothes and i will have a scene to have in comfortable casual shit i can actually wear.

~ Important memo I should put in is that - even if I am 30 years old, my parents (especially my mother) treats me like a 5 year old child, therefore, she was not (nor was my dad actually - they can't keep a friggin' secret from each other so, best was to keep them both out of this truth) in the knowledge of this whole trip. 

I had told my parents about 2 weeks prior to the trip that I was going for a short less than a week to Detroit for a professional formation on a new software my current job / contract will be launching and using soon. Detroit is about 2 hours flight from Montreal, way less scary than any improbable business trip at the other end of the world where the only Volkswagen related thing I have seen was an old 70's mini van converted into a snack take out counter.  

If they would have known that I go there solely to get a tattoo on top - I don't dare imagine the consequences, actually. Not worth my stress.

well - the main luggage is up. remains the fight to fill it. mom will probably have a scene to put in cute clothes and i will have a scene to have in comfortable casual shit i can actually wear.

~ Remember this is borderline a sport trip. I fly in, get inked, fly out. There is no space fore cute white lace office shirts (not like i wear any at the job anyway! My week day uniform consist of sport shoes, or boots in winter and No i do not care enough to have office shoes to switch into) black pants, some random t shirt no one sees, a scarf of two around the neck to keep me warm and a zipper hoodie. 

I had one day to hang out with my Korean girl friend who helped me book my guest house and my tattoo shop and one day free to roam on my own and I used much time to just enjoy being in my room, taking the vacation's pace. I didn't want to stress and see as much as possible. I wanted to enjoy life around me at their pace.

my dream starts next friday at noon

~ I shared a video that came in my feed via one of my Korean friends (or maybe the tattoo shop's owner - I have a tendency to share his vids)
Mom chatting about what undies i should bring with me -
me - the grey ones are super fine, strong and comfy.
mom - but there are new white ones.
me - grey. comfortable. and who the fuck will know what color underwear i will be wearing ! It's a few days - not a month.

~ Needless to precise; No Man was scheduled to see my undies so, who the fuck cares what color they are ? 

off to bed - it's H minus 5 days. Can you fucking believe it ? I'm not quite.... but then i think of that bed in that guest house and I float on a lil cloud!

~ Every night, almost, I was imagining myself in that other bed, at the far end of my world and I was so happy! I imagined meeting Jun (the guest house contact with whom I made the reservation), transforming the whole thing into a little story where I would just finally meet my real family, having dinner with the staff and enjoying the Korean life style. 

 flying to Asia for a tattoo on the side. yep. 

~ Because that is what the fuck makes me happy. Asia.  (Specifically Korea, Japan and Mongolia but one day I want to travel the Chinese deserts too)

Tomorrow at this time I will be a few thousand miles up in the air in direction of South Korea.
And I'm still as fucking calm as Buddha.
And my luggage is empty too but I know what I'm bringing so it's half done.

~ As long as you are mentally prepared, physicality is a mere detail. Throwing in a few clothes and a few necessities can be done in a blink. 

Discovered this song 3 years ago about when i was higher in my Shaun White snowboard for PS3 phase but I wasn't ready for a come back into Kpop and i found there wasn't enough snowboard in the clip ^^; nice song but i was into another passion then -- tonight it feels so different.
i will leave this here until i have an update from the song's title location 

~  I had this snowboard craze at some point some years back. I always liked snowboard because it looked dangerous and reserved for a subgroup of people versus ski which is practiced by toddles to retirees. Going down the slopes at a high speed, with some considerable chances of breaking a part of the body if one wasn't skilled or careful enough appealed to me. Living life dangerously and let Fate decide.

Ladies and gentlemen,
mesdemoiselles, madames et messieurs
hölgyem es uraim,
I am in the bus to the airport
Je suis dans le bus vers l'aéroport
A buszban vagyok a repülotérfele.

~ I took the 179 L'Acadie down to Sauvé where I hopped in the 121 Côte Vertu which took me to the metro of the same name, from which I rolled down to Lionel-Groulx station where I got myself a ticket for the 747 Express to the Airport (which has WiFi in it) and dropped me at the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau airport. 

I got there some time passed 8am and decided to sat down on one of those really comfy couches in the main entrance, towards the international departures. 

I read a lil my guide (Lonely Planet ~ Seoul and one of South Korea in general) My flight departed around noon so I thought I'd have time to chill before checking in. 

Up until 10:15 I was pretty relaxed and not worrying that my flight didn't yet appear on the screen announcing departures but when I re-checked my E-Ticket for the 100th time (minimum) and the departure announced at 12:22 I was starting to be lightly concerned so I took my stuff and decided to walk around and check bigger boards or at at least inquire. 

I first headed in the International departures zone and asked at the information counter where I should go. I was directed to the far end from where I originally came from - the U.S.A departures from there. I found this a little weird since the information clerk said a number that was logically higher or smaller than the numbers growing or diminishing in that direction but after asking a second clerk, i was still pointed in that direction so I trusted them and walked there. 

I ended up being in the right zone and saw Delta check in desks so I decided to wobble around and see if I could check in - matter of fact, they started at 9 o'clock already. 

I was specified that my luggage would go straight to Seoul and the check in attendant gave me a card (long trip = miles points in the Delta Sky Club ... thingie ... and since I do plan many more flights back there - why not get some advantages down the road ?)

I was then guided to the customs. And the U.S. Customs do not kid with security.

Rammstein - Stripped. 'Cause you have to take off yer shoes and jacket and everything. 

~ I wasn't expecting this in this current state of calm and peace but at the checking for personal carry on and stuff, they ask everyone to take off the shoes to pass through the X-Ray machine. I had to take off my jacket too, my two scarves (rather keep my neck warm so i am constantly in a warm snug cloud) and a woman had to check my hair clip once I passed the X-Ray scanning door (hands up in the air - like wow - I didn't remember it was this hardcore when I traveled to Ireland or back home, but I didn't have to to cross to the U.S. borders. Well, security of a nation is a great pretext to show proudly my t shirt "I love Korean Boys" and I regret nothing.

Gossip - Move in the right direction because one step closer , I'm feeling fine!

~ Once passed the X-Ray part I felt one step happier if I can use this expression. I was literally floating to the customs desks line up.  

Currently waiting in the waiting area. 

Adventure so far. Zen a Buddha. I seriously expect a fucking heart attack upon landing in Korea.

The U.S. agent who checked me was so cool! He lived in Korea a long time ago, but was born in Florida and lived in Alaska so he can enjoy both our Canadian winters and summers. He even recommended me a good kimchi joint on Ste-Catherine almost in front of college LaSalle.
When shit aligns. I swear. 

And he was cute! Late 50's, salt and pepper hair and beard, rectangular glasses. Charming man all in all with a nice voice and a casual tone I really liked.

~ The agent at the customs: I was mostly impressed by his badges and stuff - first time encountering a real life in the flesh "American" so to speak. We chatted about how he liked Canadian winters and he had a chuckle; been living and working in Alaska so he could handle local weather, and since he was born in Florida, he could also handle Canadian summers. And the lucky man had lived 5 years or more in Seoul, South Korea for his work way back then! He even suggested me a good Korean restaurant on Ste-Catherine street, sort of in front of LaSalle college! What are the odds I get a Customs agent who had the Korean connection! 

In the said waiting area, I couldn't but be just a bit slightly desperate for a WiFi connection which triggered a rather cute and funny moment. I was seated next to a man also in his late 40's writing an email on his laptop so I assumed there was Wi-Fi but I wanted to be sure so I asked "Is there Wee-Fee around here?" and he didn't get me ... I repeated that a good 4-5 times and he finally clicked "You mean Wai-Fai." and yeah there was. I apologized and said that in french we say "wee-fee". Got in on my phone and opened Trillian to chat with my bestie to relax and get some comfort because even if I was mostly zen and confident, a familiar presence was most welcomed! My sister couldn't come with me because that Friday my niece had a pedagogical day. 

Taken from Trillian Chat with my Bestie - April 4 2014

Emi: Dreamed of you last night. It comforted me. You were in the bus with me to the airport and was just such a soothing presence. Then we were in Russia (because you mentioned Russian swearing) and there was this man cutting a frozen tree covered in snow. It was night. You hugged another girl who was also going away and then me and you went back on the bus while I headed to the airport.

Emi: It is 11:24 and I am in the last waiting area before boarding

Emi: had a funny moment with the man next to me.I had to ask 4-5 times wee fee ... and he clicked wai fai

Bestie: thought I'd almost literally fly with you hehe :D

Emi: Hehehe you are

Emi: I have brought Lina's hat with me

Bestie: I wondered for a sec if my presence would either be distracting or if it would have a positive effect

Bestie: she'll die happy when she hears of that :D

Emi: I just updated Facebook with the check in at the US boarder bit

Bestie: *goes see*

Emi: and first mistake here haha I got too excited (yet look like Buddha) and line up in the line boarding to New York ~ oupsies

Bestie: xD

Emi: your presence would have a most soothing effect!!

Bestie: just imagine me by your side :D

Bestie: I'm here for as long as you need me

Emi:  Same door 88 (love that numerology) and on my card it says boarding time 11:25

Emi: There is the seat to my right free

Bestie: epic o.O

Emi:  60037 was the flight just before ours
Emi:  I swear

Emi: I did have some minor stress moments I admit 


Emi:  Yup yup they are prepping! !

Emi:  If the plane has no waiifaii I will try from Detroit in about 2 hours

Bestie: ;)

Bestie: (hug)

Bestie: I'll leave trill open

Emi:  (hug)

Emi: me too of course - thanks

Emi: This is such a weird feeling like both completely normal and totally unknown

Emi:  Ahhhh voila

Emi: my craft has landed - ppl are getting off in 5 mins we are boarding

Bestie: *fix reads "air corn" and imagines sybi popping corn with a white frying pan with red and blue stripes*

Emi: ^^; I took a pic of them last night

Emi: Because I realized that they were the things I would the most miss during these 4 days

Emi: lmao

Bestie: :D

Bestie: xD

Emi: you I have access to you so it's awesome

Bestie: ;)

Emi:  But the puffies are on their couch in my room far away from me

Emi: I see a captain

Emi:  Casual as fuck he has seen flight hours like I have seen puffy doodles

Bestie: rofl

Emi: seriously next time I fly to Japan for example I sneak the family in my carry on luggage

Bestie: :) you have to

Emi: ^-^ I had spent weeks imagining this band now its real and I'm so relaxed

Bestie: :D

Emi: yet I feel like Rapunzel stepping out of her window

Bestie: I feel really happy for you ^___^

Emi: about to loop the hair and slide down

Emi: zone 1 lined up

Emi: I am zone 3 cheap stuff

Bestie: *fix imagines marching military music*

Emi:  Thank youuu

Bestie: I'm doing fine

One step closer every day at a time

I won't lose my mind, lose my mind, uh-uh


Bestie: Move in the right direction

Bestie: x)

Session Close (Emi): Fri Apr 04 20:32:09 2014 0300

Taken from Writer  -  (where I kept some basic info and thoughts)

Fight 3747 took off at 12:41, gained cruising speed about 5 minutes later.
I am seated next to a francophone young woman about my age or a few years older traveling to Saint Louis. 

~ The Craft is really small and even if my ticket says Zone 3, I am actually seated in the first third of the craft, aisle side. 

Snacks were served - Coca-Cola and I picked biscoff cookies. Omgosh! They are so friggin yummy!! They are glorious. If Syb was real we'd have biscoff nights while watching sappy Korean movies or American alien war ones. 

~ Seriously those were way better than expected. 

The ear business. Almost none! I feel like inserting a swearing sauced exclamation to put emphasis but y'all get me. I chewed gum and still relaxed as fuck - maybe that helps ? 

~ Actually none, to be completely honest. I did feel when the plane took off and changed heights a few times until reaching cruise height but seriously it was so minimal that I barely didn't notice having any, compared to previous experiences where my ears were clogged to a point where I could barely hear the chit chat around in the plane.

On one side I cannot believe I am actually done this. My mom would so kill me. (Insert Rapunzel's internal conflict exteriorized in that meadow scene from Tangled.) Except I feel maybe 1/4 of the guilt she felt. After this, I will have absolutely no fear and issues cleaning my life and moving on and moving out. I needed this step to prove myself a few things. Assembling a small figurine with Japanese instructions and guiding images was a nice challenge and I am still proud of that achievement. But it's time to take the challenge further. 

I'll be ready to assemble the Konica Minolta bike after this and maybe more models.

At Detroit airport in line to embark on flight DLl159 Incheon Seoul

~ I basically had the time to land, get off the plane, spot the Delta counter and ask where I needed to go next to check in my next flight. The Afro-American woman at the counter had the cutest accent ever! 
From a tiny almost cramped small carrier to a friggin' obese whale of two floors I beg yer kind pardon ladies and even kinder gentlemen. Like holy-fuck-Jesus-have-mercy.

In the small plane I was seated in zone 3 which surprisingly was up front in the first section even before the middle. In this big one I am in seat 55G which is beyond past the middle towards the end. 

It's immense. 

There is a meal and a snack, TV screen with movies and games and music and a truckload of Koreans and westerners. I am seated at the open end of the middle row (which has 4 seats) corridor side, two empty seats to my left side and the next aisle seat hosts a woman in her 40's from mixed origins, traveling with 3-4 male friends spread all around, majority to her left, two female friends didn't make it, and one next to my right side who is a French Canadian like me... sort of feels reassuring.

This plane is like 3 planes mushed into one!

3:55pm - The reality of this adventure just hit me now, as the plane is gently rolling to it's final lane for take off. America was yet unreal because so close to home. I feel like Rapunzel now - halfway down the tower - almost hesitant but determined. It only takes that small spark, that small decision ... or rather, that infinite choice to commit to a decision. Because we can always say no at the last minute and go back home where it's safe and sound and we know where every grain of dust lies.

 ~ Reality in this case is like a sort of a gripping sensation around the heart and the brain, like an undeniable truth which tastes different. Like being faced with something that cannot be denied, unseen, unknown, undone. Standing on the edge of a precipice and knowing that falling down will actually bring you to life, rather than kill you. It's both a bit scary because you are used to your dead state and it's comforting to be numb and sleeping but ultimately, waking up is a natural needed process.

4pm sharp - The beast has started its course. You can feel its weight as the whole thing shakes a bit, rolling and taking speed.  

4:01pm We have taken off. Adjusting height in the air - going up - going down - trying to make transitions smooth as possible. 

~ I am safely snug in my seat, belt fastened, blanket on my lap down to my feet, phone in my hand, headset installed and plugged in to hear the on board announcements and later to enjoy a good movie.

Among the vast movie selection available, they have August: Osage county. Omfg. Fangirling crazy inside !! I will watch this in English then Korean with Chinese subs. They also have Frozen, Enders game and the Hobbit. The only question is ... omg do I bother with English ?

It is a 12 hour flight I haz time ya know.

~  Matter of fact, I actually kept it traditional and watched August: Osage County in standard English because I know the script by heart and it felt comforting to hear those familiar voices, accents, words.

4:21 Again I am surprised. No ear clogging to report. Zen as fuck. And cherry on the sundae - a comfort movie. I have seen August:Osage County non stop during the last month. On weekends from 9am to 12am (midnight) from 5-6 to 9-10 on week days. It's a bit of a comfort trace of my bestie and since it's one of those rare movies we both seen a few times, we incorporate movie dialogue and styles in our everyday chat and it's a private thing between just him and me. 

It's comforting to hear that intro song. I have grown attached to it.

Continuation is a comfort.

~ Especially in the face of change. 

I realized not so long ago that during my last trip back home, they played Beastly and I was a little amused and content by the slight allusion to Korea but it was no biggie back then. (Kyle/Hunter was watching Korean television and I think that Lizzy was listening to Kpop on her iPod during a walking scene by night). Korea was just a distant misty adjective to qualify Sabik (my beloved not yet owned (still not owned) BJD doll who was a real man in my mind and heart. Yes I loved an idea for over 4 years minimum. Still do. Somewhere deep in my heart he still lingers.) 

It's kinda funny how it hits you randomly from time to time. One moment you just enjoy a comfortable seat watching a movie, the next moment you you realize you are a crazy ass human doing a half random batcrazy shit trip to the other side of the world to get a tattoo on top of all things. Right now the fact that I am being served by a Korean flight attendant in her early or mid 40's or 50's is the trigger for this sudden realization.

~ It's almost like being in the Matrix and having these glimpses of reality that there is something more laying beyond this one current level of consciousness. You are seated in a plane's comfy seat and that is all fine and dandy but then all of a sudden, you are elsewhere with Morpheus handing you a plastic cup of Coca-Cola with ice. 

I am seriously left to wonder if emotions don't play a role, as ridiculously small as it may be, in this whole ear clogging business during flights. I mean absolutely nothing this time. NOTHING. Not even the hints of the shadow of a rat's tail to use this expression.  Still pretty relaxed,  enjoying the present moment,  the seat is comfortable,  I like the aisle seat and to have the one to my left empty. I randomly think of Jun from Guest house B and Shin who will do my tattoo and I can't but smile and imagine the next adventure. 


~ Obviously, when the first meal was served I jumped on the Korean option! I was especially curious about this bulgogi style beef because I would have to meet Shin in front of such a restaurant in Hongdae, in Seoul. 

Recuperating from this, I am left with a single question. Where do I apply to have long flights from the western world to Asia?  Even the airplane food is good! The flight attendants are so sweet and adorable!  The seats are comfortable, the entertainment is good... can this flight last for ever?

And then again a sudden spark of realization. 

I travel alone. 


I don't know how to feel about this angle.

Not just yet.

It is 6:22pm we all had the first meal, it was picked up, tea and beverages were offered and served again and the end credits song is comforting me once more "I'm dreaming the last mile home" and I realize all too ... with a sense of acute reality that since I first heard this song,  I had associated it with this trip and when I would finally lay down on the traditional bed in my room at Guest House B. 

Dreamin' on ... 

Dreamin' on the last mile home.
~ With some time, and a gentle pull back, I wonder if I haven't dreamed this last mile home since I came across Sabik and his half Korean heritage. (The character I built him had an Irish mother and a Korean father). I had kept that idea in my heart and my head for years because he appeased me, comforted me and made me feel comfortable and somewhat at home in his world. (His world was mostly the oceans, shallow waters or deep bottom of the ocean secret places, a distant planet where only night and winter reigned, a traditional Japanese styled home with a huge garden with flowers, Koi fish ponds and a thing he built with his father to allow the fish to move from one pond to  the next) ... all this to say : I felt home with him. Even if he was just an idea. 

7:06pm my back actually starts to hurt a little. I almost welcome this with half a gratitude. I am human after all ^^;

~ I think at this point I actually had a first stand up since boarding and had a small trip to the bathroom to stretch a bit.

And Considering that I was awake since that day's  5am, it is more than a 12 hours cycle being awake.


Is it just me or the whole dwarfs in barrels running down the river Kwai elf style battling orcs Dante's inferno style is much more of a video game sequence than a movie .... bonus points for the subtle love triangle. She-Elf thinks dwarf is cute which ticks off He-Elf Legolas the almighty invincible motherfucker who's face I can't stand I'm sorry. 

~ Or was that Legolas' father actually ? He still got on my nerves. Massively. Mr. Fucking Unbearably Fucking Perfect. Go Break a Nail!

7:27pm watching Desolation of Smaug just wishing to be in that bed in Seoul having my first night and what dreams I might have.

~ I have to admit this movie sort of got on my nerves with it's evident overload of CG art. It looked too fake at too many places. The action was too jam-packed too. I do understand it's an action adventure movie but still - they could have toned that a bit and give more balance to quiet scenes like in the first chapters of the saga that were presented to us in The Lord of the Rings.

8:04pm This timeless time is fascinating. Outside the windows is clear day with bright sunlight,  but most of the shades are pulled down to have an illusion of evening. I feel a bit sleepy myself but I want to finish this movie before sleeping.

Okay... seriously ... how long is this movie ?

8:32pm  Still hanging. But Christ this movie is long and too much CG work. Like peeps-chill with the computer fuck. The original Lord of the Rings felt much more real and simply more human. Gandalf's hat feels and looks fake like a theater prop. Other things are a bit too carricatural. 

~ This movie just felt too fake to me. 

9:05pm and this is how you gold plate a dragon. Predictable. I'm surprised he's still alive. Ooooh gold showers!

And how come there is no more fan art of the dwarf and she-elf ? I ask again.

~ I had grown attached to that potential odd couple. 

9:16pm Music selection sucks. I cannot believe they have no Kpop on a flight to Korea. So I am watching Frozen in Japanese with Chinese subs. ' Cause yeah, at default of understanding what they say, I'll be sure to grasp the subs. But - Omgoshies the cuteness!!

~ If you didn't get the hint, I was completely sarcastic there. 

10:46pm - My back is officially sore! But I have reached a new level of endurance in this field. Snack is served. I was napping and I finally - fucking finally - spontaneously said "kamsahamnida" to my serving flight attendant instead of "thank you". She bowed her head lightly and smiled hugely!  I think she appreciated ^^. And pray for me - I am about to try to eat a banana since ... some time in 1991.

~ I felt a bit silly and stupid for spontaneously speaking English when I had learned and practiced my accent to say hi and thank you in Korean and not being able to use them. 


Holyfuck and I'm not apologizing this time. They have Cold eyes! With T.O.P ! And another one called Blood and Ties and two other Chinese titles.


Kiddo actually fits in the locker. How awesome!  And hilarious.  Movie - code name: Cold eyes - starts with a bang. A very carefully planned bang. And then it moves down south with some very well planned humor. No sight of the Choi Top yet

This is officially not the cold eyes I was expecting. No Top and no mansun rain. Bit it's an epic spy movie! Humor, action, I loove the camera work!  Great play with angles,  light, spins and short focus rapidly changing in rhe various subjects at hand. This is a top notch spy movie!! And for the record it is 12:17am (midnight)


 Holyshit. Squirrel is down. Shadow severely wounded him at the neck, right side. He's bleeding out.

._. Squirrel is no more. Died in service.

12:30am (came back from lavatory walk and stretch) I cannot believe I am doing this for a tattoo. I suddenly realize the full blown craziness of this journey. And if you give me 5 more seconds, I'll just sink in my seat, concentrate on the movie and as say the French "Ben basta! Quoi. On vit qu'une fois bordel!" (Which roughly translates to "fuck all - we only live once damnit". In my very technical point of view that is precisely "we are conscious of one life at a time" not like as we have the ability to remember dreams from 5 or 20 years ago. 

~ These pesky little realizations. They were odd, funny, scary - all at the same time. 

12:35am - I should be napping with Kpop but omg this movie. Piglet saw Shadow. It's almost personal. Shadow,  on top orchestrating, managing and roof top observing, guiding and leading bank robberies has eliminated Squirrel. In the world of spies, you don't touch a team's any player. You don't.

12:55am attempting nap number 2.

To Be Continued

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