Hello and Konnichiwa!
The airplane ride in any journey can be a tense one or it can be a relaxing and exciting one! For me, it was a bit of both because it was a very long flight that we spent most of it flying over Russia to just arrive in South Korea before boarding our second flight. If I could give any advice to anyone on a long haul flight, try to get up and move about every now and then, the longest should be 2 hours really before your legs get too stiff, even if it’s just to do a stretch or two or going to the toilet, have a small walk…you’d feel awful afterwards otherwise! Easier said than done when the flight is full, difficult to keep your balance when your wearing slippers and air hostesses are constantly bringing drinks and meals all the time, it was nice but difficult to get any sleep as I was offered a drink every 20 minutes! Good excuse to go to the toilet but I was exhausted by the end of it all, I think I had 2 hours sleep the entire flight!
Now being Autistic, this wasn’t very good for me. I was surrounded by many people that I did not know and were all being rather noisy and I know that’s just how a plane is but I had never had to deal with it for this long before in my life so it was a new challenge to remain calm. I assumed that I was going to be asleep for most of it but alas, it was not to be. Everyone was friendly, don’t get me wrong but I just don’t do well in confined spaces for so long, I need to get outside at some point. Thankfully, my wife was there for me…when she wasn’t falling asleep herself! She got loads more sleep than I did on this journey, believe me!
I had never had to board multiple planes to get anywhere before so it was all intriguing to see how it all would go, needless to say…it’s not something I will be looking to do again if I can avoid it. We arrived into Incheon Airport in the morning UK time which was late afternoon Korea Time which was hard to get used to right away to be honest but I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling jet lagged at all after all that flying. We were to stay here for 3 hours and this was supposed to be a good time to stretch our legs after being sat on the plane for so long…but things didn’t turn out that way at all and I’ll tell you why right now!
- The Currency- We didn’t have any South Korean Currency or Won as it is called so we felt a little bit stuck for things to do for the 3 hours. We just couldn’t understood what it was worth, like so many notes equal one or something and it was so confusing and not many people spoke much English so we felt stuck but one person spoke enough to tell us that Yen was accepted. Thankfully, they took Japanese Yen or I would have gone crazy from boredom as there wasn’t much to look at that took my interest, a few food places but I wasn’t hungry, I ate enough on the plane! We were able to get coffees and apart from that, we just sat by the gate and waited for our plane to be called.
- Spitting- I wasn’t going to say this one because it’s a preference really but as I went to the toilet, I heard the most disgusting noise I have ever heard anywhere on this planet…spitting….every single man that came in made a disgusting noise before spitting constantly into the sink and even toilets and the sound is so nasty and horrible, it made my stomach turn. I’m aware that it’s common here and the norm but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen that in Britain….I didn’t even see it in Japan to be honest, only in Korea…not to moan but that’s not really something I would want to show other people who just want to go to the toilet!
- Food- I’ll admit that this one is petty but we were able to buy a bag of sweets as well, not that we understood what half the stuff was that was on the shelves but we found something, a bag of sweets that were Blueberry and Ginseng flavour which weren’t bad…weren’t good but they weren’t spit out worthy, just horrible after taste worthy but we were bored and anything was worth it as long as it killed some time!
I bought a diary from Harrods in London and decided to describe my time at this airport while I waited for the time to tick away, here is a little bit of what I wrote down
‘Incheon, I believe is a very confusing place indeed. The first thing I noticed was the annoying noise of people spitting in the mens toilets, I wasn’t a huge fan of that! The next was the currency! As we had no Korean Money, we used a Japanese note but were given Korean Change, which I did not understand at all but I guess I do, if only a small amount give them foreign money, they probably won’t always have enough to give as change but it’s still annoying!’
‘1,000=1 Won I believe it was so with the change we had, we tried to buy something with it as we had no use for it, although I kept one coin as I do everywhere I go. 2 hours to go until I can get back on the plane and I’m bored…I wouldn’t mind if I could see South Korea outside of it’s airport but I’m still tired from the lack of sleep from the flight so far so have little patience because of that, I will likely collapse onto that bed once we arrive in Tokyo!’
Ok so maybe I could have been a little bit more prepared as I knew we were stopping off in South Korea but I guess I just assumed that time would go that bit faster, that and I assumed I’d have had some decent sleep on the plane and as well, Japan was all that I could think about the entire time so I had given this part very little thought, fool me I guess but it’s a learning experience!
Why did I include this part of the journey in my series…well this is an adventure and it has ups and downs included in it, It wasn’t terrible and if I was a bit more awake, I might have been more interested in looking about a bit more, maybe I would have bought a souvenir or something but I just wanted to get to Japan, it was only an hour flight away…it was annoying that I was so close yet so far!
Finally, after what felt like forever, our flight was called and we boarded the plane and within 90 minutes we were touching down at Narita Airport. My first time flying across the globe…well most of it and it makes you think just how big the planet we all live on really is, it felt like an eternity to get from Britain to Japan but you then think about how the pioneers of world travel had to struggle through the hardships of trying to circle the globe that would take months whereas I had reached Japan in less than a day and they had to do it without a jumbo jet or without being able to have hot meals and be able to watch movies on a TV, maybe we take travelling for granted sometimes as it is beyond easy to get from A to B when it was more of a challenge a long time ago.
Next time, I talk about our first experiences in Japan and how much of a struggle it was to cope in a faraway land but how the excitement I had was able to combat the struggles and mask them.
See you next time