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Archive for September, 2010

Seoul, Incheon Airport,  August 28th around 8am.

Of course.

The airport was bright, spotless, welcoming, design, high-tech… Quite a few Samsung HD wide screens here and there (broadcasting Star King and others hugely popular talk shows) as well as computers with free internet access, and more.

Going through custom was a breeze and the luggages were delivered in no time.

My guide was (eagerly) waiting for me on the other side, we changed some hard earned Euro into Won (it feels awesome to give 600€ and get back almost 1 Million Won by the way !) and stepped out of the airport.

Wow.

That was a thermal shock.

It probably was 30 degrees Celsius outside, but the humidity was so intense it was like breathing water. If you’ve ever been to the hammam, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The body gets used to it quite quickly though, and in 24h you don’t even notice the humidity anymore.

Now, what about the boys ?

Yes.

I’m coming to that.

You see, I did my homework.

It’s enough going to Korea without any language, I wasn’t going to get there without watching a few dramas and downloading a couple of albums.

(Yes. That’s the understatement of the year.)

I knew about the Idols, those singers, dancers, actors, models, MC whom you can see everywhere in Asia.

Well, what I didn’t know is that they do mean EVERYWHERE.

So, stepping out of the airport to catch a bus to Seoul, I was met by that nice, big poster for Lotte Duty Free on most buses.

On this add: Big Bang, DBSK, Pi and a few others.

Sure, that’s not unusual.

When you land in Dublin, you must be blind to not see Westlife everywhere.

They don’t put themselves on coffee cups though…

And you wouldn’t see them in every single station of the subway, nor every wagon of every train, giving infos and advice on security. (Yes, I am fully aware that there is no subway in Dublin. Make that the Dart or the Luas and we’re even ).

And the list goes on…

But it’s not only about pictures.

Seoul is full of noise, music and huge screens with lots of adds and MV.

Guess what ?

Idols again.

But when it comes to music Taeyang ruled over Seoul.

He had just released his new album “Solar” and you couldn’t step in the street without hearing one of his songs.

I’ll come back to Kmusic later on, but just to give you an idea…

Funnily enough, it’s actually comforting to see so many well known faces in a foreign and far away country…

I didn’t take that many pictures of those Idols things but they really are everywhere, promoting everything you can think of, from make up, to travels,  cars, watches, clothes, food, drinks, fridges (yes, at some stage you actually want to be a fridge !), phones and above all… Korea !

Last video of the day. Super Junior and SNSD 2009 campaign for Seoul tourism.

Enjoy !

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Day One: Escape

Paris, aeroport Charles de Gaulle, August 27th 2010 around 11am.

Well,

I was more than on time.

When you live in Paris, and need to catch a plane to the other side of the earth, you learn fast not to trust the subway…*sweet memories of an Eurostar that I caught just on time, thank to a really helpful British custom officer, and nearly missed thank to the subway’s delay and a grumpy French custom officer*

I had planned ahead and arrived at the airport before 10am for my 1.30pm flight.

So far so good.

But after more than an hour, waiting for my flight to appear on the departure board, I became suspicious. Something was up.

I caught a nice airport lady and asked her what she thought about it. Very kindly she directed me to the appropriate check-in area.

The place was packed and the check-in had been opened for the past hour. Right.

Turned out this was a “self service check-in”.

Basically, you had to queue for about 7-8 minutes to access one of the 2 machines (yes, the 3rd was broken. That’s France you know.), enter you flight details, scan your passport, swipe your credit card and wait for the machine to tell you that you were not registered and needed to queue 15 more minutes to check-in with a real human being. Right.

Good thing I was on time to begin with !

I was more amused than annoyed, but some of my Korean fellow passengers were obviously really confused by such a bad organization.

The check-in went smoothly. My suitcase was rather light… 6kg.

My flight was Korean Air but operated by Air France. I didn’t think that would have an impact on quality… I was wrong.

The plane and the crew were Air France. There only was 1 Korean Air Hostess, but so pretty in her hanbok that I forgot that the plane was dirty and cold for a while.

I won’t go over every single bad details of that flight. It’s enough to say that after about 1h30 my body was aching like when you sit on a stone for too long. I’ve been on a few flights those past 3 years, this one had to be the most uncomfortable ! Yes. Ryanair is better.

The inflight video was ridiculous. Most movies were more than 5 years old, and some far more than that. And about quality… forget it.

Not a single asian movie, and of course, only european subtitles.

Anyway.

We landed safely in Seoul, which is the most important ^_^ .

That’s when the real journey began…

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