Arriving at the Incheon International Airport

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The flight from Manila to Incheon, South Korea is approximately 4 hours. There was a slight delay in our flight because the plane arrived late. I was very concerned about time because my research led me to believe that the last trip of the bus I need to take to my hostel is at 10PM. My flight was set to arrive at 8:55PM Korea time and I have no idea how long immigration, customs and baggage claim will take. I must be f*cked.

Fortunately - and to my surprise - everything went smoothly. Upon landing, we went to the passenger terminal which I initially thought was the train station. It is one long train coach that takes the passengers to the other side of the airport where we claimed our bags. But before that, there was the line at the immigration department. I think I said a silent prayer after reading the sad ordeal of a fellow blogger in Bali, Indonesia. I said please don't let some f***** put drugs in my bag or pocket.

When it was my turn, I was a bit nervous. The immigration just asked how many days I will be staying in Korea and where I will be staying. One sweet smile and then we're done. Next is customs - we just basically had to give this guy a signed form which was distributed at the plane. I got my bag and I ran to the exit. It was almost 10PM and I was going to miss the last bus trip to Hyewah (location of my hostel).

When I got to the arrival area, a couple of Korean cab drivers offered to drive me to the hostel. I politely said no as I was looking for the bus ticket counter. The driver was pretty persistent. I had the option to tell him to bug off but I'm the tourist so I said 'No, I'm going to take the train.' His reply was 'Train? Last trip left earlier.'

I left him after I whispered OH SH*T!!!

I got lost inside the airport. I was like, great way to start a vacation! I'm lost already who knows how lost I will be out there. I finally took out the directions sent to me by the hostel owner himself and took a deep breath. I got this. I followed his directions, looked for the  bus stop number indicated on the email and found it  just outside Exit 12.

As I walked out of the airport, a cold breeze welcomed me. I really am in KOREA! It's cold but not as cold as it is during winter (just 19 degrees celcius). But it's perfect! When the bus arrived, I was kinda disappointed that I was the only Filipino and the driver only speaks Korean. Good thing he has a recording that states every stop in both Korean and English. That's when I knew I will be alright.

I sat beside a nice looking gentleman. In Manila, you'd probably call him a yuppie. He helped me find my stop which is somewhere near the Sungkungkwan University. I am impressed with the hostel owner. His directions were very precise! I had absolutely no trouble looking for the place. It's not as fabulous as you may think but it's quite peaceful - just full of college kids (cute ones) during the day so it's kinda busy. Other than that, it's perfect.

I was welcomed by a young Korean guy who works at the hostel during the night. Not sure if he's a relative of the owner or he just works here part time. I paid $40 per night - which is very, VERY reasonable considering the place was good enough for me. It has everything I need: internet LAN, cable TV, stove (which I don't intend to use FYI), clean bathroom and a refrigerator. I was lucky that he speaks English but this morning I met someone else who speaks better English than he does. See, the language barrier they talk a lot about on TV is really bullsh*t if you ask me.

I finished my first night by drinking at the bar which is also owned by the hostel. I get one free beer per night. Great! Inside, there were more Korean college kids, three Americans who were playing pool, and a very nice Korean bartender who gave me directions on how to go to MyeongDong, my next destination.

Night #1 is A-Ok!

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