The Journey—Part 2
So that last entry was a bit too long. I'll try to only highlight significant points from now on.
After less than two hours, the little plane skidded to a halt in the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. Jasmine hurried off as soon as the stewardess allowed us to unbuckle our seat belts. She stood in a jumble of passengers as they took turns taking back their carry-ons. As soon as the tunnel opened out into the C-side of the terminal, Jazz located a restroom. It was fairly clean.
Upon exiting, Jazz found a terminal map and looked for A52, the gate that would take her to Seoul in four hours. She would have to continue walking right down the hall until she encountered a walkway of some sort that intersected the A-terminal side. Jazz scurried on her way.
There were conveyor belts down the middle of the way that allowed people "in a hurry" to get to their gate faster, but Jazz felt more comfortable using her own leg power on the plain, non-moving floor. Last thing she needed was to trip getting on and off. The intersecting passage to A was longer than it looked. Two conveyor belts going in opposite directions from each other lined the edges like the staccato lines on a road. It look ridiculous to have to step on and off the belt every hundred feet or so. The walls were backlit like a lava lamp and changed colors as well. An escalator led her up and out. When she rounded the corner, Jazz noticed she had passed beneath dozens of planes and that Terminal A had over 170 gates. Ri-freaking-diculous.
She trekked down the hall way noting all the shops, restrooms, officers, etc. Jazz sat down briefly at Gate 52 before calling her mom to let her know she was alive. A few minutes later, she went in search of real food. She had four hours to kill after all. Another look at a directory showed her that a Taco Bell was further down the hall near the 70s terminals. When she finally made it down there, it didn't look open, so she settled for a sub at some place. It was $7.50 for a 9-inch BLT sub. Crazy! For some reason, they had packed it in a to-go carton. Shouldn't subs be wrapped in paper? Whatev's...
Back at the gate, arranged my laptop messenger bag, long trench coat, and carry-on between my feet and on the empty seat beside me. I proceeded to open my sub carton to this sight:
Seriously? What is this? Do they not know how to stuff a sub? This is why it should be wrapped, not chucked into a styrofoam carton! Either way, Jazz managed to eat half of it before the weird salty ham got to her. She'd forgotten to ask for none of it. Jazz wrapped the last half as well as she could and put it back in the carton for later. The next few hours passed in a slow blur of reading on her Kindle, looking out the glass wall, looking at her ticket, and people watching, especially eyeing a Korean mother play with her few-weeks-old baby.
The boarding took forever. The line was super long and only two Delta attendants were letting people through, but Jazz was one of the fast ones in line. Getting on the plane was a different story. The plane had a short business class section that pissed Jazz off with all of the leg room in their personal pods. The economy section and three rows of three seats. Jasmine was in the back on the left side of the plane. People were shoving their carry-ons in the wrong spot (bringing more than they should have), standing in the aisle letting people into their seats, stewardesses were sheperding them out of the way. The spot for Jazz's carry-on was filled up because the teenage jerks across the aisle shoved their stuff in it, so Jazz had to walk to the very last compartment.
To her regret, Jasmine's row had two other occupants, but she was lucky enough to have the end seat, or so she thought. The men kept needing to get up throughout the whole 17-hour flight, and the man beside her smelled like meat and didn't know how to keep his pillow on his side of the seat crack. All in all, the flight was so mind-numbly boring and leg-cramping, that Jazz blanked out until the plane had to make an emergency stop in Anchorage, Alaska to drop off a seriously ill passenger and to gas up. Alaska was beautifully unreal from the window, but Jasmine wasn't inclined to test the temperature. The flight resumed.
They landed in Seoul around 7PM on February 27, more than two hours late. Jazz hoped her Ewha buddy would still be waiting. Sad thing was, all of the signs were in Korean, except one or two words! Jazz tried to follow the crowd until her bladder demanded attention. By the time she got out, everyone was gone. Jasmine did her best following the signs and escalators until she caught up with the flight crew and a lady she remember seeing on the plane. They group made it to a tunnel, a shuttle train took them to Customs, and then Baggage Claim.
Customs was unnerving because the men ushering the people in line didn't seem to speak English and looked kind of annoyed. Jazz just about had an anime-like nosebleed when she saw the man who would be doing the Customs procedure for me. He was gorgeous, but he didn't speak English much, but he did all of the gesturing and bowing. She was sad to leave him sitting there. Down yet another escalator, Jasmine met up with her plane-mates. It was five minutes before her 30-pound suitcase rounded the bend and another five before she finally escaped the labyrinth of the Incheon airport. It was almost 8PM, but her Ewha buddy was still waiting, thank God!