Wow what a send off. Everything had been accounted for. David reflected that he has done this so many times that he had it perfected. Then Steve, his ride never showed. It seemed like a long wait so David asked a passerby what time it was. He panicked when he discovered it was 6:15am….fifteen minutes late. He left his bag on the sidewalk and ran up to the 5th floor , turned his phone back on and called but only got a message service. He locked everything up and returned to the street, took his bag to the gate and requested the gate keeper to call a taxi. They said 20 minutes before they could get someone. He ordered the taxi and ran out to the Street entrance to meet the ride when he spotted a taxi pull up to the light. He hailed in, crossed the street and off they went. He was not the one David had called but said it was the first time he was ever hailed in Phoenix.
David requested United Air terminal but when arriving he realized it was a UA flight but on US Air so had to circle around to another terminal. This is not going well. He checked his bag and got his boarding pass and ran up to security. but couldn’t find his passport. Thinking it was back at the ticket counter, he started back when someone handed him his passport he found on the floor. Going through the x ray he tripped the alarm, took off his Med Alert necklace and tripped it again, Took off his belt and tripped it again…then the TSA person told him to remove his shoses and he got through. Finally on the plane with one bag checked for Seoul. Hope his connecting flight goes better.
It did. He had to take a transfer bus to a different terminal but US Air had the bus waiting and a staff directing you. I arrived in time to get a cup of coffee to take on with me while we waited for 300 plus passengers to board this monster. I was in a window seat looking out at the wing in seat 42K with a petite Korean lady next to me and a man in the aisle seat. I slept a little but didn’t want to ruin my Jet lag plan. The plane departed Wednesday at 11 am from San Francisco and flew 10 hours through 6 or 7 time zones and crossed the international dateline. I arrived at 9pm San Francisco time but was 3pm Korean time but it was Thursday not Wednesday. I was planning on staying up then get a good nights rest and the next day I would be normal.
I read a lot then the plane landed, immigration and customs no problem so now I needed money. Taking both ATM cards to the machine and both were rejected….another machine and then another. I took the Euros I purchased in Scottsdale for my North Korea tour and cashed them for Won. I needed to pay the hostel in cash and had to have money for food and transport. I found the bus, paid and arrived at my destination. I wanted to get rid of the suitcase and then find a bank. I paid for the room and only had 20000 Won left…around $20. I bought a coffee for 5000 Won got on the internet in my room and called Merrill Lynch and complained about my credit card not working in the ATM. She said it wasn’t a Debit card and next month none of my charges count for Frequent Flyer miles. I explained I had called before I left so this wouldn’t happen and no one said my Credit/Debit card was now only a Credit card and not tied in to Merrill Lynch Brokerage only Bank of America. Now I need to call E-Trade and find out why that didn’t work. The gentleman said it should so I went out to try it again but by this time, the ATM was behind locked doors. I went down the street to another but it was all in Korean and no English so I decided to wait until tomorrow. Wish me luck.
What a difference a day makes. Got up early but the bank was closed so stopped at Dunkin Donuts and used my Credit Card to charge breakfast…coffee, a heart stopping Creme and Jelly filled donut, bottled juice and a bagel with processed cheese, ham and egg. Needless to say, I tried to take a walk down to the subway but legs cramped and ankles pained so I returned to the room and went back to sleep. I awoke at 11am and visited the same bank again…bingo…it was my choice of withdrawals. Bank machines don’t alway recognize brokerage houses so if you withdraw from Credit Card or Savings…Nada…but Checking accounts are recognized and I did get money. I deposited 30000 Won…about $30 on my T-Card for travel around Seoul…then jumped on the subway and used it to go to a Cultural Center stop. It turned out to be a Shopping Mall but had a tourist information office…so I strolled in to get directions to one of the ancient palaces that was a World Heritage site.