Sunday, December 18, 2011

10 hours in Seoul

It was -9 degrees Celsius in Seoul today, quite a difference from warm Phnom Penh.  Last year, I had the same layover and left the airport.  I remember feeling overwhelmed by everything I saw: the modernity, the apparently higher disposable incomes of the middle class, the shops, shops, shops, the cold.

This year, perhaps because I've already visited, perhaps because as I promised to myself earlier in the year, I managed to travel outside of Cambodia when the opportunity was there - for whatever reason - I was not as overwhelmed, and I welcomed eating and shopping in downtown Seoul in the same way I will welcome my experiences in neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Portland.  

But something is new and disconcerting:  On the tuk-tuk ride to the airport last night, I realized something in me has shifted since my last trip to the US.  I cannot put my finger on it yet.  I don't even know if it's good or bad.  I only know in the same way you can tell when you wake up in the .morning and, straight out of bed, you know something is a little different with your body, something is outside the range of what you've considered normal for most of your days.

Maybe I'll figure it out on this trip? 

By the way, I was on the bus back to the airport when news broke of Kim Jong II's death. It was all in Korean, but by the the constant replay of his images, I suspected he had died.  What a year it has been for world news!   Wow.

I am exhausted.  I'm looking forward to in-flight movies, a meal, a glass of wine, and some sleep.  When I wake up, I'll be back home.  

1 comment:

  1. Hope you had a safe flight! Maybe the answer will be found back home. :)


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