Thursday, July 16, 2009

A safe arrival and good eats round 1, or: It takes won to know won

Edited with pictures added!

How did everything possibly go right? Go figure. A smooth flight; we arrived with all companions and all luggage and only moderate "wait, so I just lost a it's when exactly?" The airport process was a smooth 3 steps: first, upon disembarking the plane, offering our "Health Questionnaire" to an official who scanned our neck with some device (presumably a thermometer, checking for fever?); second, getting our Visa stamp at the immigration office, which took about as long to do as it did to type that; and third, not declaring anything to Customs. A 3 hour bus ride to Daejeon and we are quite happily settled in for the next 10 days!

Pics of us on the plane:

As close to all of us together as we could get. It was stretchy.

Got our game faces on!

We flew waaaaaaay north, as you can see on our handy flight information screen.

Us descending into the Incheon airport, islands seen below!

My first dinner in the New World: Italian food. I kid, I kid. Sort of. It actually was Italian. But not really. I got omarice, which is an egg omelet filled with rice, topped with meatballs and cooked bell peppers, and surrounded in this impossibly delicious, sweet, tangy hybrid of marinara and curry sauce. It was fabulous.

This morning, a bike ride through KAIST (the MIT of South Korea, where my friend James teaches) and a walk along the river. This place is so alive! We are in a valley, and being surrounded by mountains calls to memory my favorite trips (to Puebla in Mexico and to Virginia). There needs to be a better word than "lush" to describe the flora and fauna. Just the birds alone! Because of the multitude of rivers, waterfowl are everywhere--snowy egrets (or snowy idgits, as we say in my family), ducks, blue herons. And magpies!!!! I've never seen a magpie before! It's just astonishingly beautiful everywhere.

Snowy idgits!

Magpies are just awesome. And EVERYWHERE.

Blue heron?

These are like smaller idgits, and they nest in these trees by campus. They're nuts!

Today: farmer's market, currency exchange and Harry Potter. Happy birthday's eve to me!