Friday, August 08, 2008

China Part One

I know that this is long overdue and I apologize. Without further ado: Our China Adventure!

Things began with a bit of a bumpy start since we had to rush after work to the airport and stay the night out there. I really hate that the only international airport is located on a bloody island that no one can easily get out to later at night (aka after 8pm) and early in the morning. Since our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:30 am and we live over 2 hours away AND there are no airport buses before 5:30 am... Well it meant we had to take the subway out there (slower option) and book a hotel for the night (so overpriced). We finally got to the airport just after midnight and we went to get our re-entry visa from the immigration office so we would be ready to go for the next day.

We had called airport information a few days earlier and the woman Matt talked to (who spoke excellent English) had told him that immigration is open 24 hours. So imagine our surprise when the office was closed until 6:30 am. Awesome. At this point the precious hours of sleep that we could have in our expensive hotel room were slipping away rapidly. So we decided to get a cab to the hotel. Holy asshole cab drivers around the airport. Twenty to thirty dollars for a 5 minute cab ride? I don't think so. So we went to the information desk to ask them if there was a hotel shuttle. They called our hotel and they were sending their van (free) and then they checked our flight number and it didn't exist. At this point I was pretty pissed off at the universe. They said our airline would open at 6 am so we could come back then and talk to them. Yeah, awesome.

So we went outside to wait for our van and were told that the van driver knew Matt's name. So when a van pulled up and called Matt by name we figured that was the guy. Then the asshole tried to scam us by calling the hotel, saying the front desk was closed and that they don't have vans at this hour. Then he said the trip would cost 30,000 won ($30). We started screaming at him with all our rudest Korean (translations "I am not an idiot! This is a rip off! You are crazy!") and so we high-tailed it back to the information lady who asked us what happened. We finally got in the right van and ended up at our hotel room. Where we got like 3 hours sleep before having to head back to the airport.

When we arrived at the airport we got our re-entry visas straightened out and then went to talk to the airline. At this point we found out that the airline desk wasn't opening until 9:30!! Why can't people just give us correct information? Why call yourself information? Gah! So we went to sleep on airport benches (which is what we should have done in the first place instead of getting a hotel, but live and learn). Finally we got our flight straightened out and it turned out our other flight was canceled but we could get on another leaving at 11:50. Which basically meant that we could have just slept at home and came in the morning to the airport. The airline people were pretty nice and straightened out both our flights (our return was canceled too) and got us a flight with a different airline on the return. They also rushed us through baggage check in and called our couch surfers on their phone so we could tell them we would be arriving 4 hours later than we'd told them.

It was an ordeal people. But it was good to get all the bumps out of the way before we left Korea and everything was smooth after that. Next stop- Beijing!


Mez said...

Holy smokes! What a debacle!

Carter said...


This sounds like something that would have happened to me.

I don't understand what happened with that guy who tried to rip you off. Was he actually from the hotel? How could he do that?!?

There seems to be a shocking amount of incompetence in terms of all the info you got and yet, on the flip side, the airport people still really helped you with getting your flights all sorted out! Thank John for that!

I can't wait to read the rest of your blogs!!

ambearo said...

The incompetence was getting pretty shocking. I think the cab driver heard the call over the radio or else he had been inside the airport and heard the information woman talking to us and then went outside and found us. It really pissed me off though!