Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Adventure Begins

I have been in Korea for a couple of days now. I have finally got a power cable for my laptop so I thought now would be a good time for an update.

Check In
I got up super early to allow plenty of time for my dad to drive me to the airport and claim a GST refund on my camera (more on that later). I was anxious about my baggage weights but they let me check in without any problems. Women being women, my girlfriend was way over her baggage limit when she flew home a couple of weeks ago so it fell to me to try and fit as much in MY luggage as possible. Hmm.....

My friend +Anthony Gray was kind enough to come and see me off (as far as the departure gate anyway).

Tourist Refund Scheme
There is a scheme the Australian government runs called the Tourist Refund Scheme where you can get the 10% sales tax that is applied to everything you buy in Australia refunded. There are a few conditions so I will leave this informative link here, but it is a great way to get an even better price on things like laptops and cameras. After the tax refund my Sony RX100 only cost me around $570. I got to the airport really early and was lucky enough to get there before any queue started to form.

The Flight
After almost driving to Korea we finally took off. I swear the pilot got lost on the runway because we seemed to be taxiing around forever.  Once we found the runway we were taking off from it was all systems go. After thundering down the runway for what seemed an eternity we finally took off.

The A330 is quite a good plane. It is not too noisy (or maybe i'm just going deaf) and the way Korean Air had it configured made it feel as though there was a decent amount of room, even in economy. I was lucky enough to get a window seat just in front of the left wing, meaning my view was virtually unobstructed (other than the cloud cover. All those positive things said, the flight was average. For some reason the screen in the back of the seat in front of me would not play video. I tried to get some sleep but i never sleep well when flying. A nice surprise after nap time was a hot towel. It is a great idea. All airlines should do it.

Arrival at Incheon Airport
Jay met me at Incheon airport and we had dinner there before heading to the hotel. Just as you exit customs there is a small restaurant called Sanuki Bore to the right. The food isn't bad. I had Donkasu Don Combo which is basically pork schnitzel on a bed of rice with various side dishes (combo meal Korean style).

Incheon to Daejeon
The next day we caught the free shuttle bus service the hotel offered back to the airport so we could catch the bus to Daejeon. I should have taken a photo of the bus to Daejeon. It really was like travelling first class. Super comfortable leather seats which had loads of leg room and were really wide. It took about 3 hours to catch the bus to Daejeon and cost 22,100 won (approximately 20 Australian Dollars). When you consider it would cost $22 in tolls alone if you were to drive your own car, it really is a cheap way to get around. 

Once in Daejeon we headed to the apartment Jay had organize for me to stay in. It is not so much an apartment, but more dormitory style accommodation where her brother lives during the university semester. It is small but all I need for the next week and much cheaper than staying in a hotel. The internet is super fast (literally about 1000x faster that what I had in Australia). I tried to take some photos to show what it was like but it is just too damn small. The best I could do was stand out side the front door and take a photo pointing in.

Mobile Sim Card
We then went for a walk to find a mobile phone shop so I could buy myself a sim card..... It turns out they can't issue sim cards on the weekend.... Personally, I think the guy just couldn't be bothered to help me because I am a westerner and it is more difficult to issue a sim card.

Exploring Daejeon
Today we went to see the Hansel & Gretel movie (it cost 13,000 won (AU$12) for the both of us to go which is a nice change from getting ripped by event cinemas in Australia. For lunch we went to a amazing restaurant that specialised in Mandu (dumplings). I took photos and everything but got home to find that there was no SD card in my camera!!! Why did it let me take photos without a SD card! WHY. Sony... I blame you! For dinner we went to a place that specialized in fried chicken. Again, it looked amazing but my stupid camera didn't have an SD card in it. 

After walking Jay to the bus I went for a walk to find something to take a photo of for my 365 day photo challenge. Near where I am staying is a "Rodeo Street". What does that mean? Well, there are no bucking bulls anywhere is sight as the name "Rodeo" might suggest. Koreans seem to have taken the word and apply it to areas like the one below. In short it is a "party" area. There are lots of restaurants, karaoke rooms, game arcades, pool rooms, PC rooms, etc in the area.

That is all for today. 

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