links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Monday, February 12, 2007

tips for your flight

most important thing: change some cash at the airport. do it. dont be picky about the exchange rate, just do it. i arrived in seoul on saturday night along with a group of 5 or so, and some of my collegues were stuck with NO money, b/c the banks were closed on sunday.

 i flew from san diego to san francisco, then to tokyo, then seoul. uhm, i think the flight from san fran to seoul was about 9 hours? tokyo to seoul was around 2. my flight was at 7am or so daygo time, i was at the airport around 5am. i was tempted to try and check in late, in hopes of being bumped up to business class, but i'd have felt like a foolio if i dicked around and missed my flight altogether. i had everything packed in one carry on, and two large suitcases on rollers. i slept for the majority of every flight b/c i was hella tired. when i arrived at the airport in seoul, every sign is in korean and english, so i found my way around ok.

when i had to take the bus to coex per cdi's instructions, a couple of koreans came up to help me find the right bus stop and buy my ticket. i think one worked at the airport. they spoke little english, but were as sweet as pie to me. man, my writing is so boring right now. i'll re-write this passage later. anways, what i learned:
  • wear comfortable clothes in layers. if you want to dress business casual in case youre meeting your boss at the airport or something, be sure they're clothes youre comfortable in. i didnt bother b/c i was due to arrive in seoul after 9pm and had to find my own way to the hotel, not meeting any cdi people til the next day.

  • wear roomy, easily removeable shoes. for US airports, the security check is thorough and my shoes had to come off i think 3 times.

  • to add to that, try not to wear any big bracelets or belt buckles; anything that may set the metal detector off. your jacket has to come off, so wear a clean shirt... and not one with holes in it... like i did.

  • also wear matching socks... b/c i wasnt. ha! hey, we are laid back folks in southern cali, fo real! well nobody seemed to care about my silly socks, but still.

  • make sure you have a luggage tag on each of your bags, including your carry ons. maybe just a name, and add a very visible card inside with a home and overseas adrs & phone number. if you dont have an overseas adrs yet, use the school's.

  • check with your airport about luggage weight. it was 50 lbs for mine. i had one case at 43 and the other at 52, the lady was hella cool about it & didnt make me repack.

  • im glad i had those suitcases on rollers, b/c i had to get around by myself here and there and it made the bags much easier to deal with. doesnt seem like a biggie, i know, but having travelled before, nothing sucks your mood more than the little things like having to lug all kinds of stuff, no wheels, shoulders acheing fm the weight of your bags, while you're trying to figure out where you are and where to go.

  • along the same lines of the last bullet, try to keep your carry on small as possible. pack clean underwear, sample sizes of toiletries, and your paperwork. this way, if your luggage gets lost, you'll be ok.

  • the US airport wont allow any liquids/gels over 4 ounces in your carry on. really, only four ounces. you cant even bring your water bottle, unopened or anything. i had to eat my yogurt before going through b/c it was 6 ounces. try to pack your liquids in the suitcase instead.

  • liquids you do have (perfume, toothpaste, body wash, EVERYTHING) has to be in a ziplock baggie.

  • have some cash (hundred dollar bills) and change some money at the airport. i arrived in seoul on saturday night along with a group of 5 or so, and some of my collegues were stuck with NO money, b/c the banks were closed on sunday.

  • double check that you dont have any other prohibited items in your carry on. i had a lighter (for my eyeliner) and a pair of nail scissors, and the file on my nail clippers, all had to be dumped.

  • see about renting a cell phone at the airport in seoul. you cant buy a phone until you get your arc card, and the airport here has a booth to rent phones, open 24/7. you need your passport and put like 200USD down, or something. this info was in my cdi packet, but i done left the airport before i stopped to think about it.

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