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Well. That was a fun 34 hours.
First thing to realize is that you don’t truly appreciate a smiling driver holding a sign with your name on it when you clear customs in a foreign country until you’ve been in transit for 34 hours.
Flight from JFK to South Korea was as pleasant as could be – Got on the plane, cleaned out my inbox (I love doing that on planes – there’s something so gratifying about looking at your outbox and seeing close to 40 messages all waiting to be sent – such a feeling of accomplishment, and means I escape email bankruptcy for yet another month) ate dinner, put on my BNC3 headphones, and popped a little white pill. 9 hours later, I was gently awoken for breakfast, and 45 minutes after that, I was in South Korea. It was 3:45am.
I love little white pills.
Arriving in South Korea, it was way too early to do anything. I cleared immigration, and walked outside. Somehow, even though I know it’s not, I feel like when I only have less than 12 hours to visit somewhere, it counts if I just walk outside and breathe the air for a while. So I spent a half hour taking in the air in South Korea, watching the dark rain turn to light rain as the Eastern sun awoke.
Walking back into the airport around 6am, I asked around about exploring the city. By that time, though, it was raining pretty heavily, and although there were buses that could have taken me to downtown Seoul, the lockers to store my stuff didn’t open until 9am (It was Sunday, remember) and I didn’t feel like waiting for three hours in the terminal. So I went back through immigration, (total stay in South Korea: three hours – immigration must have been like, “WTF?”) got my toothpaste confiscated at security, and walked to the Korean Airlines Prestige Lounge.
I’m thrilled to say, it had showers. Scrubbed, revitalized and happy yet again, I took my seat at a desk with a view of the runway, and made it my home for the next seven hours, having a meal, getting work done, chatting with other in-transit passengers, and trying to pass the time.
Breakfast: A roll, a squeeze-packet of Strawberry marmalade, Mushroom porridge, and two Diet Cokes. Breakfast of champions. (and yes, I know the roll and jam had sugar in it. Shut up.)
Here’s the part where having friends comes in. I turned on my AIM, twitter, Google Talk (geekfactory), MSNIM (peter<at>shankman.com), Y!IM (geekfactory), ICQ (4512996), and even Skype, (geekfactory) and waited. Sure enough, friends were online. As early morning turned to mid-day in Seoul, pushing afternoon to turn to evening in LA and evening to turn to late evening in NYC, friends, one by one, came online and said hello. I was kept occupied by some of the greatest people in the world. Thanks to AL, CS, KVS, AT, MD, AK, BB, LH, and others. You guys rock. 🙂 I have such cool friends.
Walking down to catch my connection I was struck as I watched other flights queue up to board – no pushing, no shoving, no “I must get on the plane first” mentality. Why is it only us?
Flight to Singapore was empty. First class was empty, yet they still put the curtain up separating us in Business from the empty first class. I can only assume it was so the flight attendants could get some sleep.
Nodded in and out over the six hours, watched “Smokin’ Aces,” and we landed. The “blink blink blink” of my Blackberry alerted me to restored service, and taxi to the jetway was uneventful, as I downloaded emails.
Singapore airport is wonderful for many reasons, not the least of which being that deplaning, immigration, and customs took a total of six minutes. I’m serious.
So I’m at my hotel, checked in, and about to head to sleep.
More soon. The conference, Digerati Asia, which I’m chairing as well as speaking, and running a bootcamp, starts on Tuesday morning. Live-blogging, of course.
Peter, who, according to Google Maps, is closer to Kuala Lumpur than he realized. You know, the Petronas Towers are there… I’m just sayin’…