Diary: Sunday 26 July
This time last week I was in an uncomfortable school minibus with very little suspension, no air-conditioning and positioned to sit in the full glare of the sun.
This morning I am on a flight to Seoul, and courtesy of a new Boeing 787 plane, there is even a personal dimmer on the windows for passengers to choose how much light they wish to have in the cabin.
By the time my sisters and I had reached university age my parents had done the sensible thing and let go of us completely. We were left to our own devices, for better or worse. We had to fend for ourselves (albeit with a backup of a credit card) and we survived pretty well.
I am travelling to Seoul with Juniors 2 and 3. They are excited, as I am, for different reasons. They think of the museums, art galleries, street food and ample shopping opportunities. I am thinking of the hot weather, 팥빙수 (shaved ice and red bean dessert) and just being able to practise a few more words in Korean.
The flight is delayed because four passengers who checked in failed to board the flight. Their luggage is in the process of being removed. We do wonder where these passengers are: it’s not as if Heathrow Terminal 5 is Spa Central. There is really very little to do or see here once you clear security.
First off for all of us is to check out the in-flight entertainment. I am delighted that two of the three Korean films on offer (Gangnam 1970 and The Royal Tailor) are ones which I have wanted to watch. Reviews of the films follow.
I am apprehensive about this extended viewing session: I warned the children that we have a full day as soon as we land in Seoul (at 7.30am) on Monday and that it was essential we sleep on the flight. So I am breaking my own advice. No wonder we were so much happier travelling without parents back in my day…
Junior 3 loves flying and this is partly due to having lovely memories of ‘plane food’, that is to say, cute little portions of food just for you. Hence his fondness for Japanese bento boxes…and I can’t wait to introduce to the Korean version which is called 도시락 (doshirak).
Despite our initial delay we landed ahead of schedule. Unlike our first two trips to Seoul, where the queues at immigration were horrendous, we cleared our passports in under five minutes. Luggage was fast to appear and the airport was near empty…a smooth start to our holiday indeed.