Sunday, 22 January 2012

And Why Do I Always Love Passing Through The Incheon International Airport?

 Fleeing the winter in South Korea wasn’t my main reason to run to the Incheon International Airport and catch a plane.  I just want to spend my Christmas in the Philippines! Period.

In December 2010, on my way to the airport, I still had to take a cab from Hannam-dong to the airport bus stop in Itaewon (the one next to the Itaewon Hotel).  From my apartment in Hannam-dong, the nearest airport bus stop was then at the Soonchunyang Hospital bus stop, and I certainly didn’t want to drag my suitcase full of pasalubongs for about 400 meters, while the cold temperature was turning my hands numb, my throat dry and my legs some frozen delight! 

But luckily, this time, for some very Christmas-sy reason, a new airport bus route was added!  And this new Bus Number 6060 passes through Hannam-dong with its bus stop right next to the Hannam-dong’s Franciscan Church!  Merry Christmas, indeed!

I didn’t need to take a cab. Just a six-minute walk from my apartment (and still with the heavy luggage full of pasalubongs!) all the way to the bus stop!  And since I already accomplished the ‘web check-in’ the day before, I could just take my lazy time to the airport.    . 
 (Parking my heavy suitcase of pasalubongs at the airport bus stop in Hannam-dong. The bus driver wondered why it was so heavy!)
                              (Bus No. 6060 arriving at the airport)
      (A check-in locator inside the bus! How thoughtful! 
   That's just what the passengers need! It shows the  
               letter of  your airline check-in counter.)

And this new bus didn’t disappoint!  Since there was only two stops from Hannam-dong, it took only 50 minutes from Hannam-dong to the airport. The other Bus Number 6030 took 70!
                         (This is what welcomed me when I got to the Cebu  
                 Pacific counter. It was still closed! Too early!)
                 (And a few minutes before it opened, queuing time!)

And since I already had checked in online, the queue at the Cebu Pacific counter wouldn’t matter.  There was no queque when I got there anyway. I had more than an hour to kill. And so, I just lazily wandered around the Incheon International Airport to remind me why it has been voted one of the most beautiful and loved airports in the world.
(My ticket had a 30-kilo allowance. But the actual weight of                    all my clothes and pasalubong was.....29.9 kilos! I had to ask the lady at the counter if I really was seeing it right. )

And after checking in, I only had three things to do: feed myself (it was dinner time and the Cebu Pacific flight didnt' serve in-flight meals; I should write another blog about the flight), check out the controversial Louis Vuitton store, and claim my Nanay's pasalubong at the Lotte Duty-Free pick up! (She'd disown me if I forget her Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue perfume and Estee Lauder very red lipstick. Ha-ha-ha!).

My boarding time was at 9PM and it was just almost 7PM. Wander around, get through Immigration, dinner, Louis Vuitton, Lotte Duty-free pick-up. Whichever comes first.
                 (Parking my trolley and bag in front of the 
                      controversial Louis Vuitton store)
                                   (What's in a bag, Monsieur Louis?)

                                (The duty-free pick up area near the Cebu 
                                Pacific boarding gate)

(I always wondered on how much work it took to build those 
           high ceilings and steel beams above everyone.)
             (The view from the restaurant area. The shadows 
               of the steel beams, the white color, and the 
               lighting make the ceilings look interesting.)
                              (Just what everyone needs: a chance to over-eat.)
               (Escalators down to the train for the other terminal)

       (I have a feeling those are not passenger luggage but
                           ...duty-free packages!)

                        (Christmas decors. Very Korean. Very glittery.)

         (Colorful lighted statues. The airport is also a park!)

(My overpriced dinner. This is W13,500, including tax. At the E-Mart food court, this would cost only W6,000. But hey, this is not E-Mart. Ha-ha-ha!)

At the security check before the Immigration, the security staff would ask each passenger where he or she is flying to. The guy asked me, "Where are you going?"

I told him, "I'm going home". He smiled.
                             (Taking the train to my Cebu Pacific gate. 
         I took a bus and a train in order to board a plane.)
     (Finally! The Cebu Pacific plane waiting for the tired, 
     sleepy and excited Pinoy passenger on his way home!)

And as I settled on my seat waiting for boarding announcement, I browsed through this Airstar Magazine published by the airport with Kim Hyun-Joong on the cover. I was shocked! The photographs were good and nice. But my gaaad, the English translation of the Korean texts was horrible! It was as if the editor just copied and pasted the Korean text on Google Translate and just used whatever was translated!
        (Poor Kim Hyun-Joong. If only he read what the editor 
                          wrote of English.)

To the guys at the Airstar Magazine: 

Just let me know if you need help on the English translations. You do realize that the Incheon International Airport is one of the best in the world, and your magazine is read by international travelers. Let's load the next issue with better English, shall we?

                                             * * * * * 

Oh well, other than that glossy magazine with un-glossy English, my passage through the Incheon International Airport is always an experience. Either flying out or in, the airport always makes it easy for me (even with my heavy luggage!) with all its conveniences from the airport bus, to the check-in, and up to the steps of the plane. 

And whether I was flying to Manila or some other cities, I realized passing through this airport was already part of my journey.

Bon voyage!


  1. i miss your blog that was quite a while ha ..hehe..oh my gawd kim hyun joong! haha

  2. Thanks! Done with the 'vacation mode'. Back to work now.

    Had I know you liked Kim Hyun Joong, Iwould have saved you a copy. Hehe.