Emanuel Ringers

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Departure and Arrival

Today was our departure day! We met bright and early at Emmanuel at 9:15. After getting our assigned cases and organizing our luggage, we boarded the coach bus for about an hour to JFK Airport. We pulled up to Korean Air and unloaded our mix of bell cases, chimes, and personal luggage. After getting organized, we proceeded to start our regular airport duties,(checking in customs, security, etc.) After we arrived at Terminal 8, we had a short hour wait where we charged up our phones, got some quick snacks and drinks, and talked about what we expected the trip to be like. Once we were called to board, we noticed immediately that this plane was no ordinary Delta airline. This state of the art Korean airplane was a fully equipped double decker with flat screens for every cubicle in the first class. We were seated in economy, but there were no complaints there. Nothing but smiles and welcomes greeted us by the very stylish airplane attendants. The wait to takeoff was fairly quick and takeoff itself was very smooth. The kids switched around to be next to each other. In front of every seat was a nicely sized touch screen tv, equipped with movies, tv shows, games, audio, and an interactive flight map. Each of these options came with many detailed options within. For example, in the movies option it had, "Recently out, Hollywood hits, Classics, and Different cultural movies." I was very surprised and impressed with the surplus of options of entertainment the airline supplied. Most impressive though, was the option of seeing not only the normal flight map and where we were currently, but the view from an actual camera from the front, tail, and bottom of the airplane. At any time we wanted we could see what was in front of us (usually clouds), behind (clouds), and under (clouds and water!). Besides the entertainment, the food was very good as well. About two hours into the flight we were given lunch and the choice of a traditional Korean meal, beef, or chicken. The chicken was good and we were given 2 side dishes plus water. What was interesting was that they had given us refreshing wipes and water before our lunch, which is not typical of airlines in the west. We were also given a hot towelette before dinner which was very nice. After lunch most of us tried to sleep while others watched movies or explored what the cool touch screen had to offer. It was hard to catch some shut eye though, as it was in the middle of the day back in New York. Towards the middle/end of the flight it became very easy to sleep, because it was the very early morning in NY. Dinner was given towards the end of the flight and we were given a choice between pasta, chicken, and beef, all of which were better than average airplane meals. 



-Kristen

As expected, the flight to Korea was long and tiring, and largely filled with watching as many in-flight movies as possible, with the occasional meal or nap. That's not to say that it was an altogether bad flight, however. The food was actually pretty good (guava juice, beef buns, bibambop with ultra-spicy hot sauce), and it was pretty neat to see daylight for 15 hours in a row. We landed perhaps an hour before sunset, which led to to some particularly pretty views as we drove to our hotel. Our guide, Kristine, explained what some of the buildings we were passing were used for, along with explanations of Korean culture. One of the most striking things was the school system, which actually sounds quite nice, if a bit competitive. The Korean school year starts in March and ends in February, with a one month winter vacation and a 40-day summer vacation. The school week is normally 5 days long, with a sixth day of school on Saturday every other week. Getting into college is apparently so competitive that any student who sleeps more than 5 hours a day is unlikely to get the college they want (due to extreme amounts of studying).

The city itself seems very nice, and very unlike New York City. The buildings here seem a bit more uniform, and the land is far more mountainous than it is in New York. We arrived at the hotel pretty late in the day, so we just broke off into small groups in order to find some satisfactory sources of food. Wandering around to find food was actually pretty neat, as the streets near our hotel are relatively small and winding, if not a bit smelly at times. I can't speak for the others in our party, but Akimoto, Caleb, and I all ended up settling with instant ramen noodles. Tomorrow would bring a breakfast buffet, and we were all too sleepy to care too much about what we were eating.

-Benjamin

Authors: Kristin & Benjamin

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