On our way to Seoul
We really felt like we had started our holidays seeing Jonno perform at the Trinity Big Band Jazz night. As always it was an excellent performance, even better with Jonno performing s major solo on the trombone. We enjoyed the nibbles and soft drinks as the rehearsal hall was turned into a jazz club for the night.
Will Henry, the bandmaster twice made reference to Jonno's planned absence from the Manly Jazz Festival, scheduled for the Monday of the October long weekend, due to the Batson cycling trip around the Korean peninsula. With many of the most senior staff members of the school in attendance, including the head master, I was glad that we had formally sought approval for Jonno's absence from school.
Jonno trombone solo
We were up round 4:15 am to allow plenty of time to get ready before the maxi cab was due at 5:15 am. I had researched a few options, and had chosen Mitch at Bookvip shuttles who responded promptly, with the offer of a big enough vehicle for us and our bikes at a reasonable price.
By 5:25 am we were ringing to find out where he was, with the call going to voicemail. By 5:30 am we were packing the bike bags into the Pajero for a mad rush to the station. Jonno went with Simon to unload the bikes, Georgia sprinted through the bush to meet Jonno at the station, whilst I waited in vain for the taxi that never arrived. Simon returned with the car, giving us 20 minutes to make it to the station for the 6 am express train. Turns out the service provided by Mitch was definitely not VIP.
Derek looking after the bikes at Epping
We made it with just a couple of minutes to spare, and a quick change at Central saw us at the international airport just before 7am, not quite as early as we had hoped to check in the bikes. The Asiana checkout was right in front of the lifts, and the queue wasn't too long, so we finally felt that something had gone right. We had no problem checking the bikes in, and passing through customs were pleased to be able to relax with a well earned coffee.
The new trainee baggage handler
All bikes loaded
Time for a coffee before heading to the plane
Derek is excited to start exploring
The flight was uneventful, the food surprisingly good, and there was a broad enough selection of movies to pass the time. We landed a little late, but were quickly through immigration. By the time we had collected our bags, the bikes were waiting for us.
On our way
All bags collected intact
We collected our pre-ordered SIM card, withdrew some cash and then had almost 30 minutes to wait for the airport bus to Itaewon, where we were to meet Miel, our Airbnb host.
Writing up the blog while waiting for the bus
As the bus stopped in Itaewon and we were debating whether it was time to get off, Miel popped her head onto the bus to look for us. She was there with her partner John and looked a little perplexed at how we were going to manage all our gear, given that it was at least a 10 minute walk to her house. We set off gamely, but it was apparent it was going to take some time to get there. Miel offered to get her car, and Jonno and I followed with two bike bags whilst the others waited. It was a long, and windy uphill walk past lots of cafes, restaurants and funky clothes shops. Seems Itaewon is a happening place at 10 pm at night. Up a final hill, we arrived at the apartment, and it was indeed a "cozy home" as described in airbnb. We picked up the car, and returned to load the bags and before long we were all back in the apartment, unpacked, showered and in bed. For a place in the centre of Seoul it was surprisingly peaceful and quiet.