Receiving in Seoul, Loud and Clear

Fido welcomes you to Korea (South). Call +1 514 925-4590 to reach Fido Customer Service. Enjoy your stay!

With this one text message, received while still taxiing to the gate at Incheon Airport, my trip was a success before I even set foot on foreign soil. Now I can be connected anywhere on the planet… As long as there’s a digital signal and I can afford the roaming charges!

It’s a big difference from when I came to Hong Kong in 2001 with my first world phone and spent twenty international roaming-rated minutes trying to get access to my voicemail. But so far my winter vacation has also had a lot in common with my first comedy tour of Asia…

For starters, I’m pretty sure that I took the same flight to San Francisco that we took barely a week after 9/11 — on the first outbound aircraft from Toronto’s International Airport, if I’m not mistaken. In 2001 we had to be at Pearson long before the sun came up, as there were still lots of travellers stranded from the shutdown of North American airspace, forming a long snaking line to the United Airlines check-in counters that hadn’t even opened yet.

Five years later not much has changed. I had to be at the airport at 4am for my 7am flight and the line-ups were just as long, though this time filled with miserable holiday travellers instead of solemn September 11th refugees.

Five hours later I arrived at SFO to connect with my overseas flight, which coincidentally left from the exact same gate as our plane to Hong Kong in 2001 (G102). I can say this with some certainly because I have a very vivid recollection of someone complaining that Business Class passengers were boarding the aircraft through the First Class entrance. I really hope that dude has gone bankrupt since…

This time around I was stuck in Economy, and though I was further comdemned to a dreaded middle seat, the 13 hours in the air was made bearable by a personal LCD screen right in front me and twenty channels of movies at my command — just like in Business Class to Hong Kong! By the way, did I miss something crucial in the first five minutes of Lady in the Water, or was it really that bad?

Any similarities to that Asian tour of 2001 ended when we touched down in South Korea and I fired up my TyTN, instantly able to send and receive my precious email even after a continent-wide telecom disruption. And unlike Hong Kong which is always brutally humid, right now Seoul is freezing cold, colder perhaps than back in Toronto. But no snow yet…

Christmas Lights

It’s now very early Friday morning, and I’m up writing this from my fantastic room at the Koreana Hotel, which I got for super-cheap because it faces the back rather than these Christmas lights across the street at City Hall… I think I can manage!


About Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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