The morning came to set off on our great adventure. John, our son, drove us out to the airport and paid close attention to the procedure we had to go through, as he’d be leaving for Korea in a few days time himself. Once on board, Bernie turned to me and said, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” There were about ten other europeans of various sorts on board – all the rest were either Korean, Middle Eastern or other Asians. Travel went well – food was okay, movies fine, sleep a bit elusive; but we arrived at Incheon ready for anything. Penny wasn’t exactly there when we arrived, but a Facebook message soon established she was on her way with friends, in this Donghwi (brother to Bohye’s husband to be), Gahee a friend of Penny’s and of course the delightful, hospitable Penny. Many smiles and noisy greetings and hugs, and we were on the train heading towards Seoul and dinner.
Now that was interesting. We walked through the student district, crowded streets with lots of young people out for the night for New Year’s Eve. We ended up at a new restaurant called “Cooking Mate”, specialising in Italian-Korean fusion food, where Bohye’s man, Dong Hyun joined us. Yummm! Enthusiastic young people, proudly serving interesting food, in a truly hospitable manner.
Then on to our Guesthouse, Family and Friends House, (I love the names Koreans give to their businesses) and our charming and friendly host, Lynette. Her greeting was warm, and thoughtful. Our conversation turned to some success in praying for women to conceive, and Lynette shared that she would love us to pray for her – so we did; me, Bernie, Penny and Gahee. Such a wonderful environment for our only night in Seoul (thus far). Penny and Gahee then set off to a midnight service – how wonderful to be young and so full of energy.
Next morning after a sustaining breakfast with Lynette’s attentive hospitality, and Penny turning up; then taxi and a walk to the railway station through the quiet, cold, morning streets of Seoul. What a place of contrasts – intense residential development, churches everywhere, thriving businesses, and desolate winter countryside. Then it was into the vast and airy airport Terminal at Incheon as we awaited our flight to London with another plane full of Korean and other people. Our seat partner was a young architecture student heading back to London after Christmas at home. His English was exemplary which might have come from an English private school education, he made an enjoyable travelling companion. And then after not too much success in sleeping, we landed at Heathrow. And began stage three of our great adventure.