Day 43, Commence Stage 2 – Monday, August 10th, Arrive at UlaanBaatar, Mongolia

Our flight left Vancouver at 12:20 on Sunday, to Seoul, Korea with a five hour stop until our next flight to UlaanBaatar, Mongolia.  We arrived at our final destination at 10:35 p.m. on Monday night (their time). Getting to the airport on time was a little bit of a challenge. Both Russ and I had last minute things to clear off our desks before leaving. The usual bills and emails to answer, so time was a little tight when we said our final good-byes at the house and left for my parent’s house in Richmond. My dad was driving us to the airport.  We like to leave our car with my parents when we fly that way we don’t have to worry about our cars being vandalized at the airport while we are away, plus it saves us the parking fees.  Off we go looking forward to our trip then we started calling the kids to say good-bye and forgot to drive to my parents house.  Before we knew it we were at the turn-off for the airport.  I guess we were on automatic pilot and not thinking.  So we turn around and drive all across Richmond to pick up my father and have to drive all the way back to the airport again.  Now we are late!!

I do not know what it is about flying but everytime I manage to get to my seat, I just collapse with relief that we made it!  The Air Canada flight was excellent (Jim Brown and Craig will be happy to hear this), we were in business class and had the pod seating which I just love!! Watched two great movies, read a book, had a couple of very good meals (yes still vegetarian, Kelly would be proud of me) and we arrived in Incheon, the airport for Seoul, Korea in no time at all.  Flying into the airport at Korea looked great, the tide was out so we could see lots of sandy beaches around several islands.  I didn’t realize this is what Korea would look like, I definitely want to come back here one day to explore. From the air and from where we were flying it did not look like the islands were very populated. It looked like the perfect place to go for an island vacation!

After we landed and deplaned, Russ and I had four hours to kill so we decided to hop in a cab and go sight-seeing.  The airport was huge and it took time finding a place to store our luggage and to then get our boarding passes for the next flight. By the time we were ready to go sight-seeing our four hours was reduced to an hour and one-half.  We no longer had time to go to the city of Incheon which you get to by driving across this very long, very interesting looking bridge. We did manage to get a tour of the island that the airport is on. The taxi was a black sedan and new.  When we sat inside we noticed the ceiling of the car was all padded  in black leather  and quilted with studs. It also had chrystall balls for lighting. Very shic looking, Renu at Abigail’s Hotel (www.abigailshotel.com) would love this taxi.

The weather was very warm, I am guessing in the high 30’s. As soon as we left the airport’s air conditioning the heat hit us.  As we drove around we noticed that the terrain is very green with lots of green grass, pine trees and flowers.  There must be a fair amount of rain to keep everything this green. They love golf here!  Dennis and Gail you have to come to Korea.  We passed three beautiful golf courses on this tiny island all within one hour of each other and in the center of the city they have shops with golf simulator games where you can go practice playing different courses around the world.

Korea looks very modern and very clean. The people we saw at the airport and around this island all look very progressive.  There is no signs of poverty or pollution, everything looks clean and organized.  Plus everyone looks very happy and are very helpful to us.  When we cleared customs they had a sign across their desk “Have a good trip”.  Customs at Canada should take a lesson from Korea. Russ and I liked the friendly manner we received when entering this country and loved our tour. The only problem with the taxi ride was I kept falling asleep from the rolling motion. (It was about 3 or 4 in the morning our time).

By the time we arrived at UlaanBaatar, we were pretty tired as we had been traveling for almost 24 hours.  It was around 11 p.m. Mongolian time when we met up with our guides at the airport and very cool outside which was surprising. It seemed much cooler than when we left UlaanBaatar just 10 days ago.  As we walked towards the doors of the airport, I saw Timujin and what a wonderful sight he was!  It was so nice to be greeted by a friend.  Timujin was our guide through Mongolia for Stage 1 and he was a welcoming sight for us as we landed in UlaanBaatar to start Stage 2 of our trip.

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