26 May 2005, 5:00 am
The guys all did a good job making it on time to the meeting point at Davidson at 4:30 am, and despite the early time, we had a smooth flight from Charlotte to Chicago, and from Chicago to Incheon, Korea. In Chicago, we met the three of the other guys who were joining us for the trip: Coach Mike Cummings and midfielder Nick A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and midfielder Kris Olson from St. John’s (Minnesota). Once we got to Incheon in Korea, however, there was a bit of miscommunication between Transports and myself — instead of finding someone to meet us to take us to the airport right away, it turned out that we had to report to the KAL transit desk and then they would give us hotel vouchers. In addition, our flight had arrived early — it cost us a little more than an hour waiting at the airport, but in the meanwhile the guys and Patricia explored the Incheon airport — a new international airport serving the Korean capital of Seoul; they all seemed to be impressed with the technology and the amenities available in the airport.
Their cultural exploration started right away — I was with a number of the guys in a convenience store, and they marveled at both the familiarity and unfamiliarity of the drink offerings; John Hoke was somehow pleased by the sight of Fanta. Ryan Robertson and Nick Tapert immediately ordered a bowl of Korean noodles from a fast food shop. By 6:45 pm local time, we were in our hotel rooms in the airport Hyatt, and had a wonderful bulgogi (grilled beef) dinner in the hotel’s dining room. Except for the minor glitch at the airport, it was a good start to the trip! But I have to see how jet lag has affected everyone this morning — after a buffet breakfast, we are leaving for a 10:00 flight to Beijing, and should be there by noon.