Getting to the airport in Irkutsk gets special mention, because I was able to arrange it myself, because the lady who works at the uni was on vacation w/o notification. But I did it!!
Also, they tell you to arrive 2 hours early, but the desks didn’t open until under 2 hours. However, the airport has free wifi! Just so you know, you check in on the first floor, go up to the second, enter a door, behind what looks like a desk, go through security (where as long as you drink from the water you forgot to dump, you can pass with your own bottle full), and wait for the bus to take you to your plane.
The 3 hour flight to Kharborvosk was fine, they even fed us! I got a salad, cabbage rolls, and bread. Because you know, vegan is apparently easier than vegetarian food for Aeroflot. It was yummy, and I got some sleep, but not much.
Now, Kharborvosk, that was …interesting. I was able to exit and get my luggage just fine (because apparently checking your bags through to your final destination when you only have one ticket is a foreign concept). But then to find the departure hall?
Oh you want to go from a domestic to foreign flight? That’s a half a mile walk around construction pulling your bags and then when you get there it is basically closed. But the nice security people let you in. (Oh I forgot to mention- you now have to scan all of your bags to get into the airport, assuming it is because of the airport bombing in Moscow a few years back).
Then they opened the door up, you went through a mini customs/where they scanned your bag and passport, then got to check in and get your tickets, then through customs, then through the traditional airport security. But then there was wifi and seating while you waited for your plane. Or in this case went into duty free to buy your hosts in SoKo a gift.
The plane ride to Seoul was uneventful, in its 3 hour glory or continued little sleep. I actually feel asleep just waiting for the food to come. But the flight attendant was nice enough to wake me up to get the food (the EXACT same thing as earlier in the day).
Seoul’s airport is MASSIVE. There is a train connecting the two parts of it. And customs was fun. Beucae they wanted a bunch of info (like where are you staying) that I didn’t have memorized…but they did have wifi! Note to readers…get a buggy cart to walk to the metro. It is a long walk.
But after asking a bunch of people I was able to find the metro/buy a ticket/find the train (thanks old woman who knew I looked lost!).
Kristine even met me at the transfer station so that I didn’t get totally lost trying to find their house/get on to base. We just relaxed and chatted until Hyun got home and ate dinner. Since SoKo doesn’t follow daylight savings time, we were on the same time zone as Irkutsk. Made “adjusting” easier, although it does get dark sooner there than in Irkutsk.
See you around the globe!