Thursday, September 4, 2014

Welcome to the Far East!

I took the metro back to the airport, with the only difference being the random train change. At some stop, the train suddenly announced “The train will terminate at this station. If you want to go to Icheon Airport, please board the next train.”

Checking in was relatively painless, minus the whole you have to go to specific counters for specific flights, you can’t just check in at the main Areoflot counter.

I am consistently surprised by how easy it is to traverse security in other countries. Ridiculously easy compared to ‘Merica. I was even able to get some Duty Free shopping done (needed real face cleanser, the stuff I had in Irkutsk just doesn’t cut it).

First thing I noticed in Vlad? (The airport is nicer than most.—ok, besides that!) It is the most American approach to a city ever, when you are driving in, if you didn’t know better the (new) highway looks like any in the US. Also, the city is seemingly lacking communist block apartment buildings (I saw seemingly, because I know they must be here, but this city looks like St. Pete. Classic European buildings.

However, the “campus” is a nightmare. It is literally one building. Like Hogwarts crazy. There is even a moving staircase (AKA escalator). Technically I think there are 8 or 9 buildings, but they are all connected by covered walkways. So you don’t have to leave the building in winter. Good luck finding your dorm! I know of 2 entrances to the dorms (which close at 11pm), but both were closing around 10:20p the first night….The dorm is entered from the 4th floor of building 6, next to the hotel (which has an elevator that apparently we can’t use?) (yes hotel connected to the “one building campus”).

I can get to the international office, the dorm (kinda), and a café with wifi. I might be able to find my class on Monday. We will see. Will be leaving at 8am for an 8:30 class, just to make sure…

We got our stuff lugged into our rooms. I mean lugged. It was up 3 flights, down one, up two. (Yes, those are correct directions, remember ALL ONE BUILDING!) Got our bedding and were able to see our rooms. They are tiny. Like I think my single room at the HC may have been bigger and here I get a roomie. Second thing I noticed? BUNK BEDS.

With no easy access….

As in, move your desk so you can stand on it to get in, cuz unlike US bunkbeds, the side is NOT a ladder….I had to wait to wake up some the next morning before I felt I could successfully navigate the “getting out of bed” thing.

The lady (Svetla) who met us at the airport took us to a nearby café where we were able to buy dinner (fettuccini and mushrooms), then took us to “the highest” point in the city. Where there is a status to St. Cyril and Methodius (inventors of the alphabet).  We got to see the last of the pretty sunset (the sun had already “set” but the colors were still there).

Then we were able to have a nice student that had accompanied us to show us where to go buy water and food (cuz you can’t drink the water here and we had an early start the next day).

Then collapsing in the feather bag, I mean mattress.
Oh did I mention that I was lucky enough to get to experience BOTH Vlad and Irkutsk hot water shut offs? No? Well, I have about 3-4 days of no hot water here…and there aren’t any buckets….

See you around the globe!

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