I’ve rarely slept for more than a couple of hours on any flight. Okay, I’ve gotten three on a couple of NY-to-Paris flights and once I did four or five hours after taking two (2) Ambien. But last night’s 12 and 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles to Seoul was a corker. I slept for just under seven (7) hours, and right now I feel rested and ready. How did I manage it? A tab and a half of Percocet, that’s how. I might bag a few more zees on my five-hour flight to Hanoi, which leaves at 8:10 am. It’s Friday over here — 6:40 am in Seoul, 4:40 am in Hanoi. 2:40 pm on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Posted on 11.14.13 at the start of my second trip to Vietnam: “I landed at Seoul’s Incheon Int’l Airport just after 6 am this morning (or around 1:02 pm L.A. time), and I’m on the plane to Hanoi tonight at 6:40 pm. Seoul is all about traffic and ugly buildings and smog for the most part. At first the milky stuff in the air seems like drizzly, standard-issue morning smog but by noon it looks and feels like the radioactive fallout in Stanley Kramer’s On The Beach.
“My first impression of Seoul is mainly one of grimness, to be honest. It’s a combination of Newark, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and the soulless parts of Tokyo (another city that I’m not enamored of). When they built Seoul they forgot to think about trying to make it attractive.
“The first thing I saw when I got out of customs was a big Paradise casino poster featuring the smiling faces of Robert ‘anything for a buck’ De Niro. I’m trying to post this as quickly as possibly so I can wander around for two or three hours and take some more photos. I even had a bad experience trying to get free wifi in a Starbucks here. The software asked for personal info which I quickly provided, and then it turned right around and said “sorry, fuck you, no wifi.” Seoul is not my idea of an urban turn-on. I’ll probably never return here.
A follow-up piece about a visit to Bukchon Hanok village:
An honest, un-manipulated, straight-from-the-shoulder shot of Seoul Tower, taken at 11:40 am.