Lost My Soul in Seoul Airport

As I departed the plane onto my final leg to Vietnam, I’m exhausted, so hot I think I have a fever and pretty much delirious from lack of sleep. The Asiana airplane did NOT have good air-circulation. In Seoul it was only 44 degrees, as I merged into the gang way, an icy cold blast woke me up from my heat induced sickness. None the less brain fog was at an all-time high. I tried everything to sleep on my 14 hour connection flight from NYC to Seoul, to no avail. So I mindlessly followed the heard of people to the transfers area, where for the third time, I had the pleasure of going through security checks. As we went on from there I see the board of multiple flights flipping over quickly on its large digital pad of mostly Asian looking symbols. They turn so quickly I can barely scan down to see Hanoi typed three times. The number next to it said 251 so I assumed that was the gate. Too tired to actually pull out my boarding pass and look at the flight number, I follow another heard of humans to terminal 2. I was currently at terminal 1.

I go down escalators and up more escalators over to trains. Fun fact, their escalators don’t move until you step on it. Which is super freaky. Thought it was broken then it just started moving. I then exit the train and head towards terminal 2 where I have to scan my boarding pass to enter that terminal and it gives an error and says go to terminal 1. Confused because I just came from terminal 1, an employee points behind me and says terminal 1. He says go there and ask for help. So I go up the smart escalators and see the big board flipping hundreds of flights and I don’t see mine anywhere on it.

I’m sweating, tired, confused; need water and all I see is alcohol and tobacco stores galore. Frustrated I find the help desk and she says to me ever so politely with her porcelain features, that my gate is in terminal 1. I need to go back to terminal 1. But I look up and I’m in terminal 1. Ok … my Korean no good…wtf did you just say?! I think I’m losing my mind. I have been traveling for about 23 hours now. I don’t even know my first name and basically questioning my entire existence.  Another employee comes up and takes my passport and boarding pass and says he is going to have to escort me back to terminal 1, even though we’re standing in terminal 1, and he can’t do that until 6pm. Tells me to come back and won’t give me back my passport and boarding ticket.

I walk away confused and pretty sure I’m never leaving the Seoul airport. I somehow found the Korean twilight zone. Where 1 does and also does not mean 1. Hot, sweaty and defeated I walk away and find a bottle of beautiful water. I guzzle it down my dry, parched throat and post my final farewell to everyone on Facebook. At least there was a strong WiFi signal in the twilight zone.

At 6pm I arrive back at the desk. The young gentleman then proceeds to take me from terminal 1 back to another terminal 1 about three miles of walking and up and down elevators and escalators again. He carries my passport and boarding pass with him the entire way as I cannot be trusted with my own documentation any longer. We pass through more series of security points where now they write down all my info in Korean on clipboards. I couldn’t read it but probably said “Tall, blonde Caucasian female looks delirious and might be suffering from a mental insanity at the moment. We can’t tell if it’s permanent condition, but keeps murmuring about a twilight zone.”

Finally we arrive exactly in the same spot I was an hour ago from debarking my other flight right next to gate 24. There are 2 Terminal 1s in the airport in different locations. He takes me to my gate where I get my documents back and I plop down and thank him. I look at my boarding pass and it has printed on it gate 24..

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