Monday, February 5, 2007
A Wise Traveler
A word to the wise: When planning travel outside of Korea, try to avoid Korean holidays. I swear, the whole country tries simultaneously to get on a finite number of planes and get out of Korea, and they do the same thing on the way back into the country. It’s possible that the flight to Mongolia might have a few seats on it over a holiday in February, but I still wouldn’t bet on that. Over the next few upcoming holidays, it is nearly impossible to get a ticket out of the country. Believe me, I’ve tried.
For those who would consider themselves wise to stay in Korea and take advantage of a Korean holiday to see some of the sights outside of town, I would advise caution in this as well. The reason? Apparently, everyone who can’t get a ticket out of the country decides to go to their friendly ski resort or hiking spot or temple or lake (really, any sight or activity out of town). From the stories I’ve been told by colleagues who have tried this, it seems it often takes more than 14 hours to complete what is normally a 3- to 4-hour drive to or from the destination.
Bottom line: American holidays are a godsend to an embassy employee in Korea, particularly since you’re in a place where you’ve got the day off when everyone else is at work. One can go to a hiking destination and be able to see something other than the rear end of the person in front of you. Or catch a flight out of the country to go visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while, maybe even for a relatively affordable price. If only there were more of them…