My Brilliant Korea

13 hours in Taipai, 9 hours in Seoul (and counting)

Travel | August 22, 2009

The following is based on an actual conversation, which took place in Taipai Airport on Friday afternoon.

The scene was set in the immigration check-in line, which, according to my estimates, had not been refurbished since 1974.

As we clutched our passports and shuffled towards the counter, a cute Australian guy decided to make chit-chat with me.

Cute Australian Guy: "Are you staying at the airport hotel?"

Me: "Yep".

Cute Australian Guy: "Do you know where it is?"

Me: "Nope. You?"

Cute Australian Guy: "Nope. But we'll find it. We're in this together."

Me:(fluff hair and attempt to look like I have had more than two hours' sleep)

Cute Australian Guy: "So what were you doing in Australia?"

Me: "I was a journalist. I worked for a newspaper on the Sunshine Coast".

Cute Australian Guy: (squints, looks at me closely, lightbulb appears to take shape over head) "I know you, you're that girl who writes that thing in the Daily!"

Me: (incredulous) "You're from the Sunshine Coast?"

Cute Australian Guy: "Yeah, yeah, so are you! You write that thing!"

Me: "Well, yes, I did write a thing, but not anymore".

(more hair fluffing by me, followed by a discussion about whether a fish or a lobster would win a fight to the death)

I decided to tell you about this conversation for two reasons:

1. Because the immigration line at Taipai Airport is by far the most bizarre location I have ever been recognised.

2. And because my interaction with Cute Australian Guy was the most notable conversation I had during my 13-hour stopover in Taiwan on the way to Seoul.

Other conversations included:

Taiwanese Hotel Check-in Guy: "Would you like breakfast?"

Me: "No thanks."


Me: "What time does the bus depart?"

Taiwanese Bus Driver Guy: "25 minutes".

I have since landed in Seoul where just 40 teachers have arrived, out of the 545 who will take part in an orientation camp over the next five days.

The rest of the teachers should touch down on South Korean soil tomorrow.

So far, there is my environmentalist roommate named Amy (from Michigan) who informed me I should not have a burger because "about a million litres of water is required to make just one pound of beef" (I ate the burger anyway- it was really good).

There is the sweet biology teacher named Dylan (from Florida), who spontaneously decided to apply to work in Seoul and seems somewhat startled to be here.

There is quick-witted New Yorker named Scott who asked me to carry his bags (I declined), the quiet Irishman named Chris (who offered to carry one of my bags), the Canadian sisters (who asked if I would like to take Korean classes with them on Saturdays) and the chatty Californian named Kai (who is horrified we are not allowed to leave the university campus for the duration of orientation).

I can only imagine how many more names and faces I will know by tomorrow (but I estimate about 505).

Before I head off to bed, I would like to leave you with the first, of what I expect will be many, bizarre Korean facts:

It is illegal to eat two-minute noodles at Incheon International Airport in Seoul.


1. Nathanael on August 22, 2009

Ha great. Most importantly.... Did you get cute Australian guys number. Or even more importantly... Any numbers for me!


2. bay on August 22, 2009

Excitement and wonder, Blythe! You sound like you're managing to get yourself into ridiculous adventures already xoxo

3. Jas on August 22, 2009

Sounds like fun ..... 2day is the first day in years we don't get 2 read the goss of a single hot chick from Alex :-(

Thanks 2 ur blog we got our fix of Blythe

4. Melody on August 22, 2009

Ha! As you can see, I am waiting in eager anticipation of every post. What happened with the cute boy? Cant wait to hear more. x

5. Blythe on August 22, 2009

Of course I got the cute Australian guy's email address... what do you think I am? Crazy? ;-) He's studying at a uni about an hour south of Seoul and should at least be a new friend for Amy and I. Thanks so, so, so much for your comments spunkrats! Makes me feel like it's worthwhile writing this thing xxx

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About Blythe Seinor

When Blythe was a journalism student at the Queensland University of Technology she interviewed the former Indonesian president, Abdurrahman Wahid.
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