I’m Flying Tomorrow – and I’m nervous. My stomach is killing me…

I’m leaving my safe and warm nest tomorrow for a 35 hour flight to another crazy adventure trip – this time to Bali. I’ve always wanted to go to Bali – ever since I saw the movie South Pacific, it’s been on my ever expanding bucket list of things I have to do some day.

And finally – I’m going. The trip is mostly paid for – I’ve gotten some Indonesian Ruples to pay for the Visa when I arrive – and I’m about 3/4 packed.

My packing issues are probably the source of at least part of my stomach concerns. Bali is just a very short stone’s throw away from Komodo National Park – home of some of the best scuba diving in the world.

I can’t go to Bali and not go scuba diving in Komodo Park – that and not seeing the dragons would be an expensive mistake. If you go that far – at least do the highlights!

In the book and susquent movie “Eat, Pray, Love” – the heroine goes to Bali – and doesn’t see the dragons. Loser. Silly movie. Monkeys are cute – and I’m sure that healer was a lot of fun – but when are you ever going to see hundreds of living, breathing, moving, and apparently ill tempered dragons? Get a grip. See the sites.

So – what does this have to do with packing issues? Well – if you are going diving – in a serious way – you need to bring your own regulator, BC, Mask, Snorkle, Fins, Dive Computer, Dive skin – etc. with you. And instead of just easy to squeeze in bathings suits and a few shirts – I’m now trying to figure out where to put stuff that really was never designed to be packed.

To add concern onto worry – apparently luggage has a habit of not making it to Bali. 3 changes of planes, 35 hours of travelling – just too many opportunities for even clearly labeled luggage to go off on it’s own and visit some other city.

So I’m doing carry on for the critical items – unfortunately – that’s my regulator, mask, Dive Computer, C-cards, and Dive tables. Plus bathing suit, shoes for the boat, hats for the boat, my toiletries, and my clothes. If all of that’s carry on – why am I checking luggage I’m wondering? Oh yes – fins and BC – truly bulky and not dive killers if they go missing. So one mostly empty suitcase in the hold (that is probably getting lost), and one over loaded and super heavy (for me) suitcase to carry on.

If you can’t lift it over your head – can you really call it a carry-on?

Well muttering about my packing concerns is not getting the stuff into the suitcase.

Signing off to go be nervous nearer my suitcase – The Soup Lady

First you pack – then you go! South Korea here we come!

Why does travel always start with frantic packing? Is this just me? Somehow, no matter how long ahead I plan – it seems that I’m tossing things in and out of my tiny carry-on suitcase as the taxi is pulling up to the door.

And another puzzle – why are the flights so long. Ok – I totally realize that it’s distance related – but 17 hours of travel. Is it really necessary? Oh – to beam me up Scotty.

But I got packed and noticed that my entire luggage is smaller than the carry-on’s of some of the other passengers. Did I forget something – of course – but that’s always the challenge. I don’t want to carry much – I have to lift it – so leaving something important at home is just expected.

And what do 2 little old ladies pack for 5 weeks in South Korea? Not much. 1 pair of pants packed, 1 pair of pants on, 3 tops packed, 1 top on, my favorite jean jacket with the big pockets, my rain jacket, PJ’s, slippers, a few pieces of underwear, my favorite warm jacket/sweater, 1 long-sleeved shirt in case it’s cold, and most importantly – books. I have an ipad – which really should be enough – but I love holding a book – so I grabbed 5 novels intending to donate them to strangers as Jill and I finish them.

And we’re off.

Flight from YUL to Detroit was uneventful. Hey – they gave us pretzels. That was nice. Then we hung around Detroit till the flight for Seoul was announced. Nice airport by the way – in case you plan trips by the quality of the airport. The Delta/Korean Air flight to Seoul was packed. Absolutely full. So much for thinking that the news would discourage visitors.

We had taken a window and an aisle, hoping that the middle would stay empty. No such luck. Our middle was a Colonel from the US Army – stationed in South Korea. Kinda reassuring actualy. He’s been here for 3 years – says it’s the safest place he’s ever been stationed. He and his wife and 2 kids are thinking of moving to South Korea when he finishes up in a year.

For meals they offer a Western and a Korean option (I take the Korean choice – it was yummy) – and we settle down for the long haul across half the US and all the Pacific Ocean. I can’t sleep – so I watch movies – Les Miserables, Coraline, Hyde Park on the Hudson, Parental guidance, Aribtrage. It was fun. My favorite – probably Les Miserables. Hard to admit – Parental guidance, while embarrassing predictable did make me cry. No one wants to be the “other” grand-parents. Coraline would give me nightmares if I was a kid, Aribitage was a waste of celluloid (but probably shot in digital – so no film was sacrificed).

We arrive in Seoul with no problems – and relying on the kindness of strangers, make our way to our adorable hostel – the Namu. It’s really an apartment that has been renovated into 4 bedrooms of various sizes – our ‘deluxe’ twin which has 3 beds, a 6 bed dorm with their own bathroom, and 2 other rooms – both with a double bed and a bunk bed. The main area has a nice comfy sofa, a lovely porch (Jill is sitting and reading as I type), a kitchen, a smallish dining table and 2 computers for everyone to use. Not a lot – but perfect for us. They even have free use of a washing machine.


The location is the best part – on a quiet street right off a major ‘dining’ street packed with inexpensive restaurants of all types. There are at least 6 Korean BBQ places, a sushi place, and several coffee shops. We opt for a traditional Korean Restaurant – that means you sit on the floor – and get a bowl of Noodle and dried Shrimp soup to share. The soup was just $12 – and it was enough to feed at least 3 people – we left a lot. Food notes: We ordered mild – and trust me – that was spicy enough for me. And we didn’t care for the dried shrimp. Both Jill and I carefully picked out all the dried shrimp – so much for the protein part of the meal. And as you can tell – we sat on the floor – and needed help getting up!


Back to the Namu – and to bed. One note before I go – beds in Korea are hard. Really hard. No – I mean like board hard. Beyond firm. But we are so exhausted we figure it doesn’t matter.

Good night Moon, Good night everyone!

The soup lady and the Intrepid traveler – signing off.