The Eagle Has Landed

IMG_2750 They say every voyage is an adventure – well, sometimes it’s more than that, it’s a thriller, too. Everything at home was prepared, bags packed, the apartment cleaned and most of our belongings already in boxes, ready for the move in June. We’re visiting the family in South Korea before that, May 23rd, KLM flight 1860, from Düsseldorf via Amsterdam to Incheon, departure time 16:25. We arrived at the airport about two hours before departure, everything seemed to go smooth. Almost everything. At the check-in counter, the ground staff gave us back my passport because it was invalid, I’m terribly sorry, but you can’t fly with this passport. Imagine the shock. Turns out, we’ve left my current, red passport at home and took the green, temporary one that expired in 2004. Next followed a speed race back home with a cab. The driver was sympathetic and used hidden Tunesian driving skills to get me home in a mere 15 minutes. I needed much longer to find the passport though, because, as mentioned above, everything was already packed and prepared for the move. The passport was found at last after a dozen boxes were opened and we were able to check-in 30 minutes prior to departure.

The exitement wasn’t over completely: The bus that took us to the airplane drove a few rounds around the air field, somebody else was a higher priority. As we found out, the police escorted a black prisoner to the airplane. He tried to resist against his extradition, kicked and screamed, fought with the guards. One of the police men had a wound over his right eye and lost his uniform badge on the right shoulder after they succeeded in seating him in the back of the machine. I don’t know what the reason for the extradition was, but he seemed very determined to oppose it in every possible way. He stopped screaming when we entered the airplane – it took us a few minutes to fold the buggy and hand it over to the ground personnel which is why we were last to board the prop airliner. The prisoner was kept in the last seat, closely watched by two male and one female guard. I remembered the deportation of a Sudanese refugee in ’99, who died of suffocation due to the restraints and the position he was forced to keep – the job to keep another person quiet and calm for even just an hour who doesn’t want to in a small airplane is unbelievably hard, the police officers today did a good job without having to resort to a harsh approach. I guess a few years ago I wouldn’t have thought this way, today my primary concern was how to calm down my son if the rioting should restart. It didn’t, and I was thankful for it.

IMG_2762 Shiphol Amsterdam for us was running again, from one gate to the other, since our plane was late. We hadn’t time to buy one or two presents we planned to, so we skipped that part. One advantage when you travel with infants: Everybody is nice to you, the ground personnel asked us into the VIP line for boarding, skipping a queue of a couple of dozen passengers. When we boarded the KLM Boeing 747 to Incheon, we finally had a feeling of relief. The 8563 kilometers in 9 1/2h were over rather quickly. One detail mentioning: If you’re on international flights with KLM, beware of the food. Ours was good, but the stuff they try to sell as children food is far from acceptable. White bread with sugar (the slice of cheese helps a little), a chocolate bar and a sweet beverage – better bring your own breakfast if you don’t want a hyperactive kid jumping on and off your lap for the rest of the flight.

IMG_2777After arriving at Incheon airport the next day we ate at “our” Japanese restaurant and took the bus to Daejeon (??, ??). Beside hitchhiking, there’s no cheaper way to travel the country. Plus, you get your own track on the expressway. It was Buddha’s birthday, but the roads were rather empty. From my first visit I can remember that on that day there’s no coming through. Three hours later, our family fetched us from the long distance bus station and we arrived at home, happily and exhausted. The welcome dinner was fabulous!

Today’s lesson: Double-check passports, tickets, money and key. Triple-check passports. Check once more. And again. Rinse, wash, repeat.

2 Responses to “The Eagle Has Landed”


  • Ah, the adrenaline rush, the pressure to perform… But luckily both the taxi driver and yourself rose to the challenge. Congratulation for that!

    I hope that after the birth of our son we will also be able to travel again. Heads up for the long trip to South Korea. I hope everything goes smoothely!

  • uuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiih!

    gerede durch die slideshow jejettet.

    hast du den befehl für die gestaltung des holo-deck-programms etwa so ausgedrückt:

    -computer!
    -JA?
    -computer, ich muss dringend mal wieder außerhalb düsseldorfs atmen.
    -HM.DAS STELLT FÜR MICH KEIN PROBLEM DAR: SOLL ICH DAS DOJO-PROGRAMM FÜR SIE STARTEN?
    -Neinnein, diesmal ist die familie wieder dabei. es muss sauberer, geleckter ausssehen.
    -MIR STEHT SEIT GERAUMER ZEIT EIN NEUES KOMBI_PROG ZUR VERFÜGUNG: SOLL ICH ES NUTZEN, UND AUS INDIVUELLEN ERINNERUNGEN UND WÜNSCHEN EINE ASIATISCHE UMGEBUNG ERSCHAFFEN?
    -wie würde das ungefähr aussehen, computer?
    -ICH KOMBINIERE EINIGE ELEMENTE DER “TRUMANN-SHOW” MIT SZENEN AUS “1984”. ERGÄNZEN WÜRDE ICH ES MIT BEKANNTEN FRAGMENTEN AUS “DEMOLITIAN MAN”. FÜR DAS KIND WÜRDE ICH EIN SELBSTSTÄNDIG ARBEITENDES DROHNEN-PROG INTEGRIEREN. ES WÜRDE IHREM NACHWUCHS DIE ERFAHRUNG VON NATUR VIA, AN DER VERGANGENHEIT ORIENTIERTEN UND WISSENSCHAFTLICHEN BELEGTEN EXISTENZ VON NATUR ANHAND VERMEINTLICH NATÜRLCICH AUSSEHENDER NATUR VERMITTELN: ICH KÖNNTE DIE DROHNE SO PROGRAMMIEREN DAS SIE SPIELERISCHE BAUSTEINE EINBAUT. MÖCHTE SIE WIEDER EINE R-U-T-S-C-H-E INTEGRIEREN?
    -ja, das ist eine gute idee. und lass bitte vereinzelt koreanisch sprechende lebewesen durch die szenerie huschen. einige religiöse elemente wären auch nicht schlecht.
    -SIR, PARALLEL ZU IHREN EBEN GEÄUSSERTEN WÜNSCHEN HABE ICH SOEBEN IHR INTERNETPROTOKOLL DURCHSUCHT: ANHAND DIESER SEHE ICH, DASS SICH EINE YAKULT-VERKÄUFERIN HERVORRAGEND IN DIESES PITTORESKE AMBIENTE INTERGRIEREN LIESSE. DARF ICH SO FREI AGIEREN?
    -oh, gerne.und sorge bitte dafür, dass ich diesmal anschlüsse für meine weltlichen anforderungen vorfinde. sie sollten stabil sein.
    -VERSTANDEN.
    -und, computer…
    -JA, SIR?
    -…bitte diesmal keine offenen türen innerhalb der vorgegebenen parameter. haben wir uns da verstanden?
    -ICH SEHE, WAS ICH TUN KANN, SIR….

    An dieser Stelle endet die Übertragung. Ich hoffe, dich auch demnächst wieder in diesem Theater begrüßen zu dürfen. Ich verbleibe mit freundlichen Grüßen und verbleibe mit einem…

    -SIR?
    -ja, was denn?
    -DARF ICH IHNEN AN DIESER STELLE EMPFEHLEN DIESES BEITRAG MIT EINER KOREANISCHEN GRUßFORMEL ZU BEENDEN? DANACH WÜRDE ICH DRINGEND NAHELEGEN; DEM ASTERIODENGÜRTEL VOR UNS AUSZUWEICHEN…

    Wie du an dieser Stelle unschwer erkenne kannst, sehe ich mich leider gezwungen, dieser Korrespondez ein Ende zu bereiten.

    Halt dich tapfer. Friede und frischer Fisch mögen mit dir sein.
    ??? ????.

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