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> July 11-12, 2006, An Epic Voyage of over 32 hours and 8500 miles
Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen
post Jul 14 2006, 10:10 PM
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11-12 July 2006
An Epic Voyage of over 32 hours and 8500 miles

My husband and I left Mount Vernon at 2 pm PDT for my 7:40 flight out of Sea-Tac. We wanted to be at the airport by 4 pm to meet my traveling partners, Matt Walsh, Dena Berkey, Paul Hezel, Colby Phillips and James Taylor, who are all undergraduate or graduate students at the UW. Our flight wasn’t until 7:40 pm, but we had a lot of stuff to check in for an International flight and we wanted to be sure that we had plenty of time in case they wanted us to rearrange the gear or inspect our luggage.

Including our personal gear and the field boxes, we ended up with 16 total bags. Check-in went fairly smoothly. Paul got all of the bags checked and paid for the extra bags. None of our bags were overweight so that was good.

We passed through security and still had about 2 hours to kill before our flight so we hung out for awhile and had dinner at the Pacific Marketplace. I discovered that Paul had spent 6 weeks in Barrow, AK last summer and we chatted about that for awhile.

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Paul (left) and Dena (right) eating at the Pacific Marketplace

We boarded our flight to Los Angeles and landed 20 minutes early at about 10 pm PDT. We didn’t need to pick up our luggage, just had to transfer ourselves to the International Terminal and check in for our flight to Seoul. We managed that with no difficulty and had about 2 hours to chill out again. I loaded up on Diet Cola so that I could stay awake as long as possible and because I had no idea how long it would be until I had some again. J

Our flight to Seoul was an Asiana Airlines flight on a Boeing 777. Very big and very full! However, the Economy class conditions were still very comfortable and we were treated very well. We had complimentary head phones for the individual movie screens on the seat back in front of us. Movies, news and games in both English and Korean. We got a little toiletry bag with a sleep mask (I saved mine, very handy), cute little socks (which may still come in very handy – see July 13-14 journal) and a toothbrush and toothpaste. We also got hot towels to refresh ourselves and what was listed as a heavy snack. It was awesome! The snack was so much food, that I’m not sure why they didn’t call it a meal.

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A shot of my snack – sorry so blurry, didn’t want to use flash and shock other passengers.

The snack included a roll with butter, smoked salmon, a green salad with Caesar dressing, beef tenderloin with potatoes wedges, carrots and green beans (under the foil), and an apple tart. Very substantial!

My plan was to stay awake as long as possible. The time that we were traveling to is 18-20 hours ahead. This essentially has the effect of being earlier in the daytime by 6-8 hours. So if I could adjust my biological clock backward by staying up and sleeping “late,” it would be more in line with our destination. I managed to stay up until 4 am PDT, which was 8 pm Seoul time before I just had to get some sleep. I slept alright – the sleep mask helped. When I did wake up and knew that I wasn’t getting back to sleep this time, I checked the clock and – lo and behold – it was 8 am PDT and my body must have KNOWN that I don’t like to sleep in much later than that! Darn! Only about 4 hours of sleep and still at least 2 hours from breakfast. L I read my book for awhile (yes, Les Mis) and did manage to snooze for about another hour before they turned on the lights and started getting breakfast ready.

Breakfast was good and surprisingly not as big as our snack. Still plenty to eat, though. Cheese crepe, mini sausages, yogurt, a roll with butter and some fresh fruit. Coffee, too! Some of the last that I may have in a while.

We landed at Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Korea at about 5 am. We went through security (again!) and got to our gate. It felt like Amazing Race – the airport was totally deserted and none of the stores or ticket counters were open or just had opened at 5 am.

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The deserted Seoul airport at 5 am

Our flight wasn’t even scheduled to board for four hours, so we had a lot of time to kill. We read, walked around and explored and snoozed a bit. We also met up with Jesse, another student at the UW, who took a side trip to visit Taiwan on his way to Russia.

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Paul takes it easy at the Seoul airport.

It was very hot and muggy – 75F and raining. And when I say raining, I mean RAINING! We found out later that the typhoons passing through were causing a lot of flooding in Korea. Some places were getting 100-400 mm of rain per hour !

I was starting to feel pretty travel weary and travel smelly. Too long in the same clothes in hot, stagnant areas. It was going to get better though...

I wandered around the airport for awhile – there are a LOT of Duty Free shops there and they were packed with people and clerks – very busy places! You could get all kinds of clothes, perfume, jewelry, liquor, sports gear, shoes and Korean food (including ginseng and kimchee). I tried some Korean kimchee noodle soup. Not too bad. Only a little bit spicy.

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The Seoul airport started getting busy by 9 am.

Our flight to Yuzhno-Sakalinsk was late boarding and about an hour late taking off. By the time that we started to board, it felt like we had been in the Seoul airport longer than we had been on the plane getting to Seoul! The flight to Russia was VERY full. I guess there are only 3-4 flights per week from Seoul. We managed to get into Yuzhno-Sakalinsk only about 30 minutes late, though – landing at about 4:30 pm local time (18 hours ahead of PDT). We had some terrific views out the window of Sakhalin Island on our way.

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One of the cities that we could see out the window as we approached Yuzhno-Sakalinsk.

We had successfully made it to Russia – having completed an epic journey of over 32 hours of traveling, with no major difficulties and only about 6 hours of sleep. We were in good spirits and excited to be completing the long dull traveling phase of our journey. That’s when things started to go downhill, however...

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My view of the Yuzhno-Sakalinsk airport building and my last obliviously blissful moment.

To be continued...
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Misty_Nikula_Ohlsen
post Sep 8 2006, 06:41 PM
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So here are some questions for you to answer. For each one, BE SURE that you completely document your steps and any needed information that you had to use and where you got it.

I left Mount Vernon, WA at 2 pm on July 11. I arrived in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk at 4:30 pm on July 13.

First, carefully calculate the number of hours that I spent traveling to Russia. Be sure to document your steps and needed information.

Second, if my flight to LA was 2.5 hours, to Seoul was 12 hours and to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk was 3.5 hours, then how much of the travel time did I spend actually traveling? What percentage or fraction is this of the whole trip? Again, be sure to document your steps.

Third, if I slept for only 5.5 hours during my trip, what percentage of the travel time was this? And here's a challenge: If I normally sleep 7 hours out of every 24, how many hours did I miss during my travels? (Hint: the answer could be 1.5 hours, but there is a better one)

Mrs. N-O
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