Saturday, June 07, 2008

August Travel Itinerary (Personal Entry)

(Now let's talk about something more peaceful and all-around positive, as a respite from the other entries I've sent.)

Thanks to the outrageous $2000+ airline tickets direct from Japan, I won't even fly from here.

August 1st is the day to move out, so I get done presumably by the afternoon. Then I take a bus down to the Nagasaki Eki and board a train to Fukuoka. (Or take a bus if one's available for a lower price.) (The Kagome train is ~$50, a slower train is about ~$35 and I soak in more views, or a bus is about ~$30 and I soak in even more views but while more cramped. Finding such a bus might be too much trouble anyway.)

That night, I check into a hotel. (Possibly the Nishitetsu Inn Hakata again.) It is likely the ferries to Korea will not leave at night. The stay at Nishitetsu Inn Hakata is ¥6900.

With the correct papers that I've gotten from the Korean consulate beforehand (likely easier than usual, given the fact that I'm the son of a Korean national), I board the ferry at the soonest time I can get on. (This is either the morning or the afternoon.) Fares run ¥10000-¥16000.

Once I land in Busan, thanks to my heavy luggage, I must ride a taxi to the national train station. The fare to get in and for the first three kilometers is 4200 Won (~$4.09) and ~$1.90 per mile (200 Won per 164 meters.) That is in a deluxe taxi. The ordinary ones cost just 1800 Won (~$1.75). I'm taking the deluxe (모범; mobeom) taxi because more of their drivers speak English (and at this point, I know significantly less Korean than Japanese) and I won't mind their extra comforts at all. I may even use their in-car phone to call my uncle up in Seoul, to tell him I'll be there soon, staying for the next few days. (However, I may arrange for Mom to tell him of this well in advance. Later I'll call him myself to let him know I've landed in Korea.)

Once at the station, the fastest train is the KTX (looks as bulleted as the Shinkansen) which reaches Seoul in 2 hours and 50 minutes. The fare is 47900 Won (just ~$46.50) and that is the longest and fastest train route in all of South Korea. That sure beats the Shinkansen! (But for all I know, the fare to Pyongyang could be 70000 whenever the North opens up. Up to Sinuiju, on the river border with China, may be an even 100000. Both are merely estimates. Let us not wait for the Reunification much longer, shall we?)

Once disembarked, the taxi fares are about 4500 Won for the deluxes in Seoul, with about the same distance fare. After staying at my uncle's apartment for a few days, it's time to return to the Land Of The Free.

The flight to San Diego from Seoul will run just $1092. This is less than half the price a flight would have been out of Japan! I'll then stay with my Uncle Steve for a few days (and visit Elder Matheson, a missionary friend, from Chula Vista, near San Diego.)

Then I'm taking the Amtrak train to Newton, KS. The cost will run $185 (with a business-class seat, just $14 more than an economy coach.) The trip will be ~31 hours, with a ~2 hour 10 minute ride up to Los Angeles before transferring trains. Newton is just 50 miles away from home- my family's home in Lindsborg. They shouldn't have a problem picking me up there.

Saving money by taking a flight out of an alternate city sure does have its benefits! I haven't been to Korea in ten years so I know a lot has changed. I also think this will be a superb preview to how life will be like when I study abroad again to a Korean college, at least a year after I leave Japan.

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