Entry: Adventure in Korea - Part 1: My plane got struck by friggin lightning!!! Monday, March 08, 2004



Well, I've arrived in Korea, but not after taking the scenic route.

Okay, the truth is, I didn't get struck by lightning (but it sure sounds exciting doesn't it?). What actually happened is that while we were making our descent to Incheon Airport, there was a static discharge or something from the plane. It was kind of surprising (I almost said shocking, but that would be a bad choice of words) - there was a big flash and a fairly large sound.. it did seem like we were struck by lightning. Soon after, the captain came on to say that it was just a static discharge, no problems, don't worry, etc etc. So, we continued our descent towards Seoul. Now, it should be mentioned that at the time Seoul was experiencing one of the worst snowfalls for this time of year in about a hundred years or so.
So anyways, we descended until below 100 metres or so, and suddenly started climbing back up. That sudden change combined with the previously experienced turbulence during our decent caused the lady beside me to lose her in-flight meal. I felt badly for her, yet I was glad that the seat between us was vacant..

At first I just figured that due to the weather or whatever we had to get up, and circle around until we were cleared to land again. Then the captain came on again, and told us that the previous "lightning, or static charge, or whatever it was" actually fried some of the plane's navigational computers. Normally, the pilot could make a landing manually, but given the adverse weather conditions, the long and short of it was that we weren't going to be landing in Seoul that night. Next destination: Jeju, on an island in the southern part of Korea... with clear weather.

When we finally arrived in Jeju, it was another hour or two before we could leave the plane. For one reason, the immigration officers had all gone home for the night; Cheju's airport is quite small. Also, the airline company was busy trying to find accomodations for 250-or-so passengers. Surprisingly, the passengers weren't as restless as one could expect them to be. I ended up spending most of the time chatting to a Korean fellow who was just coming back from Japan to visit home for a few days. We hung out in the back of the plane and pilfered sandwiches and cans of pop when the flight attendants weren't looking. I should add here that I was quite impressed with the demeanor of the flight attendants throughout the whole ordeal. They did a great job keeping the passengers relaxed even despite the language barriers that existed between many of them.

Eventually, we were allowed off the plane, and went through customs/immigration, collected our baggage, and headed to the hotel, which was actually quite nice. We were also given a voucher for breakfast in the morning, and it wasn't one of those "continental breakfasts" that consist of some week-old fruit and a case of Cosco muffins. It was a nice all-you-can-eat (your favorite words, Dad) with the usual things that might be expected: eggs, sausage, pancakes, broiled fish, seaweed, etc. Then pile on the buses and back to Jeju airport to catch a 20-minute flight back up to Seoul.

So, I ended up having an interesting time getting over here, eh? It's all worked out fine though. Since then, I've been to Busan and back, and have done a bit of sight-seeing in Seoul. Lotsa pictures to share, but since I forgot the cord for my camera, I'll have to wait until I get back to Japan to share them with everyone.

Expect updates soon! I'll be back this weekend, but may post before then if something interesting happens.

   1 comments

Wayne
March 12, 2004   04:01 AM PST
 
Man! That's hilarious Drew! What are the odds eh of all that happening? Anyways, glad you made it in alright. Have fun man!

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