As previously mentioned I have been invited by WACS as a key note speaker to their bi-annual Congress.
So here I am. My very first day and first time in Korea. Arrived late Saturday night after 13 hours of flight and layover time (Edmonton-Vancouver-Seoul) and with a 15 hour time difference. The trip with Air Canada from beginning to end was typical Air Canada. Those who have used Air Canada know how I feel. What was amusing was that I found myself surrounded by young chefs from the Vancouver Community College who are also here for the Congress. Food on board an airline is average at best (specially in economy) but surrounded by 17 young yet talented chefs, the experience was worthwhile to capture on film. Too bad my camera was in my other suitcase. Their comments on sodium compounds and tastes brought a smile to my face. I’m wondering if the flight attendants paid much attention to their comments.
Arrived in Seoul 1 hour late due the fact that Air Canada had overbooked 4 seats in business class in Vancouver and needed time to resolve the problem.
Seoul airport is quite extensive so they have an internal train system for passangers to take to go to their baggage claim area. Neat! Then after customs (very efficent and courteous) I was met by a WACS official who had a limousine waiting for me to drive me to Daejeon. I shared the limo drive with Rick Stephen (a native Aussie who now resides in Singapore and is the Asia Contintental Director for WACS) in charge of the 2012 Congress and his wife. While in theory the drive may be a 2.5 hour drive, in reality it took us well over 3 hours as the main highway(Highway 1) between Seoul and Daejeon is fully congested and at times we were going as slow as 40km/hour on a 120 km/ hour highway. This, on a Saturday. I asked my driver if this is normal or just typical of Saturdays. In his broken English I understood that this is VERY typical and some days are worse then others. WORSE! Hard to believe.
Well, arrived safe and sound (about 8pm) to our hotel(Hotel Interciti) in the Yuseong-gu district of Daejeon. Considered a deluxe hotel, their extremely courteous staff are very respectful and attentive. Having being in the hotel industry for a number of years, it is always refreshing to see attentive staff. I noticed a few things immediately. They let you speak first, then they listen and they do NOT interrupt. REFRESHING! However I also noticed something that I will need to get used to. They cover embarrassment with laughter. When I realized that my room did not have WiFi but only an ethernet connection, I called down to the front desk where a charming lady tried to explain, intermittent with laughter, that the only WiFi areas of the hotel were in the busineess cente and the food and beverage area.
As always first night sleep in a hotel with a 15 hours time difference is dreadful but managed to get up and have an appetizing breakfast (a mingle of western and asian food). As today, Sunday, is a day off I will be trying the typical tourist sightseeing adventures. And speaking NOT a word of Korean! Wish me luck.
So I will chat again tomorrow
Remember: One life….drink it well.
I intend to! And eat well too!