Tomorrow afternoon I board a non-stop flight from Seattle to Seoul, South Korea, on Asiana Airlines. After the 12 hour flight and a 90 minute layover in South Korea’s Incheon airport, I depart on a Korean Air flight to Beijing, China for the first leg of my business trip. I’ll be in China for about a week participating in an Asia strategy summit alternating between Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. This is my first time visiting China and mainland Asia and my travel buddy, TB, isn’t coming with me—TB is also short for travel buddy, he he.
I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for my first trip to a Communist nation but everyone I know who has been to China says it’s an amazing place. The only negative I’ve heard so far is the poor air quality in Beijing. I must have a good time since just getting there is such a pain. For example, acquiring a business visa for China is no easy or inexpensive endeavor. The final tab was close to $300 for a one-year, multiple-entry visa and required two visits to the federal building in downtown Seattle and overnight shipment of my passport to the Chinese embassy in Los Angeles. I also had to have our assistant sign a cover letter to the embassy promising I wouldn’t become a financial burden on their government, I would have the means to care for myself during my entire time in China and my employer would guarantee my return to the U.S. The cover letter also had to provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of the people in China responsible for me during my stay. Crazy.
After about 10 days in China, I’ll return to Seoul from Shanghai on Korean Air, arriving at Kimpo airport in about 2 hours. I’m not sure what I’ll do in Korea except try some authentic kimchi and Korean barbecue. Following two days of customer and partner visits in Seoul, I return to Seattle with memories to cherish and jet lag to suffer.
My running will continue during the trip and I will take pictures as possibly shoot some video if things go as planned with my packing. You may recall, I only do carry-on regardless of climate, trip duration or weight. If I can’t carry it with me on the plane, I can’t take it on the trip.
TB told me to bring her back something nice. I told her I’d bring her a couple bags of rice with the recent retail and wholesale shortages and all.