On Friday as it was a public holiday and the day after my return landing in SK. I pottered to Hannam-dong, Seoul, to find more street art. It was uncomfortably hot and humid as I climbed the concrete footpaths that snaked through the shanty’s which cling to the hill. Some of the art had been destroyed but around 50% had survived the two years since inception.
Later I met FOBY for a pot-sticker lunch and a natter before taking a post flight nap. I wasn’t in party mood Friday evening but I took a long walk to Dondaemun and Naksan then grabbed baked chicken and beers. Saturday was “fix technology day”.
I’d been reliably informed that the insurance on my IPhone 5S would offer me a replacement screen for free. Most Koreans live with cracked screens and no bus journey is complete without the sound of Samsung’s hitting the deck. My phone was in pristine condition but just before Summer vacation it had been somersaulted from my grasp and a small crack was the result. I was told to visit the Frisbee store by SK Telecom, they would access the database to check my insurance and then repair on the spot. Buoyed by this news I also decided to ask about my failing iPad Air screen which had developed a growing smudge under the glass, it too was under guarantee.
Just to explain that there are NO Apple Stores in SK but the re-seller is called Frisbee. The stores are decked out like Apple Stores but with no Genius Bar. Frisbee, Gangnam, was the store I’d purchased from and that’s where I headed. Being first in store I had 6 assistants at my disposal, a boy with excellent English explained that they only sell products and have no after-sales service. I was given a map in Korean and told to either walk 20 minutes or take the subway to Seolleung to a U Base Service Centre who would “investigate” my problems. Fortunately for me I know the area well and so after being dismissed I headed over there. How anyone new to SK would fare is anybody’s guess.
I can confirm at this juncture that despite the fact that Frisbee has no “duty of care” towards its customers the system once understood works! The guy at U Base was fabulous, firstly agreeing to order and provide me with a brand new iPad within 7 days. Secondly he gave me a brand new iPhone 5S, the downside being I had to pay 345k won, 70% of which can be re-claimed via the insurance.
So there you have it 2 new devices and my faith restored.
As I write this post my 28 hour journey has injected even greater cynicism to my writing. I hear people’s eyesight has been put at risk by the Tory obsession with destroying the NHS. austerity and competitive tendering have seen a number of blundered eye operations leading to an enquiry. Next year we must see the back of this right-wing dysfunctional government.
The security at Manchester is archaic with new staff being inducted on one of the busiest airport days of the year. Presumably as is with the rest of modern Britain they are on Zero hours contracts. An economy growing faster than the Eurozone but based upon the exploitation of the workforce.
Emirates Economy class was as usual as good as it gets, this time as the reclining seat fed my face with a flat screen I put my legs over the top. The started selfish character in front wisely decided to return to the upright position. I’d recorded my disillusionment with the economy class recycling situation in a earlier post.
Arriving at Dubai I’m reminded of the scene from Star Wars were every sector of the universe is represented. It’s a shrine to capitalist madness and so I find a quiet coffee shop in the corner for my 3 hour stopover.
At the boarding gate I become slightly bemused by the fact that we take off our shoes to attend Korean restaurants and houses but Korean ladies wipe their unclean plastered feet over airport seats and tables! Bizarre. A Korean boy is caressing his iPhone as if it has replaced any carnal pleasure he might have anticipated…bless. There are also assorted “It’s” from the Adams Family aside fat battered legs with bruises that suggest domestic humiliation.
My ear continues to throb with the infection that is likely to induce brain meltdown at any second. Awakening passengers squint menacingly, struggling to focus, why do they forsake their obvious need for an optician. I surf finding out that Paris Baguette, a Korean cake chain, has moved in adjacent to the Louvre. The shit Korean bread manufacturers mission to become the McDs of pastry! Heaven help us.
I chat to a jovial African who is off to Seoul for the first time, I suggest he stays within its boundaries and that he dispenses with any global niceties such as “good morning”, “please” and “thank you”. He’s amused by my cynicism but I predict a change in his standpoint in the not too distant future. Suddenly theirs an impromptu k-pop dance performance which triggers more feelings of dismay which soon fell into the subconscious.
Stepping forward to avoid the crowds I am unceremoniously upgraded to business class! This has happened to be only twice, both times on Emirates. Was this fuelled by my previous passenger survey and disparaging comments about reclining seats? I don’t know but it’s time to indulge!
I settle in seat/bed 25F sipping on my Moët and canapés. We have 20″ TV’s and an immense entertainment system plus a lounge bar at the rear, it truly is exceptional but so is the market price. The fillet steak is exceptional, the Te Muna Road Pinot Noir to die for. The single estate Quintodo Portal Colheita Tawny Port (2000) in tandem with the Chocolate Mousse and cherry compote.was enough to generate resurrection in the tired east of passengers. It truly is the best flight I’ve ever had and I now understand why the landed gentry and soap stars travel like this.
My impending landing in Korea is preceded by quick visit to the loo for a refresh. I knew I was close as this involved cleaning the toilet seat and wash bowl. Obviously wealthy citizens of SK have toilet habits I don’t relate to (I shan’t comment further), it’s time to begin our descent into Seoul.The Journey to SK As I write this post my 28 hour journey has injected even greater cynicism to my writing.