The phone rang Friday afternoon.
Chris: “Hey Mari, want to go to South Korea tomorrow?”
Mari: (one and a half second pause) “Yes. Where are we going? The demilitarized zone? Seoul?”
Chris: “I don’t know. We’ll fly into Osan Air Force Base.”
Mari: “I’m in!”
So we did. Chris and I both wore our Official Go-To Travel Attire: the pants and shirt I bought with Rachel in Jacksonville last summer for exactly this purpose plus my Asian Red sweater, and Chris in his Octoberfest 2008 Munich hoodie. The reality of Osan was a lot like any border area shopping district–we could have been in border-town Mexico, Tangier, where ever…the same knock-off Channel and Louis Vuitton bags, fake watches, probably a fair amount of human trafficking, etc. The only designer crap I was looking for was Michael Kors bags because we share the same initials, and I would like to have my initials stamped all over the lining of my bag. No such luck. And the knock-offs are still $30 to 50, which is more than I’d probably pay for a bag anyway. So Chris and I had lunch of spring rolls, fried rice and chicken curry at the Blue Opera, then bought some onyx candle sticks and a huge stone vase.The slightly dirty feel of Osan extended into the atmosphere—check out that smog! We’ll go back for a weekend hopefully to see the demilitarized zone (if there is one anymore) and Seoul and go to that huge 50,000-person church! But this was a really excellent way to spend a Saturday, not to mention it was perhaps my highest grossing passport stamp day EVER (four, and they were all either large or fun-colored or both)!
The sun set during the hour and 45 minute flight back to Atsugi. Right around the time we flew by Fuji-san. And all that snow explains why you can’t climb it until next month.