Mongolia

The 9th Flag Expedition Begins!

I departed on the 9th Flag Expedition at about 10:15am, July 5, from my home near McKinleyville, California. We live less than ten minutes from the airport, which is handy.

Flew to San Francisco, got checked in to the next flight, which was to Korea. My flight schedule required at overnight stay, so I’m writing this at the Hyatt Regency Incheon, which is about four minutes from the airport. It’s now 7:30pm, the evening of July 6.

The flight went fine. Read and listened to music.

The food service was close to UA Business Class quality. Two real meals. I had, are you sitting down, beefsteak, potatoes, broccoli  and carrots, with two salads. a lettuce one with feta cheese and a pasta one with shrimp and about a 1×2″ slice of smoked salmon. Chocolate mousse for dessert. Not big portions, but nicely presented and Free. They even brought wine around once. Real wine in the bottle. The second, smaller meal was a choice between fish and Korean rice. I went for the latter. It wasn’t quite to my taste but the Koreans around me seemed to like it just fine. The flight attendants were constantly coming through with water and juice.

The only downside was that they had everyone pull the shades down for almost all of the flight, so no real light for around eight hours.

When I came out of the plane there was a row of tables with people wearing surgical masks standing behind them. We had been given a “health certificate” to fill out on the plane. So we all had to walk up to the table, hand them the piece of paper and stand while they held a thermometer up to our necks, which only took a moment. I was amused to notice that the guy who did me didn’t even look at it. Such is travel.

I go back to the airport tomorrow morning for my flight to Ulaanbaatar. I like the hotel I’ll be staying in, but the internet connection was difficult when we were there last year. If it’s a problem, my fallback will be to post from one of the cafes that have wireless internet.

Final notes for now:

I use an “anti-jet lag” program from a book I found many years ago called “Overcoming Jet Lag”. The idea is to use a combination of things to push the body clock to the new time zone. It works pretty well as far as minimizing the effects of, in this case, a nine time zone shift. I’m very (very) tired, but more or less functional. Typing is being a bit of a challenge, but it’s helping me stay, sort of,  awake so that I can get on the new schedule.

Equipment reports:

Timbuk2 Messenger Bag- Epic Win. Laptop comes out and goes back quickly when going through security. Very stable when slipped over the handle of my roll-on. Easy to get to stuff. Definitely reduces airport transit wear and tear over carrying a day pack.

First Class Sleeper- Epic Win. I didn’t get a change to mention this product before, but it’s essentially an air mattress for back support when flying in cattle car economy class. Google the name and take a look. All I can say is, it works. And it was all of $29.95. Almost 11 hours from San Francisco to Seoul, Korea and I don’t feel like a candidate for traction. Definitely a happy back compared to what it could have been with no lumbar support.

Visit the AFC site here

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