A Few Days In Seoul

Last week I went to Asia for the very first time. Although I was gone for a week (Monday through Friday), because of the time change I only had a few days in Seoul. It was jam-packed with business meetings, so I didn’t see any tourist sights, but I got a taste of the culture.

A Few Days In Seoul
Since this trip came on the heels of my business trip to Copenhagen, I begged my firm to let me fly business class. While I won’t be able to hold a grudge against United for long, I was glad to be flying on Delta! 

Delta One - Seoul

My full fare business class ticket included the right to wear leggings!

I chose a seat on the upper level, because how often do you get to do that? The Delta Oneยฎ Business Class seats are like little cocoons, with seats that lay flat for sleeping and Westin Heavenlyยฎ bedding. 

Airplane food usually gets a bad wrap, but I think the airlines must compete for international business class travelers, because the food was really good.

Delta One

Silly me, I thought I had to choose one of these appetizers! 

I planned to work for about half of the 13 hour flight, but when the wi-fi got wonky somewhere at the northern edge Canada (about 3-4 hours in), I turned my seat into a bed and started watching a movie until I realized my time would be better spent sleeping.

I thought I’d sleep for a few hours at the most, but I was awakened by the smell of coffee and only about one hour left in the flight. I sucked down three cups before I remembered that we would be landing at 6:30 pm local time, so I really didn’t need all that caffeine in my system.

A Few Days In Seoul

 My first view of South Korea.

The Incheon airport is HUGE, but we cleared immigration and found the bus to our hotel pretty quickly. After checking in and grabbing a bite to eat, we went to bed–trying to forget that it was noon back home.

My First Night And Day In Seoul

I slept in 2 hour increments, finally giving up at 3:50 am. I forced myself to stay in bed until 4:30, and got dressed for the hotel gym. Unfortunately, it didn’t open until 6 am, so I created a 25 min body weight strength workout on the Johnson & Johnson 7 Min Workout App, and did that in my hotel room before heading to the hotel gym again. I thought I would do 5k on the treadmill, but struggled through 4k until calling it quits. With the metric readout on the treadmill I couldn’t tell if I was pushing myself too hard or just too tired–probably both. 

View from my hotel window.

After a day of business meetings we had a slightly more relaxed business dinner. Our hosts helped up order “safe” versus “adventurous” foods, but the appetizers were from a pre-set menu.
 

The clams (bottom right) were good.
The pork (top) was OK.
I couldn’t touch the “chicken slices” (bottom left)
after our hosts explained they were made from chicken feet. 

My Second Night And Day In Seoul

My second night brought the same sleep pattern–sleeping relatively soundly until about midnight and then waking every few hours after that. At 4:30 am I got up and dove into an urgent work matter that I was coordinating with someone in California–where it was mid-afternoon yesterday. I was able to hand it off again at 7:30 am, by which time I was starving, so I headed to breakfast before talking myself into a session at the hotel gym. 

The hotel has a very fancy fitness center that offers local memberships. There was a pool, a long bank of treadmills, ellipticals and bikes, weight machines, an area with free weights, aerobic studios, and even a putting green!

These machines made me think of an I Love Lucy episode,
but it looks like people use them for massages? 

I walked on the treadmill for about 25 minutes while reviewing my afternoon presentation, and then did a short weights workout.  

After the conference one of my clients took me too dinner for “American” food–pizza! They explained that pizza is an “elegant” food in South Korea, always eaten with a fork and knife. They told me they were shocked when, as grad students in the U.S., classmates ordered Dominos delivered to the lab and ate it with their hands!

The first pizza we had was a fancy cheese pizza which they told me to drizzle with honey–a delicious South Korean custom. Then a blueberry pizza was served! It was surprisingly delicious too. 

They graciously stopped serving so I could take a picture!

My Third Night In Seoul

Of course, by my third and last night in Seoul, I was starting to adjust to the time difference. I made myself go to bed before 11:00 pm, but still woke up at midnight. I went back to sleep until about 3:30 am, and then couldn’t resist turning on CNN. Let me tell you, the news about North Korea is much more stressful when you are on the same land mass.

After watching the news, there was no way I was going back to sleep. I decided to do another 25 minute workout with the 7 Minute Workout App, knowing I had a long day of sitting ahead. By the time I finished that it was time to get ready to meet my colleagues for breakfast and start the long trek home. 

For some reason I had higher hopes for the wi-fi on this flight, but it was even more useless than it was on the way over. (Once I got home I contacted GoGo and got a refund of both charges.) I was able to do some work without an internet connection, but then started a cycle of watching movies, reading, dozing, and eating.

I was happy to see this progress!

I watched The Lion and Manchester By The Sea, dozed through The Meddler, and then watched Arrival. I ate dinner–which they served right away even though it was 11 am local time, maybe because it was evening U.S. time–a “mid-flight snack” (a grilled chicken sandwich and fruit) served when I woke from my nap, and breakfast served about an hour before we landed at 10 am local time. Apart from the mild frustration at not being able to get the wi-fi to work, it was a blissfully uneventful flight. 

We cleared immigration and customs in Detroit, and had about an hour before boarding our short flight to D.C. There were lots of Spring Break travelers on the plane, and I started missing my kids hard when I saw parents picking up their college kids at the airport. I’ll see my son in early May and my daughter a few weeks later, but I think being away from home makes me miss them more, even though they are not home anymore! 

My colleagues already have plans to return to Seoul later this year, but I think my clients will be visiting the U.S., so I can meet with them here. I wouldn’t mind going back again, even though I know I won’t be in business class next time!

The Weekly Wrap

Weekly WrapHere’s my full recap for
the Weekly Wrap link up 
hosted by Holly and Tricia.

Monday: OTF 
Tuesday: (airplane)
Wednesday: strength + 4K TM run
Thursday: walking + strength
Friday: strength
Saturday: 9 mi run
Sunday: 34 mi bike ride

I have another race this weekend: the George Washington Parkway Classic!

Have you had blueberry pizza?

Would you have tried the sliced chicken feet?

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45 Responses to A Few Days In Seoul

  1. you were certainly right in the middle of where all the excitement is this week! Those long flights are killers with the time change. We went to Singapore a few years ago and I think I was on a diff sleep schedule for weeks!

  2. I would not have tried the chicken feet. I’m pretty adventurous but I have to draw the line somewhere!

    I was tired just reading about your trip. That jet lag has to suck. How are you feeling now that you are home?
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Running on EggshellsMy Profile

    • Coco says:

      I think that’s a pretty good place to draw the line.
      Since I wasn’t there very long and tried not to get on a normal schedule there, I’m doing OK. It was rough getting up but as long as I keep moving I can keep going!
      Coco recently posted…A Few Days In SeoulMy Profile

  3. Marcia says:

    Thank heavens for business class! My husband goes to Asia often and swears the airlines and service are SO much better than elsewhere. I would not have gone near those chicken feet things. Ugh.
    Marcia recently posted…BFD or Small Annoyances: Itโ€™s All About PerspectiveMy Profile

  4. Chicken feet? If I didn’t know they were chicken feet…maybe. UGH. Blueberry pizza sounds great, though!
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Back on Track (literally)My Profile

  5. Wow! What’s nice flight. Delta really knows how to do it up.
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness.com recently posted…The night before Boston…..My Profile

  6. I’m glad you were able to fly business class! I’ve never had blueberry pizza, but that sounds delicious!

  7. I don’t blame you for passing on those chicken feet slices! Thank goodness you were able to fly business class – adjusting to the time difference and jet lag can be brutal!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…RtR Week 6 Wrap-upMy Profile

  8. Carla says:

    hmmmm Im so so so persnickety with food and yet?
    CRAZY ME would have eat the chicken feet!!!!
    Glad
    Youre
    BACK.
    <3
    Carla recently posted…MONK!My Profile

  9. I just love reading your posts and all of your pictures during your travels! Great week of training too!! Hope you had a Happy Easter! I would love to try Blueberry pizza!
    Katie Shepherd recently posted…Weekly RecapMy Profile

  10. You did a great job of getting in your workouts despite all the traveling! Those long flights and time changes are rough. Nice that you got a business class seat though!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…When You Can’t Run, WalkMy Profile

  11. Just imagine how your family felt knowing you were there! That’s really interesting about the pizza. My husband once spent like 36 hours in Seoul for business, but there was no mention of pizza.

    I’ve never been to Asia, and can’t really wrap my head around flights that long. At all. I think my longest flight ever was to HI, at about 9 hours. And that’s plenty long!

    My husband’s company has a policy where if you don’t buy a business class ticket, they will give you the difference. I’m not sure what the company really gets out of that, but my husband has done it — sometimes. Not always.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Horses, Hills & Snakes, Oh My!: 4/10- 16 Weekly WrapMy Profile

    • Coco says:

      Interesting on the ticket policy, but I can’t see why they’d encourage you not to take business class (by letting you pocket the difference) since it really does help you hit the ground running when you do land. I’d love to understand it though!
      Coco recently posted…A Few Days In SeoulMy Profile

  12. Kimberly G says:

    I’m so impressed by your flight! I flew to London for a business trip a few years ago and I was so impressed witht he airline food! I guess it’s really good on international flights ๐Ÿ™‚

    Loved all your photos and the gym looked awesome. I hope that your jet lag isnt too bad now!
    Kimberly G recently posted…Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon Training Recap โ€“ Week 7My Profile

  13. I loved hearing about your trip to Seoul! I really need to travel more – business class sounds amazing and I’d love a meal like that while on a plane haha! I’m glad you made it back safely ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve never had a blueberry pizza…it looks delicious! Look forward to seeing you this weekend at the Parkway Classic! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Elle says:

    I cannot imagine flying for 13 hours in coach! Your trip sounds fun and adventursome. I might have tasted the chicken feet… or not? ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. That blueberry pizza looks kinda awesome! That sure was a long flight but you had quiet the little cozy seat!!

  16. I would have passed on the chicken feet, but the blueberry pizza sounds intriguing. Its always interesting to see what foods are considered the norm and what foods are considered “special occasion dishes” in other cultures.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Loudoun Half Marathon Training Log โ€“ Weeks 4 and 5My Profile

  17. My hubby went to China last year this time and yes, they has chicken feet served at breakfast! Poor guy lost 8 pounds in 12 days! That blueberry pizza looks yummy! Sounds like a cool experience and you still did great getting those workouts in- amazing!!!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…You always have time for the things you put firstMy Profile

  18. Rachel says:

    That machine TOTALLY looks like an I Love Lucy episode! I feel like my grandma used to use one? Lol!

    Sounds like a fun trip. I’ve never been overseas. I’m half okay with that and half envious of others that travel abroad. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rachel recently posted…Best Ever Homemade Veggie BurgerMy Profile

  19. HoHo Runs says:

    Chicken feet step all day in chicken poop. Just sayin’. But the pizza sounds delicious, even with a knife and fork. I’ve never been on a flight for that long. I’m not sure I’d handle it very well. Maybe if I could sleep. I hope your body has adjusted since returning home. Thanks for linking, Coco!

  20. Lesley says:

    The first good meal I had on a plane was British Airways. I couldn’t believe it since I knew how bad plane food was when I was a kid, and then later on I had to pay to get actual food. Plus BA serves wine with the food!

  21. Jenn says:

    How much fun! I have never been anywhere in Asia (Mr PugRunner isn’t incredibly interested) and I would just love to!

    I am a pretty adventurous eater – I would have tried the chicken feet if I didn’t know what they were, but now knowing, I imagine that I would have to take a pass. Blueberry pizza sounds bizarre but I bet it was delicious!

    Glad you had a great trip!
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 4.9 – 4.15My Profile

  22. Ilka says:

    That’s a super long trip and I feel exhausted just reading it Coco. How does running feel after a long trip like this? I always feels like my legs need to recover extra days after a 10 hour flight.
    Ilka recently posted…My weekly Running Wrap – It was Shark Week!My Profile

  23. Chaitali says:

    That business class flight sounds nice! It’s great that you were able to sleep until there was just an hour left. That blueberry pizza looks really interesting. And I love that pizza is considered elegant food to eat with utensils ๐Ÿ™‚
    Chaitali recently posted…Weekly ReviewMy Profile

  24. Clarinda says:

    That blueberry pizza actually looks and sounds super good! I may need to attempt to recreate something like that.

    Despite it being such a short trip, and that you didn’t get to do anything touristy, it seems like it was pretty good. Yay for business class!
    Clarinda recently posted…Running Mistakes: Proper FuelingMy Profile

  25. Coming from someone who has only flew once in their entire life, I truly had no idea this was what business class was.
    The only flight I took was maybe a little over an hour in the air so I can not even imagine being up in the air that long! I hope your adjusting to being back home on your schedule.
    Tricia @ Misssippipiddlin recently posted…Weekly Wrap 89 Camping AgainMy Profile

  26. Farrah says:

    I’ve never been to Seoul but I’d love to go there someday! So jealous that you got to sit in business class! ๐Ÿ˜› That’s definitely the best thing ever for super long flights! I wanna try that blueberry pizza!
    Farrah recently posted…Recipe Makeover (giveaway!)My Profile

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