January 13, 2017
China Airlines was using Air Canada’s ticketing/check-in counters at Incheon Airport when we arrived. We found a “Korean Street Food” restaurant, I ordered our kimbap and kimchi stew in Korean. The counters switched over. an announcement was made in Korean, Chinese, and English, and all the gate agents bowed in unison to signify that Air Canada was open for business. Later, on the plane, a young Korean fell down drunk in the aisle next to us — my guess is he’d gotten an all-night head start. Later he threw up and passed out in the other aisle. Most people were asleep and never knew. I was awake and watching Air Canada’s festival of inflight length feature films. One was set in Quebec, one in northern Ontario, and one in Paris. The first and third were in French (thank goodness for subtitles!), and all three were a feast of Canadian and French culture. Our plane and China Air’s landed in Vancouver about the same time, and the place became an Asian street scene. We missed our connection and waited to get rerouted with an American headed to the U of Alaska after visiting his soldier brother in Seoul. He gave Janet an origami lotus flower when he left. We lunched at a Vancouver Canucks sports bar. A couple fans greeted us jovially from the next table. I ordered a beer, burger, and fries from an English menu. We chatted with our Chinese waitress and gave her our remaining Korean money as an extra tip. At Starbucks we overheard conversations in Korean and Québécoise, and I particularly sympathized with an older Japanese gent struggling to order in English. After that international mashup, we’re back to a national culture we think we know well. We’ll find out, eh?