Flight from the Virus

Nicholas Quirke was on the move again on 7 February 2020. It was not a movement he had anticipated but it made sense. It was with remarkable languor that he launched into his flight from the Virus. For once he set off without anxiety, though he did message Peng to make sure the taxi was ordered and would be coming, and maybe it was because he was in the safe hands of his resourceful friend that he did feel relaxed. He had also given a cursory glance at his horoscope for the day and the news was. ‘This is a great day for travel’. If he were to deliver his well being to the guardianship of the fates, then what could possibly go wrong. His transit through immigration was similarly very smooth, apart from the mild sensation he caused when he dropped a handkerchief and security discovered he hadn’t unpacked all of his technology., His bags repeatedly put through the scanner for yet another item that needed charging he had forgotten to empty. This blissful state of ennui continued till he got on the plane which had about 60 passengers and his equilibrium was disturbed by being the only passenger, unless they were a couple, with someone next to him. Not only that, but his hygiene around his mask was not good and Nicholas felt a little uneasy to see that his nose was exposed. This posed the dilemma of possibly asking the gentleman to put in on properly and while he was considering the gestures he would need to make tro get him to cover up properly or deal with possibility of moving to another empty seat the stewardess handed them breakfast. He took one look and returned the ham roll and yoghurt. Then watched his flight companion gorge himself on the airplane fare. He had his two masks on, firmly attached so he felt safe and he reflected on how pleased he would be once he had left the airport to dispense of them. He was given 4 forms he needed to complete, for health, arrival, customs and this actually took him a while to complete. He lost an hour by the time they reached Gimpo Airport and once again he was ready to deal with the arrows that immigration might sling at him. One form was accepted, he watched people struggle with the SIM card check; a bank of officers calling the number provided on the arrival card, to enable them to keep tabs on the entries from China and any potential spread of Coronavirus., while he breezed through on his EE international number. He passed the Body temperature test, the dog sniffers, and his hand luggage and before he knew it, he had a piece of paper granting him admittance to South Korea. He managed to withdraw approximately £100 and was grateful for the experience of the Mongolian Togrog, as the Won is also measured in thousands. Something in him wanted to avoid any potential issue with a taxi so he checked Bus and Train opportunities, but when he asked what an approximate price for a taxi would be and was told 35000, he could compote that’s that meant about £22. This seemed a fair price for a 40 minute journey and he took a taxi, a ‘Normal’ taxi and with his eye on the meter watched the scenery as they drove along the the banks of the Han River into the sprawling and hilly metropolis that was Seoul. He spent the journey wondering about his father’s days, and imagined him as a young soldier arriving in Seoul and he felt a strange exhilaration that his genes were In some way commingling with those of his now long departed parent. The journey did take over an hour but to his delight it was even less than he had anticipated. He was gong to like South Korea, he could already feel an energy and excitement that had been singularly lacking in the deserted street of Beijing. What a relief it actually was to be amongst a throng again. The hotel seemed nice and his room on the 16th floor even nicer. He settled himself in but struggled with an increasingly unstable Wifi which he complained about before going out to try and fulfil the list of instructions that Peng had insisted he sort out ion arrival. He failed at achieving any of them but he succeeded in buying strawberries and bananas and some monkey nuts for his breakfast. He’d would have to wait for morning to do his errands and to work out just what his days would contain while he was in Seoul. Tired and content, relieved to be away from any threat, but missing the Beijing experience he went to sleep.

12 Comments

      1. It seemed the most significant part of the blog. My heart was with you when you mentioned you were watching the meter, I could feel your anxiety as if it were my own. Time to celebrate! Enjoy Korea, the food is supposed to be amazing in Seoul.

        Liked by 1 person

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