I guess I've stirred up enough interest with random pics from Korea to owe you a little explanation. Jeremy had to go on a little business trip, the kids and I tagged along. It just so happened that we were able to meet up with an old friend from our Harbin days (we were teammates back in the day when Kanyon was the same age that Violet is now!) and hang out for the day.
Three days before we left, our friend surprised us with the happy coincidence that the Asia Games are going on in Incheon, South Korea (same place we'd be). He sent a list of sporting events that still had tickets on short notice, and as I rattled off the list, the boys heard "boxing."
"Boxing! Boxing! Boxing! Boxing!" they cheered.
"Boxing?" I asked, "Do you really want to see people hit each other in the face?"
"YES!!!!" they cried, and continued to chant, "Boxing! Boxing! Boxing!"
So, I let my friend know our first choice would be boxing, second choice handball. Happy coincidence number two: both events were being held in the same area, so we could perhaps attend both!
The flight to Incheon (a suberb of Seoul...so we use it interchangeably with Seoul, but that's not technically correct) is only 1.5 hours long. It would be shorter if we could fly over DPRK airspace...but it's probably good that we don't! We've been to the Incheon airport more times than I can count, but we have never left the airport...so we hadn't technically been to Korea before! On the way, we realized this would be Violet's third country to visit and Kanyon and Corbin's fifth. Then, I realized that Corbin and Violet have only been to one state in America...including airports!
Our friend met us at the airport with Krispy Kreme donuts (because he's awesome like that!) By the way, Krispy Kreme in Asia is the real deal. Dunkin' Donuts is available in China, but it seems they've messed up the recipe and made them not so sweet to please Chinese customers. While Dunkin' Donuts in China is exciting but disappointing all at the same time, Krispy Kreme really delivered the expected drool inducing donut eating experience.
We rode the airport train to the subway, making one easy transfer. It took about 1.5 hours to get to the sports complex. Funny that the subway ride was the same length as the flight.
For me, boxing was like going shopping for something normal like a loaf of bread and getting chocolate cake instead. Who knew that watching grown men punch each other in the face would be so much fun?
The best part about a live boxing match is getting to yell, "Yah! Yah! Yah! Get him! Punch him in the FACE!!!!" at the top of your lungs and it's totally acceptable.
And...that smacking sound of a really good punch! And...the slow motion replays where you can see the guy's glove slam into the other guy's head! And..spit flying! We saw spit flying! And...the refs wear bowties! And...we ate donuts! I'm already looking for another opportunity to go to a boxing match. Thank you, boys!
Boxing was done in an hour, so we were able to catch half of a handball game. I'm not sure what I was expecting with handball. I guess I thought it was like tennis, but you use your hand to hit a little ball instead of a racket. Ha!
It turns out it's like soccer and basketball got together and had a baby and named it handball. The boys really got into it. They now want to go outside and play handball instead of basketball or soccer. We'll see how long this lasts. Maybe they'll go to college in Europe on a handball scholarship. It would have to be Europe, because I'm pretty sure other Americans are just as oblivious as me about handball.
The best part of the handball match was when the goalie of the other team got slammed in face with the ball. I had to resist cheering because I had just come from a boxing match where getting slammed in the face was the name of the game!
Overall, my impression of Korea is good. It was clean and orderly and there was plenty of fresh air (the pollution was really bad in Shenyang the morning we left). I was surprised my kids were still famous and people wanted to take photos with us. My American credit card worked in the 7-Eleven, so that was exciting. It was just a little store in a subway stop and the selection of goods was remarkable compared to the unremarkable selection of goods in a Chinese convenient store.
I liked seeing the Korean fans get into cheering for their handball team. I was embarrassed when I stood on the left side of the escalator step and blocked the way for people who wanted to walk up the escalator because things are not that orderly in China and that's what I'm used to.
So, now I'm back home with the kids and Jeremy is in Beijing for 4 days. Like a friend said earlier today, "Let's pray it's an uneventful 4 days!"