Marmot's Hole Podcast: South Korea World #1 For Innovation

2016_01_27 Jeju Flight Delays, American Held In North Korea, Nutrage Law, & Korea #1 For Innovation

Robert Koehler & Chance Dorland discuss Bloomberg's crowning of South Korea as the most innovative economy in the world. Other topics include this weekend's winter storm that left thousands stranded in Jeju, the American tourist being held captive in North Korea & the ROK's new "nut rage" law.

From Sri Lanka, with Love

by Das Messer


AIRPORT GUYairport_waiting

The sanctity of Travel lies in its tendency to command your respect as you set out to peer voyeuristically into other human lives. Navel-gazing at a time like this is over-indulgent and simply uncouth: There’s a time for raw vulnerability, but this isn’t it. Chin up, shoulders back, deep breath: Youre on your own now, Das. Lock it down.


Reasons to Love Layovers at Incheon International Airport

Just the mention of the word delay, cancellation, or layover is enough to make even the most laid back passenger cringe.  Such occasions usually equate to extended hours spent in oft-hated, geographically-indistinguishable airports, facilities that rarely provide the amenities to entertain or comfort the weary traveler.  Fortunately for those connecting in or traveling to Seoul, Incheon International Airport is an exception.

For multiple years, Incheon Airport has been ranked the best airport in the world for its impeccable service, staff, and infrastructure developments, and while I agree that the airport deserves high marks in each of these categories- seriously, the efficiency and service is unmatched- I feel that what really makes it stand out from the others is that passengers are able to get the sense that they're really in Korea without ever leaving the airport.  Also, the sheer amount of facilities available make the airport an attraction in itself.  It's impossible to get bored at Incheon International and on my most recent visit, I decided to do some research to prove it.

Bon Voyage

I know it may sound a bit too much like "Love Actually," but airports are full of emotion.  I have cried more than once at security from sad goodbyes (not because of the pat downs), and anxiously awaited happy returns after getting my luggage. 

While getting ready to fly back to Busan from Osaka, I was getting a drink at the Starbucks that is past security.  If there is one thing Starbucks is great for, it is awesome at helping you spend that last 5 dollars in coins that the money exchange wouldn't let you turn back into Korean Won. 

Best way to enjoy a 10-hour layover in Seoul


This is what my "crazy" sister made for my sister-in-law who is laying over in Seoul, Korea for 10 hours. My sister-in-law decided to go with the option 2 and she thoroughly enjoyed lay over in South Korea!

Two Options Recommended

1) If you are tired, stay in the airport. You can still have fun.
2) If you want to go out and experience both local and tourist areas + local shopping, take the option 2.

Option 1: If you are tired, stay in the airport

1. Spa on Air
Since you are tired from the flight, you can first rest at Spa on Air (B1, East side) It costs 15000 won (about $15) and extra 10,000 won ($10) for private sleeping room.


Another day, another flight. I am going to Thailand. By...

Another day, another flight. I am going to Thailand. By myself.

Wed, Sep 07 - 2:20PM from PDX
Narita, Tokyo - 5:50PM (Thurs)
Thur, Sep 08, - 6:30PM from NRT
BKK, Bangkok - 11:05PM

Tue, Sep 20 - 5:40AM from BKK
Narita, Tokyo - 2:20PM
Tue, Sep 20 - 3:30PM from NRT
PDX, Portland - 8:45 AM

I am a hotpot of different emotions, ranging from excited to nervous. I know this will be a good experience for me. I worry about how I will fill my time or how I will get places. I will strive to enjoy every moment, good or bad.

As my very beautiful friend, Mary told me, “Have a great time, and don’t focus on what is coming next. Plenty of time for that later. And be safe.”

I have had the most miserable flight home. Stomach pains and...

I have had the most miserable flight home. Stomach pains and exhaustion plague me at every turn. Never again will I spend hours in airport layovers to save a few hundred dollars. I have done it before with little to no problem. Maybe I’m just getting old and/or losing patience, but four hours into my flight over the Pacific and I almost paged the attendant to say I wasn’t going to make it.

Mine’s a can of ‘ass, please!

Today, I am at Incheon International Airport – a wonderful place full of coming and going and, I imagine, Korea’s proud welcoming mat to the world.


It’s quite a lovely place and has been recognised so by some shower of cowboys  for its wonderfulness. I’m sure most people who read this who are in Korea are familiar with said ‘ness. Lots of glass and steel and luxury shopping (because everyone who flies wants a Fendi handbag).

Practical Tips for Foreigners Living in Korea

Banking: The single biggest problem for non-Korean citizens living in Korea is banking. You cannot just open an account at Kookmin Bank (KB) and then take your ATM card to the U.S. and withdraw money at the Citibank ATM in Los Angeles. It doesn’t work.

I must recommend KEB, Korea Exchange Bank, which has a global banking account, where foreigners can open accounts, which have the same online banking capabilities as the other banks in Korea. In addition, with the global banking account, you can with withdraw money when you are back home (assuming that is not Korea).

VITAL POINT: You need to designate a foreign exchange bank with a form at KEB. Without this, you will not be able to withdraw money in a country outside of Korea, even if you have the correct acccount, and ATM card. This is a VITAL POINT (the phrase native Koreans love is “key point”). I cannot stress how important this is!.

Late night snack with Mom

After work, I booked it to the airport to see my mom. Her flight was 30 minutes delayed flying out of Tokyo. After watching a bit of the soccer game, I anxiously waited at the arrival gate.

A rush of weird emotions hit me as I saw my mom. She has rarely acted as my guardian, but she is my best friend. On the car ride to where she’s staying, I just laid my head on her shoulder and told her how much I missed her. She was very tired but did a lot of closed eyed nodding and smiling.

If I want to see my mom, I just go to”Jeonpo, exit 1,” a thirty minute subway ride on line one. Her place is really nice. It has all the appliances I haven’t seen in the last two months.

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