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).
Of course, one of the best things about the airport in Incheon is that it’s hardly ever busy – except for the duty free of course. My only concern about this is that wherever the bus drops me, it is usually at the other end of the terminal to where I should check in. Like today, the bus dropped us around the desks A or B but we had to check in at J. Now, ideally to be fair the bus should drop you off right in the middle, which would be conveniently closer to J. But, who am I to complain I need the exercise.
As an Irishman, air travel carries with it certain rituals. After passing through the usual joviality with the security and immigration comedians it is vital to Do-Not-Pass-Go-And-Do-Not-Collect-200-Euros/Pounds/Dollars/Thousand Won and head straight for duty-free. Following this, one must find the bar, a suitable stool at said bar, another Irish person to drink with, and proceed to be late for the boarding time of ones flight.
Incheon International Airport, wonderous structure that it is, falls short in its cultural understanding of pasty faced Irishmen.
For starters, some cowboy at the duty-free told us that the Frankfurt Flughaffen Poliezi will take everything over 100mls off us, duty-free or not. Which is not how I remember it at all. So already, we are walking down the moving floor escalator thing scratching our heads in bewilderment. After a few ups-and-downs (of the length of the terminal) I have ascertained another disappointing facet of Incheon International Airport.
You can spend a few million won on a handbag, by kimchi, coffee, fresh fruit juices, and soju worth 80,000 won (I am not suggesting this is worthwhile, the option is merely there), but you cannot buy a pint of beer.
Now, there’s no need to go all decimal on me, you know what I mean. There are no half litres or 500cc of cold draft beer. This is disgraceful. How can an airport win so many awards but there isn’t one bar in the whole place? Not even a place selling Cass or OB for 6,000 won of something offensive like that! A sad, sad day.
The closest that I came to having a drink before I left were cans of Cass, small cans, in a fridge in a Japanese style restaurant priced at over 5,000 in a restaurant where the average side-dish cost about 20,000 won. Currently I am completing my formal letter of complaint to the whoever is in charge of awarding Incheon International Airport as the best airport worldwide for five consecutive years.
It’s just as well I’m going to Frankfurt otherwise I might get arrested.