My flight to Korea – Part 2

I had no idea what I was doing at O’Hare airport. First, I just took off with the crowd. I had about six hours to kill before my next flight, so I wasn’t really in a hurry to figure out where I was supposed to go.

So I got thoroughly lost.

The place is huge. Eventually, I realized it has like four separate terminals that are only connected by shuttle. So of course, I hopped on the shuttle and took a free tour around the place.

After a while, I ran into my departure terminal. Out front was a big foodcourt. I sat for a while at one end, just listening to all the different languages. People from all over the world were sitting right next to each other: Asians, Europeans, Arabs, even Africans, which was a surprise since the terminal was an Asian terminal.

Off to my left, two or three Mexican guys were trying to sell “Chicago Style Hotdogs” at a restaurant with the same name. A few travelers stopped in. As the dinner crowd thined out, though, the guys switched their attention to the girls working at McDonald’s across the way.

At about 9:30, I decided to stretch my legs. I walked around the foodcourt, casually hunting for a good deal on some delicious food. I finally settled on a chicken burrito (they were out of steak) from that “Chicago Style Hotdogs” place. For a Chicago style burrito, it was ridiculously delicious, probably thanks to the foreign employees.

As I ate the burrito, I noticed a few Americans behind me talking about Korea. They sounded like they were about to do basically what I was about to do.

Later on, I would see them at the gate.

I tried getting to the gate with the ticket they’d given me back in Louisville, but even though my ticket said “boarding pass” on it, the security guard said I needed to get a new one through Asiana airlines. So I did that, which took a while because they didn’t seem to have the process streamlined. That, or most of the travelers just didn’t know what they were doing.

While I was in line, though, I met a few fellow Americans who were also headed to Korea.

One of them was like, “Man, they need to do something about this bottleneck.”

“Nah,” I said, “The flight doesn’t leave for like three hours. Why would they want to hurry?”

So none of us hurried. Some people in line had towers of luggage. I guess they were moving home. I started to feel pretty good about taking only three bags of my own, even if the backpack was starting to really hurt my shoulder.

Somehow, that guy in front of me ended up behind me in the process because I was out of there before him. No big deal, though – no need to rush a wait.

Once I made it through the line, I camped out by the gate. They’re weren’t many of us at first, but judging by the size of the waiting area, I assumed more would come. They did. By the time we left, there were tons of people.

I saw those guys I’d seen in the foodcourt. I also saw the guy I’d met in line. Some people were sprawled out lengthwise on the benches trying to get some sleep. Others, like the Americans, huddled toward the front charging their laptops with the two or three available outlets.

Most just sat and waited.

For two hours.

Finally, they started boarding the first class passengers. I stood up to get in line anyway. It wasn’t my turn to get on, but I figured by the time it was my turn, the place would be too cramped to get in easily. So I moved toward the gate entrance and waited there.

A tall guy, looked like a basketball player but white and with braces, walked up next to me. He had the same idea. We waited there together, talking about Korea and complaining about the line, until they called section B.

This was it.