Saturday, November 11, 2023

On the Road in Multiple Places

 It has been a very long time since I have been away from home this long--October 2016--when I spent a month of my last sabbatical in Tokyo [I just received word that I will be spending 3 months abroad x 2 over the next 1.5 years, but more on that later].  This time, two weeks in South Korea and nearly a week in Denmark.  The packing was not that challenging since it is fall in both places although Seoul and Busan were decided
y warmer than Copenhagen and mostly much drier.

I was in South Korea to do the next project's first case study (well, mine, as Phil has already been traveling for some of his).  And then I went to Copenhagen to present the findings to a group I have never met before--the International Society of Military Scientists.  There are some civ-mil folks, but also strategy people, military culture analysts, and all kinds of stuff.  The trick is that the South Korean case was/is not easy to code or figure out.  I did have good access and had much help from a great team of fixer/interpreters, but I need to spend more time thinking about the case, talking to experts, and reading more.  So, the presentation was a bit tricky.  But it went ok. Folks keep finding the project to be interesting.

So, let me instead compare the two trips:

  • Costs (food, taxi): Cost:  South Korea.  Copenhagen is simply a very expensive place, and Seoul/Busan are not.  I kept doing the exchange rate math here in Copenhagen and kept freaking out just a bit.
  • Bike Danger: Denmark.  So quiet, so many.
  • Availability of Bomb Shelters, Emergency Gear: South Korea
  • Easy for the linguistically lame: Denmark.  I have no inhibitio
    ns there about speaking English, as everyone responds in kind thus far.  Also, the alphabet is the same with some strange looking o's, so I can figure much out.  Not so much in Korea.
  • Weather: South Korea.  Much drier and warmer.
  • Walking tourism: Busan > Copenhagen > Seoul.  All three places are great, but I have been to Copenhagen a few times before and to Seoul once before so novelty here wins out.
  • Food: I kept finding Indonesian food in Korea, so that's a win right there.
  • Sleep: oy.  Not great in either place.  Jet lag plus hard to control room temps and those duvets that mean either hot or cold and nothing in between.  
  • Oy, and flying my preferred airline is indeed better than not.  The Lufthansa flight from Seoul to Munich was about as long as the flight from Newark to Japan, but it was econ, no plus, which mean no room before the inconsiderate person in front of me decided to repeatedly slam her seat as far as it could go, hitting my knees and bouncing my ipad off my little table.  Shitty seats are shitty seats, no matter the airline, but when I have a bit of status, I can get at least those precious two or three inches that make all the difference.  When I fly, I always am thankful that I am not tall.
 I am bummed I missed the Vimy Gala as Jacqui O'Neill rocks mightily, and while her talk was not aimed at undoing the damage done by last year's craptastic speaker, it was still an excellent tonic.  Funny what happens when you take the decision-making out of the old boys network's hands.



1 comment:

Turning Stone said...

Brilliantly presented! Your post is both insightful and thought-provoking. Appreciate you sharing your valuable perspective.