JUNE 12, 2009: FRIDAY

Michelle Hotel; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


7:00 am: Billings to Helena
8:30 am: Helena to Seattle
-5 hour layover-
2:40 pm: Seattle to Seoul, South Korea
-arrive 5:50 pm and add one day (it is now Saturday NIGHT)-
8:10 pm: (Saturday) Seoul to Ulaanbaator, Mongolia
10:50 pm: Arrive at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

  • In air: 17 hours 29 minutes
  • With connections: 25 hours 40 minutes
  • Total distance: 7,085 miles
  • Cost: $2,202
All flights went well and all connections were successfully made!

I have to comment on the Korean Air flight from Seattle to Seoul. The Boeing 777 was probably the nicest plane I have ever had the pleasure to fly on! In our seats, upon boarding, we found a package with: pillow, blanket, bottle of water AND toothbrush w/toothpaste and a new pair of warm socks! The meals were equally impressive. Lunch: A Korean dish w/rice, seaweed salad, seasoned meat, tea, fruit platter, etc! Dinner was nearly as good (looking)! but I couldn't eat it because it was covered with eggs. Also, a number of times the flight attendance brought around hot rolls with sweet seasoned meat inside...they were yummy! They often brought hot towels too for freshening up on the 11 1/2 hour flight. Each seat had its own TV w/an endless list of movies!

Met up with Nancy and Mollye in Seoul and then UB (Ulaanbaatar). We made our way safely to the Michelle Hotel with "Jimmy" (a Korean native who manages the hotel; nice guy, scary driver) picking us up at the airport.

I am elated to be in UB, Mongolia, a place I never would have imagined visiting, and I am ready to continue the adventure with the Earth Expeditions team tomorrow!

My room at the Michelle Hotel

Note: The Michelle Hotel is awkward by American hotel standards. At $49/night, I imagine it to be a classier hotel them most here but there must be more luxurious ones in this city of 1 million (you can stay other places for as little as $3/night!). The structure reminds me of cold war Russian architecture, with stucco and concrete, partially painted white. The interior is curiously colored with many different wallpaper patterns and at some point all of the (probably incandescent) light bulbs have been removed from the chandeliers and fixtures and florescent bulbs have been inserted. However, if it was a 6 bulb fixture, only one bulb now exists in each leaving many empty sockets scattered throughout. (Even the Mongolians are doing their part to help global warming ;) The place has a sticky smell of old and new cigarette smoke that hangs about. There is a bustle outside but it seems to be a calmer bustle and I expected for this large a city. The people (so far) are very friendly and seem grateful to have us in their country.

Jimmy put me up in the Royal Suite!
I think it might have been the $5 tip!

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